The centrist Yair lapid, a former Israeli TV star, has gained credibility since entering politics, to the point of becoming alternate prime minister in a coalition government doomed to end the era of Benjamin Netanyahu.
When in 2012 this journalist with George Clooney airs He left the television sets to launch his Yesh Atid (“There is a future”) party. His detractors reproached him for playing with his image as a movie star to seduce the middle class.
Almost ten years later, Lapid is still there and met the goal that was set: ousting Netanyahu, the longest-serving prime minister in Israel’s history and accused of corruption in a number of cases, from power.
On June 2, signed a coalition agreement with right-wing parties, left and center and an Arab formation, a pact that was later approved by Parliament. The text, based on a rotation, foresees that the leader of the radical right, Naftali Bennett, will take over the government for the first 18 months and then Lapid will take over.
Naftali Bennett and Yair Lapid ended the Netanyahu era. Photo Bloomberg
Minister of Finance of a Netanyahu government in 2013-2014, in the legislative elections of March 2020, Lapid integrates his party in the centrist “Blue-White” coalition of General Benny Gantz.
But when Gantz comes to an agreement to form a government with “Bibi,” Netanyahu’s nickname, Lapid packs up.
“I told (Gantz) ‘I’ve already worked with Netanyahu (…) and will not leave you pokeep your hands on the wheel, ‘”Lapid told AFP a few months ago.
“Gantz told me: ‘we trust him, he has changed’. And I replied ‘the man is 71 years old, he will not change’. unfortunately for the country, I was rightLapid added.
In second place
In the last legislative, the centrist formation of Lapid reaches second position, with 17 deputies, behind Netanyahu’s Likud (right).
Born in November 1963 in Tel Aviv, the city where he concentrates his electoral base, Lapid is the son of the late journalist Tommy Lapid, former Minister of Justice with Ariel Sharon.
His mother, the writer Shulamit Lapid, She is one of the teachers of the Israeli detective novel, with a series of works whose protagonist is a journalist.
Journalism has permeated Lapid’s youth, who signs his first articles for the Maariv newspaper, before moving on to Yedioth Aharonot, the best-selling in the country, which gave it great notoriety.
At the same time, it multiplies its activities: boxing as an amateur, practicing martial arts, writing detective novels and television series, composes and performs songs and even acts in the cinema.
But it is on television – in the 2000sand became host of the most followed talk show in the country– where he imposes himself as the incarnation of the average Israeli, always asking the same question to his guests: “What is it like to be Israeli in your opinion?”
Patriot, liberal, secular, reviled by orthodox Jews – Netanyahu’s key allies – manages to position itself in the center.
“He refrains from boasting (…) and is the most ‘non-candidate’ of all the candidates for the post of prime minister,” journalist Yuval Karni said before the elections last March. Yediot Aharonot, noting that the Israelis They “appreciate” humility.
When thousands of Israelis demonstrated against Netanyahu weekly, because of the corruption allegations against him, Lapid keeps the profile low.
He says he does not seek to be prime minister, but to ally with other parties to oust “King Netanyahu” from his throne and “Break down the barriers that divide Israeli society.”
With Bennett, representative of a radical right opposed in many points to his centrist views, he forms an unnatural alliance, but guided by the same goal of change at the head of the country.