Once there were two friends

Op-ed: Cracks in Lapid-Bennett alliance threaten to bury several positive government initiatives

As the Knesset's winter session opens, wide cracks are appearing in the Lapid-Bennett alliance. This charming love story, which captivated us all during the spring and summer, is cooling due to the accumulation of disagreements between the two ministers.


Apparently, Lapid and Bennett were not aware of the importance of their alliance, and now they may be destroying it over nonsense.


The alliance created a fresh political bloc of camps that contribute to the State's economy and security. It brought together religious and secular Israelis who serve in the army, work hard and pay taxes. The bloc's two leaders projected a certain liveliness, and there was a sense that something new was beginning and that the future was bright. For the first time in the country's history, the distance between Bnei-Brak and the IDF induction center in Tel Hashomer seemed to be getting dramatically smaller.


It appeared as though finally there was a political opportunity to deal with Israel's domestic problems rather than the Sisyphean issues of peace and the territories.


The ultra-Orthodox protested fiercely, but their efforts to paint this development as a secular plot failed because Bennett's Habayit Hayehudi party supported it and because a prominent rabbi was Lapid's No. 2 in the Yesh Atid faction. For a moment there it seemed that before us was a winning coalition that will do wonders for the country.


But then the breakdown began. Senior members of Habayit Hayehudi undermined the efforts to carry out a healthy revolution in the Chief Rabbinate. Less senior members began to chip away at the understandings regarding equal share of the burden. Zionist rabbis fell into line with their haredi colleagues in an effort to thwart the policy of reducing government funding for yeshivas that refuse to send their students to the army. For some reason, the alliance with Lapid stirred feelings of guilt within them.


The Yesh Atid party, for its part, joined Amir Peretz's ugly campaign against the hesder yeshivas and conducted itself like an elephant in a china shop with regards to the cut in child allowances. Meanwhile, it also shifted to the left diplomatically. Yair Lapid, who does not believe there is a chance to reach an agreement with Abbas, began to position himself as a peace-seeker on the same level as Tzipi Livni. A slight drop in the polls caused him to forget his loyalty oath to the center.


In stark contrast to his speech in Ariel, Lapid now calls to freeze construction in Judea and Samaria, allows party member Ofer Shelah to support the division of Jerusalem and has even publicly criticized Netanyahu's policy towards Rohani.


If the current situation persists, the haredi factions will soon return to the coalition, Lapid will quit the coalition, and the equal share of the burden initiative will be buried. Wouldn't that be a shame?



פרסום ראשון: 10.06.13, 20:31
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