What do people want from Lapid?

Op-ed: Yesh Atid leader makes promises he can't keep, but can use his political clout for good

Messiahs come and go in Jewish history, and the yearning for a messiah remains. I met one of Yair Lapid's political advisors shortly before the general elections. "He has a combination of human traits that appeal to the masses," the advisor said of the leader of the Yesh Atid party, which won a whopping 19 Knesset seats in the elections. A few days later I met Lapid for coffee not far from his home in Ramat Aviv. I was looking for that special blend, but what I found was a politician.


Lapid was in the right place at the right time. He simultaneously met two of the most basic needs of the Israelis he described so accurately in his columns - the constant search for a messiah and the search for checks and balances. Lapid promised the middle class solutions. He promised because that's what politicians do. They all promise and hope their promises will be forgotten. Lapid is no different.


As finance minister, Lapid is no different from Steinitz. As the centralist leader of a party, he is no different from Lieberman. His drop in the polls is the result of the disappointment of fools. Those who believed Lapid could change the reality with the force of words found out that it is impossible. The truth hurts: The distance between a messiah and a politician is great. The abilities are different, as are the results.


The media does Lapid a great injustice when it separates him from the rest of the politicians. Lapid does himself and us an injustice when he continues to walk around with the imaginary aura of the election days. What he promised will not be, and what he wanted will not happen – this is the reality, and no TV interview can change it.


Lapid's achievement is that he is the leader of a centrist party that wields significant political power. He managed to create a superficial connection between left and right. A mosaic of ideas; some would say a mishmash of ideas. In Israel there is a great demand for a centrist party. The name doesn't matter, only the party's existence. Once it was Kadima , and now it's Yesh Atid. The voters who sought refuge from the Likud in its current format, and voters who sought refuge from the Left in its perpetual format, found themselves with Lapid.


Lapid also managed to surround himself with a group of (mostly) serious people; he insisted on a seemingly smaller cabinet and formed a coalition without the haredi obstructions. All these are worthy achievements that are the result of smart politics.


The 'eulogies' for Lapid can only do him good. The slap - just hard enough to bring messiahs back to reality – will only do him good. As things stand today, the current government will not dissolve easily. The middle class will apparently remain in the same situation - many promises, less discounts. Lapid has an opportunity to use his political power to promote integration, the recruitment of haredim into the IDF , the drafting of a constitution and even promote a practical policy.


Lapid is a worthy man who essentially wants to do good. For himself as well. All he needs to do is stop acting like a messiah. Eventually he will be in the right place.



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פרסום ראשון: 10.24.13, 10:50
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