Ben-Dror Yemini

Lapid shifts to the center

Op-ed: Lapid understands that you can support a diplomatic solution as well as Israel, but false claims about Netanyahu do nothing but strengthen him at a time when there are plenty of legitimate arguments against him.

There is something distressing in the fact that the anti-Israel campaign has turned into another reason for division between the Opposition and the Coalition. The conference held this week by Yesh Atid Chairman Yair Lapid  and Israel Beytenu Chairman Avigdor Liberman on the dangers of the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) campaign was supposed to reflect a consensus between the majority on the Right and the majority on the Left.


This didn't happen. For the past several, several months, Lapid has been acting as the foreign minister of a shadow government that doesn't exist. In the absence of an actual foreign minister, the job he took upon himself has become much more important.



When there was supposed to be a meeting between Lapid and Foreign Ministry employees, an "order from above" led to its cancellation. Why? After all, not everything has to be measured in terms of political gain. What exactly is the prime minister afraid of? After all, the meeting should be be welcomed, not stopped, not cancelled, and not feared.


Yair Lapid and Benjamin Netanyahu (Archive photo: Alex Kolomoisky)
Yair Lapid and Benjamin Netanyahu (Archive photo: Alex Kolomoisky)


It's not that the Lapid-Lieberman duo doesn't have ambitions for political gain. After all, this cooperation represents a strategic play that is much deeper than it appears at first glance. Lapid on a journey of disengaging from the Left and conquering the Center. He hasn't transformed into an adherent of the Greater Israel concept, and he isn’t against a political solution involving painful compromises. He continues to support a separation by arrangement or agreement. He was and continues to be in opposition to the Netanyahu administration's political agenda, even though it is doubtful that anyone knows what the Netanyahu administration's policy is.


But Lapid understands that the Left, or at least part of it, is going in a different direction. Meretz is busy with defending the Joint List and Breaking the Silence, using the played-out excuses of "human rights" and "freedom of expression." It's hard for it to understand that this kind of struggle don't bring peace any closer, but in fact drives it further away. Lapid realized that it is possible to be in favor of an diplomatic solution and in favor of Israel at the same time.


The Zionist Union is split. Part of it is on Meretz's side, and another part – which is under the leadership of Herzog – is trying to leave the Left's bear hug.


Lapid is also mistaken. The claim he made this week, that Israel's dipomatic situation has never been worse, isn't true. When Greece and Turkey return to strategic cooperation with Israel, with more and more states in the US and Europe taking steps against BDS, when Israel is strengthening its relationship with giants like India and China, and when just this week there was a new milestone in the relationship between Israel and countries in Africa – the claim of the terrible situation Israel finds itself in sounds a little detached from reality.


Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu meets with President Uhuru Kenyatta of Kenya (Photo: Ohad Zwigenberg)
Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu meets with President Uhuru Kenyatta of Kenya (Photo: Ohad Zwigenberg)


The things is that there are enough excellent arguments against Netanyahu. He is leading Israel to a bi-national reality. He surrendered to the radical Right. He sits blithely as Gaza turns into a powder keg. He has not the slighest bit of solution or response to the terror wave. And he does all these despite knowing that they are against the national interest. But his fear of the radical Right paralyzes him. Political interests are, yet again, more important to him than the national interest.  


So there are enough accurate complaints about Netanyahu. There is no need for false claims. Experience proves that they only strengthen him.


פרסום ראשון: 03.04.16, 20:36
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