Yair Lapid May Wind Up Helping Bibi

Popular TV Host Could Split Secular Israeli Vote

By Nathan Jeffay

Published January 14, 2012, issue of January 20, 2012.
  • Print
  • Share Share
  • Single Page

(page 2 of 2)

It is a testament to his popularity that Lapid is enjoying dream results in the opinion polls — commissioned by most of the major media sources, including Maariv, Yediot Aharonot, Channel 10 and the Knesset Channel — even before he has outlined his platform. In his columns, he typically writes what he believes is on the mind of the average citizen, dealing with consensus issues that try to get to the heart of how Israelis live and see their country.

After watching Alan Dershowitz’s film, “The Case for Israel: Democracy’s Outpost,” he asked rhetorically how it is that Israelis “are always on the defensive, always apologizing, and always losing the battle for global public opinion.” He was against a 2010 declaration by rabbis’ wives warning Jewish women to stay away from Arabs, but is “not that liberal” as to believe in intermarriage. He has written that he has told his children that they “are part of a dynasty, an idea, a spiritual relay race where they must not drop the baton.” And in his article “I Am a Zionist,” he gave expression to the most common feelings of patriotism felt by Israelis; of emotion at seeing children go to the army, and of joy at returning to Israel after traveling abroad. He is critical of Haredim — but not to the degree of his late father, Yosef “Tommy” Lapid, a controversial character who led the now-defunct secularist party Shinui.

On the peace process, he positions himself as a compass of centrism between left and right. He wrote a year ago: “The left is wrong because it refuses to recognize that human beings may be equal, yet they are not identical. Different nations have a different character….The right is wrong because in the 21st century national struggles cannot end in victory or defeat, for the simple reason that they cannot end at all.”

Efrat Knoller, an expert on centrist parties in Israel, said the fact that Lapid is polling so well even before talking policies says a lot about the political attitudes of young, middle-class, secular Israelis — the key demographic for Lapid. “They want everything to be the newest: new homes, new culture, new cell phones and new politicians,” said Knoller, lecturer in government at Bar-Ilan University’s Safed College. Among this demographic, Knoller said, political experience is seen as a minus and not a plus, and a new party — if headed by a charismatic leader — is viewed as a more attractive option than an established party.

Ben-Gurion University political scientist Guy Ben-Porat thinks that this phenomenon is a product of a growing disillusionment with the established parties. “I think that people in general have lost faith in the politics of the parties, which is why the uprising [social protests] in the summer happened outside the established politics and its leaders avoided politicians. The other side of this is the constant search for something new — now a political party that isn’t quite a political party.”

Contact Nathan Jeffay at jeffay@forward.com


The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.





Find us on Facebook!
  • What do you think of Wonder Woman's new look?
  • "She said that Ruven Barkan, a Conservative rabbi, came into her classroom, closed the door and turned out the lights. He asked the class of fourth graders to lie on the floor and relax their bodies. Then, he asked them to pray for abused children." Read Paul Berger's compelling story about a #Savannah community in turmoil:
  • “Everything around me turns orange, then a second of silence, then a bomb goes off!" First installment of Walid Abuzaid’s account of the war in #Gaza:
  • Is boredom un-Jewish?
  • Let's face it: there's really only one Katz's Delicatessen.
  • "Dear Diaspora Jews, I’m sorry to break it to you, but you can’t have it both ways. You can’t insist that every Jew is intrinsically part of the Israeli state and that Jews are also intrinsically separate from, and therefore not responsible for, the actions of the Israeli state." Do you agree?
  • Are Michelangelo's paintings anti-Semitic? Meet the Jews of the Sistine Chapel: http://jd.fo/i4UDl
  • What does the Israel-Hamas war look like through Haredi eyes?
  • Was Israel really shocked to find there are networks of tunnels under Gaza?
  • “Going to Berlin, I had a sense of something waiting there for me. I was searching for something and felt I could unlock it by walking the streets where my grandfather walked and where my father grew up.”
  • How can 3 contradictory theories of Yiddish co-exist? Share this with Yiddish lovers!
  • "We must answer truthfully: Has a drop of all this bloodshed really helped bring us to a better place?”
  • "There are two roads. We have repeatedly taken the one more traveled, and that has made all the difference." Dahlia Scheindlin looks at the roots of Israel's conflict with Gaza.
  • Shalom, Cooperstown! Cooperstown Jewish mayor Jeff Katz and Jeff Idelson, director of the National Baseball Hall of Fame, work together to oversee induction weekend.
  • A boost for morale, if not morals.
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.