Yosef (Tommy) Lapid - Shinui

Lapid and his mother immigrated to Israel in 1948; his father was killed by the Nazis. The sharp-tongued, Hungarian-born Lapid spent most of his life in Israel as a journalist. He took over as Shinui leader in 1999.

Yosef (Tommy) Lapid, 71, was born Tomislav Lampel in the city of Novi Sad on the border of Hungary and Yugoslavia. In 1948 he immigrated with his mother to Israel, after his father was abducted and murdered by the Nazis.

In 1955, Lapid began working as a journalist at the Ma'ariv daily, where he was to continue as a writer for 44 years. He served as managing director of the Israel Broadcasting Authority from 1979 to 1984, following his appointment at the recommendation of writer-filmmaker Ephraim Kishon.

Lapid first came to wide public attention as a regular panelist on the Pop-Politika talk show on Channel One television, as which he would verbally attack politician guests and even fellow journalists. In March 1999, at age 68, he was approached by Shinui party leader Avraham Poraz to take his place at the helm of the secular-centrist party. With Lapid as chairman, the party stressed its opposition to ultra-Orthodox parties and legislation.

Lapid is married and has two children. He lives in Tel Aviv.

Education Degree in law

Knesset career Member since 1999, as Shinui MK Member of Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee; Law, Justice and Constitution Committee; Member of inquiry panel for restitution of lost assets of Holocaust victims; special committee on the Security Service Law (governing military-service exemptions for full-time adult yeshiva students)

Public service Former managing director of Israel Broadcasting Authority Former chairman of Cable Television Association Former chairman of Israel Chess Union

IDF service Corporal

Other Opinion articles for Ma'ariv Books: "Very Important People"; "Lapid's Guide to Europe"; "Coffee for Bed"; "A Man of my Age"; "Paprika"; "Animal"; "My Week"

E-mail ylapid@knesset.gov.il