Bibi’s Clone

Eyal Megged
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Eyal Megged

Yesh Atid leader Yair Lapid and Habayit Hayehudi’s Naftali Bennett are two peas in a pod. They are like Shas MK Eli Yishai, but in sheep’s clothing. What is better, a wolf that shows its real face, or a wolf in disguise? The answer is known: At least you can stay clear of what is without doubt a wolf.

Over the past few months, I have listened to Lapid and have yet to get used to him. Beginning with his election campaign speech in the West Bank settlement of Ariel that we “must at last get rid of the Palestinians,” through “I will not form a coalition with Dreyfuses (sorry, Zuabis),” up until his recommendation that President Shimon Peres task Benjamin Netanyahu with leading the next government.

If these three milestones are any indicator, why doesn’t Lapid just unite already with Bennett? But this isn’t the issue and there’s no reason to dwell any longer on the unfortunate choice of words Lapid has made every step of the way (see Lapid, someone considered a talented writer, during his interview with Channel 2’s “Uvda” current affairs show). What raises a real big question is Lapid’s announcement that he is endorsing a Netanyahu-led government since “that is what’s good for the country.” Did he misspeak himself yet again? It appears not. At the very least, Lapid’s steps are calculated to cause alarm, and something else can be said in his favor: He knows his flock well. In other words, he senses in his gut that most of the Israeli public is stupid. He can be confident that no one will ask why he is in politics to begin with if the good of the state is best served by having Netanyahu at the helm. If this is the case, why doesn’t Lapid just go home and let Netanyahu run things?

Lapid has a prepared response to this question, a simple answer: “We aren’t playing around here.” Sorry, I don’t quite comprehend. Why is not supporting Netanyahu as leader of the next government considered playing around? We thought you entered politics to fundamentally change things, to fix what Netanyahu broke. Otherwise, why are you toying with us? Leave us with Netanyahu, and leave Yishai while you’re at it. The original is always better than the sequel and there’s something to be said for experience. Yishai has experience aplenty when it comes to discrimination, boycotts, and exclusion. With respect to what is referred to as coalition negotiations, it’ll all work out.

Lapid envisions, he told Peres, that the reins of a Netanyahu-led government will eventually be in his hands in the near future. That is what Lapid hopes and believes. Not a word, for example, was said regarding Hamas leader Khaled Meshal’s statement to Jordan’s King Abdullah II, lost amid the flames fanned by Netanyahu, that Hamas was ready for a two-state solution. If Lapid advocated a return to peace negotiations with the Palestinians, how come he hasn’t welcomed this dramatic development? How?

You made Lapid laugh. Why should he get entangled in the peace process? Why should he stop being everyone’s crowd-pleaser? He’s already thinking about the next stage, the next elections. That’s how he works. He thinks about the long run, and in the meantime he doesn’t play around. In other words, he’s always looking out for number one. He is Bennett’s doppelganger, Bibi’s clone and an upgraded Yishai. And what about us, right now? What about the country, for the benefit of which Lapid recommended that Netanyahu lead the next government?

There is one thing Lapid didn’t take into account before predicting his victory next time the public goes to the polls: that he will approach that election all washed up. Netanyahu knows better than anyone else how to undermine the plans of those who would succeed him. He, too, doesn’t play around.

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