Opinion

Israelis Should Keep in Mind That Only Yair Lapid Can End Netanyahu's Saga

Despite media scorn in response to his ambitions, there is no doubt that Lapid expresses authentic, deeply felt public views

Yesh Atid Chairman Yair Lapid speaking at a conference in Tel Aviv, September 2018.
Moti Milrod

Luckily, centrist and left-wing voters stopped believing opinions declared by pundits and prominent media personalities in Israel a long time ago. The recent hollow talk by senior Haaretz writers, lauding the many qualities of their newfound hero Benjamin Netanyahu, not only insults the good judgement of many people, who feel that under his leadership the country is going off the rails, but once again imposes chaos on people’s basic opinions.

Most voters of the center-left know Habayit Hayehudi is a marginal party that governs affairs here only because Likud pathetically handed over the keys. The main culprits behind the vast majority of revolting laws being passed one by one in the country are the prime minister and his Likud cronies.

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The stories now making the rounds about Netanyahu’s efforts to select the new Israel Defense Forces chief of staff, and if not him then at least his deputy, show yet again how the organizations that should be overseeing fateful decisions such as the acquisition of submarines take fright at Netanyahu or his representatives, timidly dropping any criticism of their actions.

In spite of the credit due the premier in light of his objection to the nuclear accord with Iran, there is no sane person of conscience in Israel who does not know that Netanyahu is the true source of the venom that has been disrupting our life for the last 20 years – the wellspring from which the poison has seeped into Israeli society.

Telling Israelis now that Netanyahu is actually not that bad, and that he may be preferable to opposition leader Tzipi Livni – not to mention Yair Lapid – constitutes a betrayal of trust.

Livni is finding increased favor among center and left-minded voters since she expresses their most profound beliefs in a clear and unambiguous fashion. Instead of abandoning them to the embarrassing choir that’s suddenly singing the praises of Netanyahu from the left wing, Livni is confirming the basic values of democracy and of Zionism, values which have always driven centrist-leftist voters.

After many years of confusion surrounding the basic values embraced by a public that always supported security and peace, Livni articulately and accurately expresses their deepest and truest convictions. This is why people support her.

The same is true with regard to Lapid. Despite media scorn in response to his ambitions of becoming prime minister, there is no doubt that he expresses authentic and deeply felt public views. The statement “I love Israel” expresses a true value, one that drives most moderate left-wing voters after years of undermining by post-Zionists. It’s not surprising that polls are showing that most of these voters continue to support Lapid as the candidate with the highest chances against Netanyahu.

The real facts – not the imagined ones – show that his party Yesh Atid, which was badly bruised in the 2015 elections, is nevertheless the only political party currently capable of standing up to Likud. Apparently, no other party, in the opposition or the coalition, including the Zionist Union – which won 24 seats in 2015, but is currently polling at half that number – can pose a realistic threat to Netanyahu, according to recent surveys.

Maybe former Chief of Staff Benny Gantz, or another miraculous candidate who crops up, will win the next election and beat Netanyahu. For now, however, Gantz, just like Moshe Kahlon before the last elections, has been propelled forward mainly thanks to the media. His chances, in effect, are lower than those of Lapid, who’s already out there. Thus Lapid, with important support from Livni, Gantz, Ehud Barak and others, is the only one capable of finally ending the Netanyahu saga.