Yair Lapid, the Joke Is on You

Finance Minister Lapid's inexperience in finance has him making moves that would be funny - if people weren't going to suffer because of it.

Yair spent many years singing and dancing. Until he called out to his friends: I'm going into politics, I'll be studying every day now. Wait until I finish studying, we'll have fun again together.

And he's learning: Thus will be done to the man who ascends to the stage without a credo, with only his ego and a few toadying MKs at his side.

What's the worst thing that can happen to a politician? Not fury, not even hatred. If you've turned into a joke, only then do you have cause for concern: "Anger is better than laughter," it says in Ecclesiastes. In an instant glory fades and is replaced by jesting.

The first to laugh were the student leaders, who leaked the story about the tuition fiasco before it was announced. Lapid opened the newspaper, was shocked at the report, didn't check the facts in his ministry, and hastened to his Facebook page in order to publicize incorrect information.

They were followed by Ofer Eini, who is also among those who are laughing. He of all people was chosen to join the first press conference as a sage assisting the new minister. He of all people, who is a hostage of the major labor unions and was banned from the social protest. He of all people appears as the ally of the new politics.

You can rely on Aryeh Deri to laugh as soon as possible. He received good news, and will soon spread it: The cutbacks in the Shas educational network and in the Independent Education Center school networks have been canceled. And immediately after the concession to Shas and United Torah Judaism, Lapid retracted another promise – a budget cut for the yeshivas that don't teach the core subjects. The minister was upset at the sight of his decisions, and hastened to explain: No, he has not retreated from his promises, he is only postponing their implementation; He's waiting for the Messiah.

Then the defense establishment was filled with laughter. Lapid demanded a cutback of NIS 4 billion and they responded with NIS 3 billion. But we already know what will happen: The defense budget is always higher than what was approved in the government and the Knesset. That has happened in every year of Benjamin Netanyahu's premiership, and that's what will happen this time too. So why should Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon get upset, when he is guaranteed a hefty increase in another year and a half? And if there's a small war in the interim he'll get twice as much.

But the one who is laughing hardest is the prime minister himself. Did he invent Lapid, who was created in his image? With his servant Yuval Steinitz he had no chance of passing the budget as is. There was therefore an urgent need for a changing of the guard, in order to prevent a need for a change in policy. Now the new minister can be sent out to public opinion with an old budget book, without a single idea for growth or for moderation. He, like his predecessor, knows nothing about economics, but he is definitely an expert at public relations.

Lapid's originality in the field of economics is like his political creativity. This week we saw him being interviewed by The New York Times from his leather armchair at home: no to a construction freeze in the settlements, yes to fattening the settlers, no to any concession in Jerusalem, Mahmoud Abbas is not really a partner. That's the bon ton of Yesh Atid's Bennett, updated. Oh, young and unimpressive man, Yair, who is conjuring up dead spirits, and telling fortunes from the past; what a message, what a joke.

Yuval Steinitz is a barefoot man, whose shoes Lapid is trying to fill. And he, the heir, already knows how to repeat Netanyahu's warnings, and to threaten us with the bitter fate of other countries. Will we be like Greece, similar to Spain? They are in terrible shape, let's not wish it on us. But our situation is embarrassing, let's not wish it on them. They are suffering from unemployment, here work is humiliating. Nowadays not all work dignifies the person doing it: 60 percent of our poor are working people, and not idlers at all.

We went back to peruse the charts: The poverty rate in the Israeli paradise is over 20 percent, whereas in the Greek-Spanish hell it is below 15 percent. And we're winning on the inequality scale too – look where we are and where they are. So don't threaten us with what's happening far away, bring your threats right here, to the reality of our lives.
 

Reuters