The only thing that I can do better than being foreign minister, says Yair
Lapid, is to be chairman of the opposition. Lapid does not fear the
opposition. In fact, the opposite might be true. If he were to join the
government, it would be hard to meet expectations.
He has made promises,
and now he would need to follow through with them. In Binyamin Netanyahu’s
government, so far not one person has actually kept his or her promise
(including Netanyahu himself).
With Netanyahu, it always ends the same
way: Everyone is frustrated, their hopes dashed, not understanding how this
happened to them, how Netanyahu did this to them, how time flew by and yet
nothing progressed. In the opposition, on the other hand, Lapid believes
he would blossom. And there is basis to this belief.
ambitious, he knows how to use the media to his benefit, he is eloquent and he
is headstrong. Lapid will accomplish with 19 seats what Tzipi Livni couldn’t
with 28. He will make Netanyahu’s life miserable, and in the next election he
will aim for the prime minister’s seat (as long as he abandons the complacency
he has been showing since election day).
Yet we must not forget that we
are in the midst of a game of psychological warfare. Over the next few weeks, we
should expect a spectacular show of fireworks, stories that will cause wild
explosions, one after another. A wild poker game in which everyone will try to
cheat each other in an effort to neutralize, block, pressure and create the
illusion that every connection between the game and reality is completely
The alliance is the basis of the current situation – the one
between Yair Lapid and Naftali Bennett. The one that is firm and alive, despite
the fact that the haredim (ultra-Orthodox) are gritting their teeth and
Netanyahu is wringing his hands.
This pact was not built upon one meeting
between Lapid and Bennett, but from a series of gatherings. It began long before
At the time, Bennett was in a bit of a panic. Polls were
giving Netanyahu 36-37 seats, Lapid was breaking a sweat in an effort to reach
double digits, and Netanyahu and Avigdor Liberman’s lives were looking more
comfortable than ever.
Bennett was irrelevant. In desperation, Bennett
decided that Lapid was his ticket into the coalition. They were both young, of
the same generation, and understood the same concepts.
It was just a
small kippa sitting on top of Bennett’s head that separated them, but not
really. The chemistry between the two of them was immediate and all
Lapid and Bennett are like brothers (until further
notice). This was suitable for Lapid, too. Since he believes that
the chance of reaching a permanent settlement with the Palestinians in the near
future is not high, Bennett was the perfect ally. Lapid’s real goal is to solve
the issue of the haredim who, according to him, are sucking the life out of
Israel without giving anything in return. They are receiving without
Lapid believes that most of the middle class’s troubles
come from this situation. The haredim must return to their correct size, they
must leave the coalition, and disconnect themselves from the flow of nourishment
they are receiving from the state. They must go outside to dry out. The dairy
cow must be slaughtered.
And, oh yeah – they must be drafted into the
Israel Defense Forces.
Following the election, this alliance was made
official. The two of them sat together and formulated the wording. Without any
paperwork or signed documents. This was the new style of politics, the two of
them believed. No need for lawyers.
They gave each other their word. A
pact is a pact. They came to an agreement on political issues.
red line was the evacuation of settlements. Except for this, he has no interest
in political matters.
And what about outposts? Amona, for example. Lapid
brought up the subject in a direct manner and Bennett dealt with it head-on.
Bennett is committed to the rule of law. If the Supreme Court rules that an
outpost should be dismantled, then apparently that’s what needs to be
done. So they are unified on this subject.
However, this cannot be
said about the draft issue. Bennett is not 100 percent in agreement with Lapid’s
platform in this area. Bennett believes that the haredi population should be
drafted – not in a blitz, but wisely. If too much force is used, it won’t work.
It is preferable to use economic sanctions, to let them know that they will not
receive even one shekel from the state if they don’t do their part.
is willing to be flexible on numbers. According to his platform, within five
years there will be only 400 prodigies who will sit and learn Torah. All the
rest will join the ranks of the IDF or will do national service.
knows that 400 is an unrealistic, draconian number. He would be willing to raise
it to around 1,000, maybe even higher. This is a respectable number for a new
However, the draft issue will not keep Lapid and Bennett
apart. They have agreed to disagree on this issue at this stage. When I checked
again Thursday before Lapid’s meeting with Netanyahu, I found that the pact was
still alive and kicking. The desperate attempts by the haredim (through
national-religious rabbis) and by Netanyahu (through the many temptations he has
placed before Bennett) to disband it, have not succeeded.
camp I heard the following: Yair absolutely loves Naftali.
are friends and they trust each other. Yair gambled on Naftali and does not
believe that their pact will be violated. And if it will be? Then Yair will stay
in the opposition and will no longer trust Naftali. But he’s not
And what about Naftali? Naftali absolutely loves Yair, too.
Period. There is no way to separate the two.
Most of their goals
are the same. Naftali believes that it’s time someone finally did something to
take care of this country. So write this down: The new age of politics is
winning so far. However, the game has just begun.