Yair Lapid 311.
(photo credit: Courtesy)
The headline of Yair Lapid’s column in Friday’s Yediot Aharonot grabbed
attention. It was called “The Cooling-off Law.”
Lapid had become less
subtle in revealing his political opinions in recent columns. But was he going
to use his column to attack the so-called “Yair Lapid Bill” that would institute
a cooling off period for journalists before entering politics ahead of
Wednesday’s vote on the legislation? Nope. The column was about him getting a
Yair Lapid quits journalism, takes plunge into politics
Yair Lapid would destroy Kadima, poll finds
‘Lapid bill’ likely to pass next month
But Lapid’s footprints were all over Friday’s newspapers in the
reports on Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s plan to subsidize free education
for toddlers, which passed Sunday. Lapid wasn’t mentioned in the reports, but
MKs saw the plan as a preemptive strike by Netanyahu against Lapid, who hinted
that education would be the focus of his new party long before he announced
Sunday that he was officially embarking on his new political
“This is the real Yair Lapid Bill,” one MK said last week when
talking about Netanyahu’s proposal.
The MK, who considers Lapid a close
friend, said Yair had been agonizing about whether to give up the good life as a
respected journalist, lecturer, screenwriter and author to enter a profession he
considers dirty. He said Lapid had dreaded the decision and wanted to delay it
as long as possible.
Lapid had good reason to want to postpone his
announcement until “a minute before the next election,” as he said in an
interview with his Channel 2 colleague, Ilana Dayan.
He has seen many
supposed knights in shining armor appear invincible before they entered
politics only to gradually lose support over the course of a grueling
David Ben-Gurion’s Rafi, Ariel Sharon’s Shlomzion, and the
Center Party of Yitzhak Mordechai and Amnon Lipkin-Shahak were all expected to
ride their leaders’ coattails to political fortune but they all
The next election is only set for October 2013 and Lapid’s
entrance into politics just gave Netanyahu a reason to make sure it will be held
as close as possible to then.
Lapid has spent years asking
Now that he will have to answer them, every time someone
disagrees with his response, he loses another vote.
The Yair Lapid Bill
forced him to make a premature decision to leave plum jobs anchoring the highly
rated Ulpan Shishi news-magazine on Channel 2 and most likely also his Yediot
column. Now that he will focus on building the structure of his new
party and meeting potential supporters across the country, Kadima stands to lose
the most from Lapid’s entrance into politics.
Polls have shown he could
take away two-thirds of the party’s support.
Opposition leader Tzipi
Livni, who hired a rapper to write a song about her ahead of the last election
to make herself look cool, can’t compete with Lapid when it comes to
Livni suffered a blow when she had nothing to say about the
summer’s socioeconomic protests. She was then overshadowed by new Labor leader
Shelly Yacimovich and then blindsided by Netanyahu’s call for a leadership race
in Likud. Now that every time Lapid opens his mouth it will be a headline, Livni
will have a tough time appearing relevant.
Former Kadima treasurer Itzik
Hadad, who is currently suing Livni, published a picture of her pulling out her
hair on Lapid’s Facebook wall and said it was her reaction to him entering
If Livni is the main loser from the Lapid news, who is the
winner? The answer is the people who Lapid loves to hate.
receive a lot of criticism from Lapid ahead of the next election. But he will be
overjoyed when Lapid divides votes on the Center-Left with Labor and
However, the biggest winners from Lapid entering politics are the
haredim (ultra- Orthodox). His father, Shinui leader Yosef Tommy Lapid waged war
against them but also helped them attract attention and more mandates in the
Shas MK Nissim Ze’ev already started by calling Lapid “a
monster” and former Shas leader Arye Deri criticized Ulpan Shishi’s coverage of
the battle between the secular and haredim in Beit Shemesh.
torch in Hebrew. Lapid’s success or failure in enlightening the masses over the
next several months will indicate whether he will indeed be a torch or whether
his political career will be torched.