Lapid and Bennett at Knesset swear in 370.
(photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem/The Jerusalem Post)
Yesh Atid and Bayit Yehudi fought over all kinds of civil issues this year, from
gay rights to budget allocations, to the terms of the draft.
Ethics of the Fathers states that whenever love depends on something and the
thing passes, the love passes, too. But when love does not depend on ulterior
motives, the love will never end.
It gives as its example of love that
does not depend on anything the love of King David for his friend Jonathan, the
son of King Saul. Had it been written today, the Mishna could have given as an
example of the first kind of love the bond between Yesh Atid leader Yair Lapid
and Bayit Yehudi’s Naftali Bennett.
The bond established between the two
men following their good performance in the January election resulted in a
coalition government that is far from cohesive on diplomatic issues but at least
at first appeared to have much in common when it came to matters of religion and
The nice way of saying it is that they both had a desire to bring
the haredim into society, the workforce, the tax rolls and the IDF, and out of
poverty. The less nice way of saying it is that they joined forces to fight the
haredim, keep them out of the coalition, take away their resources and their
control of the Jewish establishment, and force them into the army.
end of the year, Yesh Atid and Bayit Yehudi were fighting over all kinds of
civil issues, from gay rights to budget allocations, to the terms of the haredi
But those disputes do not compare to what is expected in the year
ahead when the fight over the US diplomatic proposals begins. Lapid has already
hinted that he would prefer a different coalition if it could help achieve
peace, while Bennett’s downplaying of the diplomatic process is beginning to
look more and more like misplaced complacency ahead of a serious challenge to
his constituency in Judea and Samaria.
In private conversations nowadays,
Lapid and Bennett sound far from lovey-dovey. Their relationship will be
constantly tested in 2014. Lapid’s oft-repeated statement about the Palestinians
that Israel is seeking not marriage but an amicable divorce could end up
applying to his relationship with his political ally.
But until then,
Lapid and Bennett will continue to work together, decide Israel’s economic
policies and dictate Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s government’s agenda on
Netanyahu did not want the coalition he built. His wife,
Sara, wanted it even less.
But in January 2013, the people had their say,
and they gave political neophytes Lapid and Bennett control over a quarter of
the Knesset. The power that they gained, the way they used it, and the lessons
learned along the way together make Yair/Naftali Lapid/Bennett The Jerusalem
Post’s two-headed person of the year in politics for 2013.Read more person of the year articles: