Benny Gantz and Yair Lapid: Prime ministers in waiting?

#4: Benny Gantz & Yair Lapid

Benny Gantz and Yair Lapid (photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)
Benny Gantz and Yair Lapid
(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)
Blue and White leaders Benny Gantz and Yair Lapid have had as successful a 5779 as anyone in Israel.
At this time last year, Gantz was still the proverbial knight in shining armor outside of politics and Lapid’s prime ministerial aspirations were not taken very seriously.
At the time this is being written, Gantz had a very good chance of receiving a mandate from President Reuven Rivlin to form a government, before or after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
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Gantz and Lapid led the party they formed together to 35 and then 33 seats in two back-to-back elections, in a stunning accomplishment for a new party straight out of the nylon.
They both made plenty of mistakes along the way, some of which were very embarrassing, but their accomplishments are undeniable.
They led the “Anyone but Bibi” drive successfully in two elections that were much more about personalities than issues.
Gantz has had good luck throughout his career, which has led to one unexpected promotion after another. His height, blue eyes, charisma and confident demeanor make those with him feel more at ease, even at times of crisis.
Many of his views remain a mystery even after two elections, which is itself a victory for him and a loss for the public. If he does indeed end up forming a government, Gantz’s campaign could be studied and learned from by whoever will be the Democratic candidate for president of the United States against Donald Trump, due to Netanyahu’s similarities to the president.
It will take time for the people of Israel to get to know Gantz beyond his bumbling image on satire shows. Eretz Nehederet depicted him forgetting to vote on Election Day and buying a cordless vacuum cleaner instead.
Lapid’s image on those shows is completely incorrect. He is depicted as shallow when he is actually a deep-thinking man of substance.
He has well thought-out views on all key issues that are aimed at improving the lives of Israelis and making politicians serve the people better.
Whether Lapid will actually become prime minister currently looks unlikely. If Gantz ends up alternating as prime minister with Netanyahu or another Likud leader, there will not be room for a third prime minister in the rotation.
But Lapid could end up becoming foreign minister, taking advantage of his tremendous rhetorical and diplomatic skills, as well as his wonderful English.
Both Gantz and Lapid will likely be tested in 5780. If they succeed, Israel will be better for it this time next year.