Opposition leader Yair Lapid has been a journalist, talk show host, actor, writer and politician for decades, all careers in which he utilized his gift as an orator and his powers of persuasion.
But there is a case to be made that the best way for Lapid to achieve his current goal is to stop talking.
It may go against his nature, but perhaps Lapid has to silence himself. Maybe he should even take a trip abroad to Seychelles, or wherever they are letting in Israelis these days without the need to quarantine upon arrival and return.
Why would Lapid and silence be a suitable pairing? Isn’t that like crossing a parrot and a goldfish?
The answer is that Lapid’s goal – as opposition leader – is to bring down Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu by breaking up the Likud leader’s political marriage with Blue and White chairman Benny Gantz.
To that end, Lapid has been using those oratory skills and persuasive abilities for 6 months, and it hasn’t worked at all. He has tried insulting Gantz, pushing him into a corner with embarrassing legislation and even combatively suggested in an interview on Friday’s Ophira and Berko talk show on Channel 12 that Gantz would soon be his number two.
In fact, sources close to Gantz admitted that the more Lapid speaks, the more resentful and annoyed Gantz becomes, and the less he wants to return to cooperate politically with Lapid in any way or even hear his voice.
Gantz has proven that as a former IDF chief of staff, he has no problem taking orders from Netanyahu, who was prime minister when Gantz commanded the IDF and who displayed his own prowess as a soldier in elite commando units.
But Lapid – who wrote for the military magazine Bemahaneh in the army and was Gantz’s number two in Blue and White – will never order the former IDF chief of staff around.
This is the first week out of three weeks that Lapid’s Yesh Atid-Telem faction is not proposing a bill to disperse the Knesset.
It looked like Lapid was changing his strategy with Gantz and using reverse psychology, which Oxford dictionary defines as “the principle or practice of subtly encouraging a behavior or belief by advocating its opposite.”
But he dismissed that possibility at Monday’s Yesh Atid-Telem faction meeting.
“There is no way of avoiding the fact that the only reason Netanyahu is prime minister of Israel is that Gantz is allowing it,” Lapid said, answering a question from The Jerusalem Post. “They are enabling this government, and they are enabling this prime minister. There is no psychology to it. There is no reverse psychology to it. There is only one thing, and that is that this government needs to go for the sake of Israelis, for the sake of the country, for the sake of the people.”
There is no guarantee that using reverse psychology would work, but perhaps it could enable Gantz to say he initiated the government’s break-up by himself, at his initiative, under his own leadership, without being pushed by anyone.
And then, once his goal is achieved, Lapid can come back from Seychelles and return to being himself.