Sunday, May 13, 2012

Yair Lapid: Part of The Problem

Yair Lapid left his successful Israeli TV journalist career behind to enter politics, promising to be something different from the career politicians we are so weary of here, a new type of option for a frustrated voting population, but to be honest Lapid has so far proven he is exactly the same as the others, and in his short (and so far unelected career as a politician) become part of the problem, not a solution.

The main sign of this is that he set up a new party, 'Yesh Atid' ('There is a future'). Perhaps this should have been called 'Yesh Lapid', but anyway one thing Israel has no shortage of is political parties & factions, many of which come and go over the life of a single Knesset, promising to change the face of Israeli politics and leaving behind a trail of 'more of the same'. Lapid, if he continues to enjoy his honeymoon period as a politician, would probably get a handful of seats in the next Knesset (despite Facebook polls suggesting he'd get as many as 20 MKs in a 2012 election) and then he would bargain away his principles to join a new unstable coalition, where he could wield far more power than his vote count or experience should give him. This might explain his current angry statements aimed at PM Bibi Netanyahu & Shaul Mofaz for forming the new unity government, because as I said in my remarkably prescient blog a few days ago, if they succeed in changing our electoral system, Lapid's bid for power is down the drain, and even this outbreak of political unity has delayed elections and put his nascent political career in jeopardy.

The result of a change in our system would be a more stable political stage, comprising of 3 or 4 strong broad parties. Lapid may well find a home in one of those, perhaps a revitalized Labour Party, but then he'll have to put in years as a working politician, representing ordinary people's problems, gaining respect and hopefully a reputation for honesty and hard work, while his high profile as a TV anchor will dim in the public mind. If he's lucky then at some point he may get to serve his country as a minister and we can all judge his worthiness to be a leader of Israel. What he won't be able to do is enter the Knesset and immediately barter his way to a position of power he does not have the experience or mandate to fill.

I for one am hoping that Bibi & Mofaz succeed.

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