Yair Lapid, who starting tomorrow he will be the new acting Israeli prime ministerjumped from journalism to politics a decade ago, where he positioned himself as a moderate, charismatic and conciliatory leader who, although secular and ideologically from the center, has been able to adapt to the political ups and downs of the polarized Jewish state.
With his endorsement as the architect of the “Government of change” that dethroned Benjamin Netanyahu in June 2021, and without abandoning the Foreign Affairs portfolio he has held since then, Lapid will take the reins of Israel until the formation of the new Executive that comes out of the next elections, called today for November after the dissolution of Parliament.
Born in liberal Tel Aviv and the son of a writer mother and a journalist-turned-political father, several years in Israel’s main media outlets with a critical and outspoken discourse made Lapid a familiar face for most. of Israeli homes.
Although it will not have been as I imagined, with a dissolved Parliament and on the verge of unpredictable elections, Lapid’s arrival in the prime minister’s office represents the high point of a meteoric and successful political career that began in 2012.
At the head of the newly created Yesh Atid (There is a Future) party, with the support of a weakened middle class and without a very marked ideological position, Lapid surprised everyone in the 2013 elections by winning 19 seats -out of 120- and converting its formation in the second most voted after Netanyahu’s almighty Likud.
His speech focused above all on economic issues and included some of the secular achievements that characterized the political career of his father, a former Minister of Justice who died in 2008.
That success in 2013 allowed him to access the position of Finance Minister under the Netanyahu government, today his staunch enemy and with whom he will be measured in the next elections. In the 2015 elections, he was unable to repeat the success of 2013 and won only 11 seats.
After four years in opposition, in 2019 he joined forces with former Army Chief of Staff Beny Gantz, forming the Blue and White party in order to dethrone a Netanyahu accused of corruption and who had already begun his offensive against Justice. and the institutions.
Its formation exceeded thirty deputies in the three elections that took place between 2019 and 2020, even ahead of Likud in one of them. These figures, however, were not enough to form a government coalition with other parties.
In 2021, with the alliance with Gantz disintegrated after a failed experiment by the former military officer to share power with Netanyahu, Yesh Atid once again positioned itself as Israel’s second political force by obtaining 17 seats.
There were months of arduous negotiations, with Islamists, ultranationalists, leftists and rightists, until finally a puzzle of eight parties from the entire ideological arc took shape that allowed him to form the so-called “Government of change” on June 13, 2021.
The pact with his new partner, the far-right Naftali Benet, was that he would begin as prime minister in the first half of the legislature and would be relieved by Lapid in August 2023.
With the dissolution of this unstable executive today, which positioned Lapid, 58, as a versatile politician, capable of dialoguing and negotiating with anyone, the leader of Yesh Atid will not formally alternate in office but will occupy it temporarily until the formation of a new government.
In his role as foreign minister, Lapid brought order to Netanyahu’s tumultuous foreign policy; he managed the crisis caused by the war in Ukraine; improved Israel’s relations with the US administration of Joe Biden and with the European Union; and received at the historic Negev Summit the heads of diplomacy from Egypt, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Morocco, Bahrain and the US.
His message of reconciliation to the different sectors of a fragmented Israeli society extended at times to the conflict with the Palestinians, with whose authorities he held several high-level meetings.
A long-standing advocate of the two-state solution, Lapid recently declared that a peace process is currently unfeasible, not only due to political instability in Israel but also because of the lack of support for the president of the Palestinian National Authority, Mahmoud Abbas.
In the coming months, Lapid will try to use his time in office to strengthen his image as a leader ahead of the upcoming elections, in which he is emerging as the moderate option of the center against the unpredictable and calculating Netanyahu.
The first big occasion to do so will be a visit in July by US President Joe Biden, followed in September by an opportunity to speak before the UN General Assembly.
(with information from EFE)
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