By Katya Mavrelli,
After Israeli lawmakers voted to dissolve the Parliament, the world saw for the first time the evident rise of Yair Lapid. The vote for the dissolution of the parliament ensured that Benjamin Netanyahu will have the chance to work on his political stamina and eventually regain power. With the Likud remaining the biggest party in parliament, Netanyahu will have the chance to run for office once more and compete in the upcoming November elections. As the Israelis prepare for the 5th election in less than 4 years, the interim government of Yair Lapid will try to patch up the political environment.
Now, the leader of the centrist Yesh Atid (“There is a Future”) has served as minister of finance, strategic affairs, foreign affairs, and alternate prime minister. And where many parties in Israel failed, rising and falling from power and running in election cycle after cycle, Lapid managed to construct a party with a solid basis that can pave the way for some change, despite the short time frame.
His political approach is going to be something fresh for Israeli politics. His centrist approach and his different approaches depending on different topics is something that will be noted for the first time in the Israeli setting. Israelis are used to solid approaches, either on the left or on the right of the political spectrum – flexibility is not something they have familiarized themselves with over the past years.
During these 6 months — and perhaps more, since it takes on average a long time for Israel to form a fully-fledged government – he will have to face some challenges, which will determine the delicate political balance in Israel. Firstly, he will have to motivate the center, the majority of Israeli voters who remain silent usually, to orientate themselves politically. Choosing a side has always been hard in Israeli politics, with political debates being heated and economic matters being just as delicate. Still, Lapid will have to encourage the voters who remain true to the middle to choose a side, if a strong and solid government is to emerge in the future. The second major challenge will be for him to encourage Israelis and inject trust, in order for elections in November to lead to the emergence of some governmental structure.
Following Bennett’s example, Lapid will try to follow the same trajectory. He will manage a cabinet with a different party, which prepared for years for a chance to come to power. Despite the prediction that Lapid might not have enough seats to form a government, other parties are also facing the same challenge, and this might be his most significant advantage.
This government is not expected to perform large political maneuverings. The fresh face is a change and an unexpected one, but a significantly different political agenda might not be the case. Domestically, the priorities will point to the maintenance of political stability and will try to prevent the significant upsetting of the status quo. Externally, the light will be turned to the maintenance of existing ties and the strengthening of strategic relationships. A close alignment with the US is expected, and so is close attention to the Eastern Mediterranean and regional developments in the field of energy. As the world moves towards a greener transition in the field of energy, and as countries try to limit their reliance on oil, Israel will have to put this topic on the topic of both the national and international agenda.
- “Doing it his way: How Naftali Bennett could beat the odds and wind up transforming Israel”, atlanticcouncil.org, Available here
- Israel’s Parliament dissolves, paving way for 5th election in 4 years”, nytimes.com, Available here