Bennett and Lapid join forces to dethrone Netanyahu in Israel

  • Leader of the settlers, Naftali Bennett is a self-made billionaire advocating annexation of the occupied West Bank

  • Yair Lapid makes use of its name synonymous with consensus to create a multi-colored Executive that ends ‘Bibi’s’ 15 years in power

Both integrated Binyamin Netanyahu governments. And now they seek to create their own without it. They are Naftali Bennett y Yair Lapid, allies who will dethrone King Bibi. After 15 years in power, your time is closer than ever. The centrist Yesh Atid, led by Lapid, in charge of forming a government, steps to the side to be the extreme right Yamina, with Bennett at the helm, who governs during the first two years of the mandate. Thanks to a multicolored Executive, Israel seems to be on the verge of a historic moment: the end of Netanyahu’s reign.

“A government of people right, left and center they tell the Israeli public: we know how to work together and we don’t hate each other “. This is how Lapid has sold the “change deal” with Bennett, with whom until this wednesday they will continue to finalize the details. “Our first test is to see if we can find smart compromises in the coming days to achieve the bigger goal,” added Yesh Atid leader.

Twinned before this larger goal of unseating Netanyahu, Bennett and Lapid seek to save Israel from an endless electoral cycle. They both know ‘Bibi’ closely. Both Yesh Atid’s boss and Yamina’s leader were part of one of their short-lived governments. Years later, since disparate ideological positions, These two figures in Israeli politics meet a higher goal. But who are they? How far apart are they? Where do they come from?

NAFTALI BENNETT, leader of the settlers

“Our strategy against the escalation of violence is based on two fundamental pillars: first, kill Palestinian attackers and, second, destroy their homes. “With these words of 2015, Naftali Bennett, entonces Minister of Education, delved into the hatred of Palestinians that he has professed for decades. The possible future prime minister of Israel is a staunch defender of the need to annex the West Bank busy. Leader of the colonists, his iron hand has permeated all his speeches.

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Self-made millionaire, Bennett is the son of American immigrants from San Francisco. 49 years ago, he was born in Haifa although he spent much of his childhood in the United States. His accent gives away his days in New York working in the high-tech industry. There he sold his anti-fraud software company, Cyota, for $ 145 million in 2005. That explains his staunch defense of economic liberalism and his support for cutting taxes and bureaucracy.

Bennett identifies with the settler movement after presiding over the Yesha Council that protects Jewish radicals living in the occupied West Bank. It insists that the Palestinian territories are not under occupation because “there was never a Palestinian state here “. If he takes office, Yamina’s leader will become the prime minister in Israel’s history to showed kipá, the small cap that partially covers the head. He also advocates a hard line against Iran, like his old boss.

Three decades ago, between 2006 and 2008, the standard-bearer of Israel’s religious right was the Binyamin Netanyahu’s chief of staff. I participate in three of their governments as Minister of Religious Services, Education and Defense. This last position he left him just a year ago. A former special forces commando, Bennett named his eldest son in honor of the brother of Netanyahu, Yoni, killed in action in Uganda in 1976. Yoni is one of four children he shares with his wife Gilaf, a pastry chef, in the Raanana suburb of Tel-Aviv.

Chameleonic like few others, Bennett puts his religiosity aside to discreetly respect the gay rights and being liberal in his approach to the relationship between religion and the state in a country hijacked by the ultra-Orthodox. On Sunday, announcing his agreement with Lapid, he insisted that both right and left they would have to engage in ideological matters. The far right remains convinced of the annexation project of the occupied territories. If this motley government becomes a reality, Bennett will have to park your dream another legislature.

YAIR LAPID, seal of moderation

Lapid, in Israel, is synonymous with secular. And survival. To explain Yair, you have to go through Yosef, his father. He survived the Holocaust in the defunct Yugoslavia to emigrate to Israel in 1948, when the state was created. There, he founded the liberal and secular party Shinui, Change in Hebrew, in 1999. Before, he was a renowned writer and journalist. Your firm opposition to the power of the ultra-Orthodox in Israeli politics it made him the subject of heated debates on television.

Just 12 years later, Lapid Jr. would follow in his footsteps. It was not enough for him to be the son of the most famous atheist in Israel and the acclaimed writer Shulamit Lapid. Nor with being the pretty face of Israeli television. Nine years ago, Yair Lapid, the star of Israeli journalism, made the leap into politics with his Yesh Atid party, There is a Future. At 57, Lapid embodies the secularism and the opening of the capital where he was born, Tel-Aviv.

Its premiere at the polls was a success. In 2013, it obtained 19 deputies in the Knesset, the Israeli Parliament, two fewer than it now has. Thus, following in the wake of his father – his secularism did not prevent him from negotiating with the right-wingers of his time – Yair joined the Netanyahu government. For a year and a half, it was finance Minister until the ubiquitous ‘Bibi’ fired him. He did not have time to shore up his project of facilitating buying homes for young couples after the Israeli 15-M hangover in 2011.

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He also followed in his father’s footsteps in love by marrying the writer Lihi Lapid, with whom he has two children. He himself is the author of several novels. His sporadic work as a screenwriter led him to the very Hollywood, after divorcing his first wife with whom he had his first-born. For decades, his iconic jaw was a hallmark of incisive interviews live on television and scathing columns in rival newspapers since his youth.

In 2013, Lapid joined the Netanyahu government as finance minister, but after a year and a half, the ubiquitous Bibi fired him.

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The centrist supports a two-state solution for the Israeli-Palestinian conflict although it venerates the indivisibility of Jerusalem as the capital of the Hebrew state. His reformist program focuses on the fight against corruption and the privileges of the ultra-Orthodox community, which accounts for only 12% of the population in a country with a secular majority.

Assembling consensus and moderation, Lapid is the person who can get the support of ideologically distant political formations in order to overthrow Netanyahu. With only nine years in politics, the opposition leader is able to sacrifice his leadership in the government in favor of Bennett in order to have him join his project. And, for now, their efforts are working.


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