Annnnnnd They’re Off!

In January this year I wrote a post about four of the next superstars in Israeli politics. Two of those people were Yair Lapid, the Channel 2 news anchor, and Ofer Eini, head of the Histadrut.

On June 8th, Lapid spoke to a group of 300 supporters in a meeting that was open to the public but closed to the press. As Gil Hoffman of the Jerusalem Post reported, Lapid had no qualms laying out his political agenda despite his media role:

“We will return the people who have left us,” Lapid said, referring to center-left voters. “We will write a constitution, change the electoral system, and return to you because we cannot do it without you. It is not too late.”

Asked by an audience member why he was holding such an event, he said he was worried about his son and his future. He said he would speak wherever people were willing to listen to him, because he was concerned that there was no “responsible adult” currently in Israeli politics.

“If we look at what happened in the Second Lebanon War and with the Gaza flotilla, we see that we don’t know how to run a war and we don’t know how to run a country,” he said.

Meanwhile, politicians across the spectrum have called for him to resign his post on the Friday news show if he indeed intends to run for office, claiming he is taking advantage of his position in the media to launch a political career.

But much more interesting was today’s article in Ynet about Eini. Some believe Eini is one of the most powerful men in the country today, but he has yet voice his opinion on diplomatic matters.

As Ynet’s Atiila Somflavi reports:

“The leadership of the Labour party is concerned with the lack of progress on the diplomatic front. In closed conversations, Eini lately said that he is extremely worried about the diplomatic peace process and from Israel’s standing in the international arena. Eini told politicians in the party that he is waiting to see if there will be any development on the diplomatic front until September-October, and hinted that he will work towards changing the make-up of the government.”

Besides the fact that the two are finally making their moves, what’s interesting is the timing they both have chose. Has the Gaza flotilla fiasco woken them up? Do they see an opportunity that we don’t yet? Do they have any feelers out there telling them that now is the time to start closing in on their enemies? Do they feel that this government, like most of its predecessors, will not run out its full term?


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