Monday, August 8, 2022

Journalist-turned-politician Yair Lapid, Israel’s PM, and a man of many talents

Journalist-turned-politician Yair Lapid has taken over as Israel’s acting prime minister in November, preparing to go to the polls for the fifth time in four years. The 58-year-old leader – widely credited with building the coalition that ended Benjamin Netanyahu’s record of 12 consecutive years in power – is now waiting for November elections to prevent him from returning to form a government again. Gearing up for

But despite the political turmoil in the country, Lapid – who is said to be a man of many talents – has garnered attention beyond borders for now. He is known as a household name in Israel for hosting one of the biggest mainstream talk shows in the 1990s.

The “Being Israeli” columnist-commentator is said to have built up a solid profile in public service over the decade, having been the head of the party – “Yesh Atid. He composed songs, acting in films before going into television.” Did, according to a BBC report.

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He also worked briefly for Israeli-American mogul Arnon Milchan while acting in Hollywood and is also known to be an amateur boxer.

The multi-faceted leader has also been a screenwriter. He wrote a popular Israeli TV series, “War Room” in 2005, which was based on a secret unit of elite spies and military officers. They handled national crises as professionals rather than politicians – this was the premise of the show.

Yosef “Tommy” Lapid, his father, was a Holocaust survivor. He later became a secular politician.

Israel’s longest-lived PM Netanyahu is Lapid’s biggest rival in November’s elections. Analysts are eager to see if Lapid will be able to do what it did in 2021 again.

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Lapid’s predecessor, Naftali Bennett, has said he will not seek re-election after an eight-party coalition led by him faced ideological divisions. Israel’s parliament was dissolved after a unanimous vote on Thursday, after which Lapid, who has been foreign minister and continues to hold that portfolio, took over as acting prime minister.

Early opinion polls suggest the November 1 election will be inconclusive but for Lapid, a major agenda in the coming weeks is US President Joe Biden’s visit to Jerusalem.

(with inputs from AFP, Reuters)


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