Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid, journalist-turned-politician and multi-talented man | world news
Yair Lapid, the journalist-turned-politician, took over as Israel’s interim prime minister as the country prepares to go to the polls for the fifth time in four years in November. The 58-year-old leader – widely credited with forming the coalition that ended Benjamin Netanyahu’s record 12 consecutive years in power – is now gearing up for elections in November to prevent him from returning to form a new government.
But even as the country experiences political turmoil, Lapid – said to be a man of many talents – has so far attracted attention across borders. He is known to be a household name in Israel as he hosted one of the biggest mainstream talk shows of the 1990s.
The ‘Being Israeli’ columnist-commentator is also said to have built a solid profile in public office in a decade, having served as the leader of that party – ‘Yesh Atid’. He had composed songs, acted in films before appearing on television, according to a BBC report.
He also worked for a time for Israeli-American tycoon Arnon Milchan during an acting stint in Hollywood and is also believed to be an amateur boxer.
The multi-faceted leader also served as a screenwriter. He wrote a popular Israeli television series, “War Room”, in 2005, based on a secret unit of elite spies and military officers. They handled national crises as professionals rather than politicians – that was the premise of the show.
Yosef “Tommy” Lapid, her father, was a Holocaust survivor. He later became a secular politician.
Netanyahu, Israel’s longest-serving prime minister, is Lapid’s biggest rival in the November election. Analysts are eager to see if Lapid would be able to replicate what he did in 2021.
Naftali Bennett, Lapid’s predecessor, said he would no longer contest the elections after the eight-party coalition he led faced ideological divisions. Israel’s parliament was dissolved on Thursday following a unanimous vote after which Lapid, who served as foreign minister and continues to hold that portfolio, took over as interim prime minister.
Early opinion polls suggest the November 1 polls will be inconclusive, but for Lapid, one of the main agendas for the coming weeks is US President Joe Biden’s visit to Jerusalem.
(With contributions from AFP, Reuters)