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Yesh Atid (There is a Future)

Among the new parties in 2013 standing for the first time in an election were Yesh Atid (There is a Future), a centrist group founded in 2012 by former television host Yair Lapid. It advocates changing Israel's political system of often short-lived, fractious coalition governments. In October 2012 polls indicated it would win at least several seats in the Knesset. Shortly before the election it was seen winning 13 seats in pre-election polls, but actually winning 19 seats. Lapid had not ruled out joining a Netanyahu cabinet, but was pushing hard for ultra-Orthodox Jews to do military service -- a demand fiercely rejected by some allies of the prime minister.

The Party's platform states that "The first flaw, which impacts all others, is the system of government and elections. We have all witnessed the governments inaction on: equality in national service; effective education reform: and subsidized affordable housing for army veterans and young couples. These are largely the result of the government's consistent yielding to the demands of narrow interest groups and sectors, while ignoring the will of the majority. However, we know that it is ultimately the flawed structure of Israel's political system which enables this shameful practice.

"... the instability of successive Israeli governments caused by the number of parties means that ministers can accomplish very little, if anything, during their tenure as heads of their respective ministries. Over just the last 20 years there have been: 20 Ministers of the Interior, 16 Ministers of Tourism, 15 Ministers of Justice and Health, 14 Foreign Ministers, 13 Ministers of Finance and Social Welfare, 12 Education Ministers, 10 Ministers of Defense, and 9 Ministers of Public Security. Consequently, there is almost never enough time for ministers to formulate and accomplish serious reforms...

" ... raising of the Knesset election threshold (the percentage of votes required for a party to enter the Knesset) from 2% to 6%. This will induce smaller parties to join forces with the larger parties thereby minimizing the number of parties in the Knesset. This will lead to more stable, less corrupt, and more effective and governable governments."

Yair Lapid, born 05 November 1963, is an Israeli politician, actor, journalist, author, former TV presenter and news anchor. By early 2010 the media wondered whether popular TV and print journalist Yair Lapid -- the son of the late journalist and politician Yosef (Tommy) Lapid -- would enter politics. Likud politicians demanded that he observe a "cooling period" and suggested that legislation be voted to this effect.

Jewish extremists blocked of 40 main junctions across the country in May 2005 in an effort to halt the Gaza Strip disengagement. Liberal columnist Yair Lapid wrote on page one of mass-circulation, pluralist Yediot Aharonot (17 May 2005): "More than anything else, what stood out most on Monday was the flippancy. The settler youngsters produced, at our expense, a festival of self-adoration that to them seemed to be truly revolutionary. On Monday, they stood in Jerusalem and screamed 'police state.' For a moment, it was impossible not to regret that they were mistaken. In countries where the police are more resolute and less exhausted -- like France or the United States -- they would have been tossed out of the street within three minutes. Settlers Council officials had good reason for the exasperation they felt Monday. Last week, support for disengagement dropped. The road blocking will put the numbers back in the area Ariel Sharon likes to see them. Nobody likes to have thugs running their lives, certainly not Israelis stuck in traffic. On the other hand, maybe there is a valuable lesson to be learned here. The Israeli public finally understood what it feels like to live with roadblocks. Now we also have a sick old lady, our kids won't get to school either, we also left for work but will never get there. For a single moment on Geha road [on the eastern outskirts of Tel Aviv], we too were Palestinians."

Columnist and TV celebrity Yair Lapid wrote on page one of mass-circulation, pluralist Yediot Aharonot (03 October 2005): "I'm telling you it will be a good year.... It will be good because we so much want it to be good.... The disengagement is behind us. The fratricidal civil war was cancelled for lack of evidence. The primaries will reach us with a fashionable delay. It has been a long time since there was such a hunger for something good. The Palestinians, as usual, are nothing to write home about, but there is some movement even on that front. The economy is recovering.... The most popular Israeli leader in our times, Bill Clinton, invented the method. He inherited an America which was depressed and in the doldrums, and he spent the next two years saying 'look what a wonderful country we have, look how strong and beautiful and successful we are. We are unbeatable.' The economy recovered first, followed by national pride. The psychological subterfuge worked like a charm. And admit it -- we too have a little charm. As the number 2 man in the Chinese government said: 'We come to you because the Jews are the most clever people in the world.' A billion Chinese can't be wrong. We are smart and gifted, and we have built in the Third World a wily western country that is sometimes entitled -- let's say at [Jewish] New Year -- to be proud of itself too. It's not only pleasant. It's also a good technique to help us to live well. So believe me, it will be a good year, if we only want it enough."

Columnist and Channel 2-TV anchor Yair Lapid wrote on page one of the mass-circulation, pluralist Yediot Aharonot (02 April 2009): "I wonder what happens to a politician who has been given a last chance, and he reads time and time again in the newspaper that there is no way that he can succeed. At the very least, we ought to give Netanyahu a chance to fail before we declare that he has failed. Tom Stoppard, the playwright, once wrote: "It's not the voting that's democracy, it's the counting." The Netanyahu government might not be the government that I would have wanted, but there are good and experienced people in it (as well), and it was legally elected. Our fate does not depend on whether we succeed in ousting it swiftly from office but, rather, on whether it is successful. One of the necessary conditions for its success is that we sincerely wish it good luck, and that we truly mean it too."

Popular, liberal columnist and television anchor Yair Lapid wrote in the mass-circulation, pluralist Yediot Aharonot (18 September 2009): "Dear Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad.... In the coming year, I wish you to succeed in creating in Palestine a society such as the one you describe: an open, western society that does not engage in incitement, a society that believes in democracy and nurtures religious and civil tolerance. If you succeed in doing so, believe me: Israelis will be all right, too. Happy New Year to you."



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