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"Tough, Hostile, Vengeful: Likud Discovers a Different Israel"



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"Bibi was sandalized!" is the most popular (and lost-in-translation) assessment of the election results in the Hebrew media. Naftali Bennett from the Jewish Home is Bibi's right sandal while Yair Lapid from Yesh Atid ("There is a Future") is the left sandal. Netanyahu lost independence; now he depends on the goodwill of his future coalitional partners. Like the relationship between their respective languages, Hebrew media is much less informal than the English one. One can find in it articles of nature and shape that wouldn’t qualify in English outlets. One such article, named "Tough, Hostile, Vengeful: Likud Discovers a Different Israel," by Yosef Verter, was published by Haaretz on January 25, 2013. It is difficult to define it as a proper article since it bundles several barely related topics, creating what is defined as "rambling." The last topic is a warning written by a Government Minister from Likud to Yair Lapid. The main problem is that the minister remains anonymous. Despite the unwritten rules of such events, the newspaper gave no hints regarding the identity of the minister. One could assume thus that it is out of respect for Benjamin Netanyahu himself. Alas! the language used by the minister surpasses Netanyahu's capabilities and shows hints of a religious Jewish education. Regardless the identity, his message is crucial; despite the difficulties I tried to keep the original colorful phrasing also in English.

lapid Driver

Yair Lapid driving the Israeli bus, Netanyahu and leaders of other parties look at him

Lapid in Netanyah during the elections campaign

Lapid in Netanyah during the elections campaign
The Origins of the Inquisition in Fifteenth-Century Spain

"First, trust neither Bibi nor his people. Don't fall captive to their sweet-talk. Don't be tempted by the positions and honors that they will offer you. This is your time. You will not have another time. You hold immense power. Without you, there will be no government. If you will not use this one-time strength in the next six-weeks, you will become an overstepped threshold. Netanyahu, Gideon Saar and Ze'ev Elkin will make a circus out of you. What you haven't learned yet, they have forgotten a long time ago. If you do not request a coalitional agreement which is clear, sharp, with no room for interpretations, with clear dates and unambiguous conditions, an agreement that will 'sandalize' Netanyahu, you will very quickly lose your voters who are like wandering dunes. Today they are with you, four years ago, they were with Tzipi Livni and in the next elections they will find a new comet." The phrase "overstepped threshold" ("askupa nidreset") is a mix of Acadian and Hebrew that Netanyahu probably can't even pronounce.

DJ Netanyahu

"Elections 2013" | DJ Netanyahu Playing Lapid's music


Despite the colorful rendering, there is nothing new in the minister's words. He continued, "After you enter the government you won't be able to leave it. If you do so, you will be presented as a clown, as a rookie, like Shaul Mofaz #2. Thus, the coalitional agreement that you sign with Netanyahu is critical, more than any other agreement has ever (original means also wherever) been. Whatever you don't achieve during the negotiations, you won't be able to achieve after the new government is formed. It doesn't matter how much you threat and press, you will meet a hard wall." This is common sense. I don't know who the minister is, but one should be careful when negotiating with such a person. Then, he added his assessment of the near future. It is clear that the Likud minister is trying to manipulate Lapid's negotiation; however, he is doing that against Likud policies and it ends in probably the most honest assessment of reality that an Israeli politician has ever made in public.

"It is true that your campaign was centered on social and economic issues, as well as the recruitment of Haredim, but for sure you understand the relationship between the Peace Process and a strong economy and a normal society. If you don't insist on the beginning of the Peace Process negotiations, if you don't insist on stopping the construction in the settlements that are not part of 'settlement blocks' or Jerusalem, then you will achieve nothing. We stand in front of a very difficult national period. The isolation of Israel will increase, sanctions against us are on the way. The topic that sabotages us the most is construction in isolated settlements. This must be stopped. You must demand from Netanyahu that every construction in such places must be authorized by him and you. Regardless of your becoming Minister of Foreign Affairs, you will be responsible for this topic, beginning from another six weeks. If you grow soft, if you get tired, if you say it will be OK, then nothing will happen. We will continue galloping towards the cliff, and our fall will be named after you."

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