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Yair Lapid

Yair Lapid
File:Yair Lapid - portrait.jpg
Date of birth (1963-11-05) 5 November 1963 (age 52)
Place of birth Tel Aviv, Israel
Knessets 19, 20
Faction represented in Knesset
2013– Yesh Atid
Ministerial roles
2013–2014 Minister of Finance

Yair Lapid (Hebrew: יאיר לפיד, born 5 November 1963) is an Israeli politician and former news anchor who currently serves as the chairman of the Yesh Atid Party. He served as the Israeli Minister of Finance between 2013 and 2014. Prior to his entry into politics in 2012, he was a journalist, author, TV presenter and news anchor.[1] The Yesh Atid Party, which he founded, became the second largest party in the Knesset by winning 19 seats in its first election in 2013. The greater than anticipated results contributed to Lapid's reputation as a leading moderate.

In March 2013, following his coalition agreement with Likud, Lapid was appointed as the Israeli Minister of Finance. In May 2013, Lapid ranked first on the list of the "Most Influential Jews in the World" by The Jerusalem Post.[2]


Yair Lapid, born in Tel Aviv, is the son of journalist and politician Yosef "Tommy" Lapid and author Shulamit (Giladi) Lapid.[3][4] He has a sister, Merav, who is a clinical psychologist. Another sister, Michal, died in a car accident in 1984.[5]

He is married to journalist Lihi Lapid[6] and lives in the Tel Aviv neighborhood of Ramat Aviv.[7] He and his wife have three children.[8]


As a teenager, Lapid struggled with learning disabilities,[citation needed] and dropped out of high school. He never earned a bagrut (high school matriculation certificate). In January 2012, controversy arose after Lapid was admitted by Bar-Ilan University into a doctorate program, studying towards a PhD in hermeneutics. This was in violation of rules stating that all doctoral candidates must hold a BA. Lapid was admitted to the university based on his extra-academic credentials and career in journalism and writing.

After the Knesset Education Committee launched an investigation, the Council for Higher Education cancelled the program under which Lapid was admitted. It allows students without a BA to study towards a doctorate.[9][10]

Journalism and media career

File:Over The Ocean third.jpg
Yair Lapid in Jacob Goldwasser's 1991 film Beyond the Sea

Lapid started his journalism career while in the Army, as a military correspondent for the IDF's weekly magazine, Ba-Mahaneh (In the Camp").[11] He also wrote for the mainstream daily Maariv.

In 1988 at the age of 25, he was appointed editor of the Tel Aviv local newspaper published by the Yedioth Ahronoth group. In 1991, he began writing a weekly column in a nationwide newspaper's weekend supplement, at first for Maariv and later for its competitor, Yedioth Ahronoth. His column, called "Where's the Money?", became his slogan in seeking political office.[8]

In 1994, Lapid started on TV, hosting the leading Friday evening talk show on Israel TV's Channel 1. That same year, he had an acting role in an Israeli film, Song of The Siren. He next hosted a talk show on TV's Channel 3. From 1999-2012 Lapid hosted a talk show on Channel 2.

From 1989 to 2010, Lapid wrote and published several books, spanning a variety of genres: his first was a thriller, of which he has published three more; other writing includes two children's books, two novels, and a collection of his newspaper columns. In addition, he wrote a drama series, War Room, which was aired on Channel 2 in 2004.

His journalism work and TV hosting gave him widespread recognition, and he has commanded respect.

In January 2008, Lapid was the host of Ulpan Shishi (Friday Studio), the Friday night news-magazine of Channel 2. That year, his first play, The Right Age for Love, was performed by the Cameri Theater.

Lapid has amassed wealth in his career. In September 2013, the Israeli edition of Forbes magazine estimated his net worth at 22 million shekels.[12]

Political career

On 8 January 2012 Lapid announced that he would be leaving journalism in order to enter politics.[13] On 30 April 2012 Lapid formally registered his party, "Yesh Atid" (Hebrew: יש עתיד‎, lit. "There's a Future").[14] The move was aimed to coincide with the general expectation in Israel for early elections to be held in the early fall of 2012.

A few days after Yesh Atid's registration, in a surprise move, Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu formed a national unity government. It was then thought that Lapid's party would have to wait until late 2013 before it could participate in national elections. But in October 2012, following the departure of Kadima from Netanyahu's coalition over how to implement a Supreme Court decision ending the exemption from the military draft for the ultra-Orthodox, Netanyahu announced that elections would take place in late January 2013, affording Yesh Atid its first opportunity to run since its formation. In November 2012, Yesh Atid was polling an average of 11.6%, or 13–14 seats in the 120-seat Knesset. The final results of the January election showed the party winning an unexpected 19 seats, making Yesh Atid the second-largest party in the 19th Knesset.[15]

Lapid was named Israel's finance minister on 15 March 2013.[16] Only nine months later, a survey was published showing a continuing trend of decreasing popularity with 75% of those polled claiming to be disappointed by his performance and his party would only achieve 10 seats in the Knesset as opposed to the 19 party members who were elected at the beginning of the year.[17]

On 2 December 2014, Lapid was fired from his post as finance minister by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.[18]

Views on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict

Lapid said that he will demand a resumption of negotiations between Israel and the Palestinian Authority.[19] His party's platform calls for an outline of "two states for two peoples", while maintaining the large Israeli settlement blocks and ensuring the safety of Israel.[20] In January 2013, just days before the election, Lapid said he won't join a cabinet that stalls peace talks with the Palestinian Authority, and added that the idea of a single country for both Israelis and Palestinians without a peace agreement would endanger the Jewish character of Israel. He said, "We're not looking for a happy marriage with the Palestinians, but for a divorce agreement we can live with." [21] As part of a future peace agreement, Lapid said that the Palestinians would have to recognize that the large West Bank settlement blocs of Ariel, Gush Etzion and Ma'aleh Adumim would remain within the State of Israel.[22] According to Lapid, only granting Palestinians their own state could end the conflict and Jews and Arabs should live apart in two states, while Jerusalem should remain undivided under Israeli rule.[23][24]

Regarding the diplomatic stalemate in the Israeli-Palestinian peace process, Lapid said that "Most of the blame belongs to the Palestinian side, and I am not sure that they as a people are ready to make peace with us."[25] He has, however, dismissed as unrealistic the possibility of a comprehensive peace deal with the Palestinians.[26]

In a May 19, 2013 interview with New York Times correspondent Jodi Rudoren,[27] Lapid said that:

  1. ".. Israel should not change its policy on Israeli settlements in the West Bank in order to revive the stalemated peace process"
  2. "..Jerusalem should not serve as the capital of a future Palestinian state"
  3. "..he would not stop the so-called “natural expansion” of settlements in the West Bank, nor curtail the financial incentives offered Israelis to move there"
  4. "..the large swaths of land known as East Jerusalem that Israel captured from Jordan in the 1967 war and later annexed must stay Israeli because “we didn’t come here for nothing.”"


During election campaign, Lapid spoke of "equal share of the burden" for all Israeli citizens. He said he would work to see all Israeli citizens, including the thousands of haredim, who had up until that point been exempt from most civil service, be included in military and civil service.[28][29] On May 27, 2013, Lapid threatened to topple the government unless ultra-Orthodox would be subject to criminal sanctions for draft-dodging. In the view of some Haredim, Lapid's plan represents a "spiritual holocaust" as they believe that their Jewish studies are what upholds Israel. Some Haredim have declared that even at the risk of being called criminals they will continue in their Jewish studies and refuse to enlist or perform civilian service.[30][31] Lapid denies that he is seeking to destroy the Haredi way of life, and stated "Not one of us wishes, heaven forfend, to force hiloniyut (secularism) on you or to impose our version of Israeli identity. This state was established so that Jews could be Jews, and live as Jews, without having to fear anyone.”[32]

Published works

  • The Double Head: thriller (1989)
  • Yoav's Shadow: children's book (1992)
  • One-Man Play: novel (1993)
  • Elbi – A Knight's Story: children's book (1998)
  • The Sixth Riddle: thriller (2001)
  • Standing in a Row: collection of newspaper columns (2005)
  • The Second Woman: thriller (2006)
  • Sunset in Moscow: thriller (2007)
  • Memories After My Death: novel (2010)


In May 2013, Lapid ranked first on the list of the "Most Influential Jews in the World" by The Jerusalem Post.[2]


  2. 2.0 2.1 JERUSALEM POST STAFF (May 4, 2013). "Top 50 most influential Jews 2013: Places 1-10". Jerusalem Post. Retrieved 5 August 2013. 
  3. In entering Israeli politics, Yair Lapid eyes force of socioeconomic protests
  5. "Who is Yair Lapid?", Haaretz
  6. Labor targets undecided female voters via kids
  7. Is there a future for Yair Lapid?, Jerusalem Post
  8. 8.0 8.1 "Charismatic Leader Helps Israel Turn Toward the Center", New York Times, 23 January 2013
  9. "No BA means no PhD for Yair Lapid", Times of Israel
  10. "Knesset Committee to probe Lapid doctorate affair", Jerusalem Post
  11. Popular Israeli anchorman quits TV, joins politics, CNS News
  12. Galit Edot (September 5, 2013). "Israel's wealthiest politicians". Forbes. Retrieved 6 October 2013. 
  13. "Veteran Israeli anchor Yair Lapid leaves Channel 2 to enter politics". Haaretz. January 8, 2012. Retrieved January 8, 2012. 
  14. "Lapid registers new party, 'Yesh Atid'". Jerusalem Post. April 29, 2012. Retrieved April 29, 2012. 
  15. "19th Knesset to see Right, Left virtually tied". ynet. January 22, 2013. Retrieved January 22, 2013. 
  16. "Ex-TV anchor Yair Lapid named as Israeli finance minister". Reuters. Retrieved 15 March 2013. 
  17. "75% dissatisfied with Lapid's performance". Globes. Retrieved 26 December 2013. 
  18. Ilan Ben Zion, (December 2, 2014). Netanyahu fires Lapid, Livni from ministerial posts. The Times of Israel.
  19. ‘Mishal Ham’ Talk show (Hebrew – ReshetTV) on 14:00 on YouTube
  20. "Yesh Atid" national agenda – Hebrew (English version needed)
  21. [1] The Times of Israel, October 8, 2013 by Orli Santo
  22. Revital Hovel. Yair Lapid says he opposes occupation, but will present platform in West Bank settlement. Haaretz. Oct.20, 2012
  23. Israel’s rising star. The Economist
  24. Yair Lapid Calls for Return to Peace Talks. Reuters. October 30, 2012
  25. Gill Hoffman. Yair Lapid: Palestinians not ready to make peace. Jerusalem Post
  26. Israel and Palestine: Boosting the West Bank’s economy
  27. <>
  30. [2]
  31. Lapid praises bill that would criminalize Haredi draft-dodging
  32. Video: Lapid to Haredim: “We Need You”

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