Yair Lapid

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Yair Lapid
Yair Lapid - portrait.jpg
Date of birth (1963-11-05) 5 November 1963 (age 55)
Place of birthTel Aviv, Israel
Knessets19, 20
Faction represented in Knesset
2013–presentYesh Atid
Ministerial roles
2013–2014Minister of Finance
Spouse(s)Tamar Friedman (1 child), Lihi man

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

In March 2013, following his coalition agreement with Likud, Lapid was appointed to be Minister of Finance and member of the Security Cabinet. In 2013, Lapid ranked first on the list of the "Most Influential Jews in the World" by The Jerusalem Post.[1] He was also recognized in 2013 as one of the leading Foreign Policy Global Thinkers[2] and was ranked as one of TIME Magazine’s 100 “Most Influential People in the World.”[3]

Currently, Yair Lapid serves in the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee and the Sub-Committee on Intelligence and the Security Services.[4]

Early life[edit]

Yair Lapid was born in Tel Aviv. His father was journalist and politician Yosef "Tommy" Lapid, who served as Justice Minister, and his mother is novelist and playwright Shulamit (Giladi) Lapid.[5][6] He has a sister, Merav, who is a clinical psychologist. Another sister, Michal, died in a car accident in 1984.[7] Both of his grandmothers, on maternal and paternal side were alive when they moved to Israel, according to an interview his parents gave to the Spiegel (magazine).[8]

Lapid grew up in Tel Aviv and London. His childhood home in Tel Aviv was in the Yad Eliyahu neighborhood, in a residential building known as the Journalists' Residence, as several prominent journalists lived there. He attended high school at the Herzliya Hebrew Gymnasium, but struggled with learning disabilities and dropped out without earning a bagrut certificate.[9][7] He began his mandatory military service in the Israel Defense Forces in the 500th Brigade of the Armored Corps. During the 1982 Lebanon War, Lapid suffered an asthma attack after inhaling dust kicked up by a helicopter, and was pulled from the Armored Corps. He then served as a military correspondent for the IDF's weekly newspaper, Bamahane ("In the base camp").[10] After completing his military service, he began working as a reporter for Maariv and published poetry in literary journals. He also had a career as an amateur boxer at this time.[11]

Journalism and media career[edit]

Yair Lapid in Jacob Goldwasser's 1991 film Beyond the Sea

In 1988 at the age of 25, he was appointed editor of Yedioth Tel Aviv, a 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 decades later.[12]

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 current affairs 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.

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, respect, and global recognition through his success in the television and journalism industry. In September 2013, the Israeli edition of Forbes magazine estimated his net worth at 22 million shekels.[13]

Political career[edit]

Yair Lapid giving a speech at Sapir Academic College in November 2015

On 8 January 2012 Lapid announced that he would be leaving journalism in order to enter politics.[14] On 30 April he formally registered his party, "Yesh Atid" (Hebrew: יש עתיד‎, lit. "There's a Future").[15] 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.[16]

Lapid was named Israel's finance minister on 15 March 2013.[17] 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.[18]

On 2 December 2014, Lapid was fired from his post as finance minister by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.[19]

Yesh Atid[edit]

Yair Lapid continues to lead Yesh Atid, Israel’s largest centrist party and has presented the party's Seven Point Plan for Israel which includes a robust security doctrine, a regional conference with Arab states based on the necessity of separating from the Palestinians, reforms of the political system to clean up corruption, a State of Israel that strikes a balance between its Jewish and Democratic character, a strengthened law enforcement system, an economy propelled forward by innovation, and increased emphasis on education and science. [20]

Under Lapid, Yesh Atid spearheads the fight against corruption in Israel. The “Nachshon Plan” that was unveiled in 2017 stipulates that any person found guilty of corruption will be banned from serving in public office. In order to prevent political bribery, it also abolishes “coalition funds.[21]

Views on the Arab - Israeli conflict[edit]

Lapid said that he would demand a resumption of negotiations between Israel and the Palestinian Authority.[22] His party's platform calls for an outline of "two states for two peoples" while maintaining the large Israeli settlement blocks, a united Jerusalem and ensuring the safety of Israel.[23] 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." [24] 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.[25] 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.[26][27]

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."[28] He has, however, dismissed the possibility of a comprehensive peace deal with the Palestinians as an unrealistic idea.[29]

In June 2015, after the March 2015 elections, Yair Lapid visited the United States and after an hour long interview, American journalist Jeffrey Goldberg wrote that, "Lapid is a leader of the great mass of disillusioned centrists in Israeli politics. He could conceivably be prime minister one day, assuming Benjamin Netanyahu, in whose previous cabinet he served, ever stops being prime minister. Now functioning as a kind of shadow foreign minister, Lapid argues that Israel must seize the diplomatic initiative with the Palestinians if it is to continue existing as a Jewish-majority democracy, and he is proposing a regional summit somewhat along the lines of the earlier Arab Peace Initiative. Lapid is not a left-winger—he has a particular sort of contempt for the Israeli left, born of the belief that leftists don’t recognize the nature of the region in which they live. But he is also for territorial compromise as a political and moral necessity, and he sees Netanyahu leading Israel inexorably toward the abyss." [30]

In September 2015 Yair Lapid laid out his diplomatic vision in a major speech at Bar Ilan University [31] in which he said "Israel’s strategic goal needs to be a regional agreement that will lead to full and normal relations with the Arab world and the creation of a demilitarized independent Palestinian state alongside Israel. That’s where Israel needs to head. Separation from the Palestinians with strict security measures will save the Jewish character of the state."

Lapid supports recognition of Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights. He noted in 2017 that with Iran attempting to establish a foothold in Syria, Israel cannot be expected to relinquish the Golan Heights. [32]

Religion and State[edit]

In 2013 when Yesh Atid sat in the government, Lapid pushed for increased public transportation on Shabbat, as opposed to the current law which mandates most public transportation shut down. [33]

Additionally, Lapid strongly supports instituting a civil marriage track in Israel. Currently, marriage and divorce for Jews are controlled by the Chief Rabbinate. The Chief Rabbinate will not officiate marriages between Jews and non-Jews, and some Israelis from the Soviet Union — who are not Jewish according to Jewish law — cannot marry in Israel. [34] Although Israel recognizes civil marriages that are performed abroad, there is no mechanism for performing civil marriage in Israel itself. In 2015 under Lapid's leadership, Yesh Atid championed a bill to institute civil marriage. The bill however was defeated in the Knesset with 50 votes against and 39 in favor. [35]

Israel-Diaspora Relations[edit]

When Netanyahu walked back his promise to Diaspora Jews in 2017 to expand prayer at the Western Wall, Lapid slammed the decision. He stated that the Israeli government alienated “senators, congressmen, the majority of the pro-Israel lobby, major donors, the people we turn to when we need help ensuring that Israel will get advanced weapons, that the military assistance will increase, that there will be sanctions on Iran.”[36] He implored American Jews to “not give up on us. We have no intention of giving up on you. We are one people. It might take time. It might take elections. But in a democracy the majority decides, and the majority in Israel want us to be one nation.”[37] Lapid asserts that it is Israel’s responsibility to recognize all streams of Judaism.[38]

Lapid is a leading proponent of a deep bipartisan US-Israel relationship. He has upbraided Prime Minister Netanyahu for alienating American Democrats. Lapid warned that “The fact that the [Israeli] government completely identifies with the conservative, evangelical faction of the Republican party is dangerous.” [39]

When Jewish Democrat Congressman Ted Deutch’s request to attend the embassy opening in Jerusalem was ignored, Lapid stated that “There’s no way the government of Israel didn’t notice this. It’s the job of the Prime Minister’s office to look at the list and say: we are non-partisan and are not just attached to Republicans.”[40]


During the 2013 election campaign, Lapid spoke of "equal shares 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.[41][42] On 27 May 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.[43][44] Lapid denies that he is seeking to destroy the Haredi way of life, and stated "Not one of us wishes, heaven forbid, 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."[45]

Defending Israel against bias[edit]

Yair Lapid is a vocal opponent of the BDS movement, which seeks to economically isolate Israel. Lapid has stated that “We can no longer abandon this battle to the haters of Israel. We need to defend Israel’s good name in the world. They are besmirching us, and the time has come to answer them.” Lapid has also helped college students in America fight BDS.[46]

Regarding the United Nations, Lapid has spoken out vehemently about its bias against Israel. In an op-ed, he excoriated the United Nations Human Rights Council for voting for “61 resolutions condemning human rights abuses across the world and 67 resolutions which condemned Israel” in the past decade and having its own agenda item on Israel. Lapid blames the UNESCO for erasing Jewish history. [47]

Lapid traces the UN’s bias against Israel to the creation of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine (UNRWA) in 1950, which services only Palestinian refugees and gives them hereditary status so that the number of refugees has expanded from approximately 750,000 to five million today.[48]


Lapid, whose father Tommy Lapid was a Holocaust survivor, spoke out against Poland’s controversial Holocaust bill which would criminalize accusing the Polish nation for being complicit in the Holocaust. Lapid stated that “No Polish law will change history, Poland was complicit in the Holocaust. Hundreds of thousands of Jews were murdered on its soil without them having met any German officer.” [49]

In February 2018, the Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki stated that "there were Jewish perpetrators" of the Holocaust, "not only German perpetrators."[50] Lapid condemned Morawiecki's words: "The perpetrators are not the victims. The Jewish state will not allow the murdered to be blamed for their own murder."[51]

His book, Memories After My Death chronicles the story of his father as he watched Israel evolve over its first sixty years.[52]

Personal life[edit]

In the mid-1980s, he married Tamar Friedman. They later divorced and he moved to Los Angeles, where he worked in the television industry. He later returned to Israel, where he resumed his journalism career.

He is married to journalist Lihi Lapid[53] and lives in the Tel Aviv neighborhood of Ramat Aviv.[54] He and his wife have two children and he has another son Yoav (born 1987) from his first marriage.[12]

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 at minimum a bachelor's degree. Lapid, who had failed to complete high school, 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 allowed students without a BA to study towards a doctorate.[55][56]


  • 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: Biography (2010)
  • A Journey to Our Future (2017)


In May 2013, Lapid ranked first on the list of the "Most Influential Jews in the World" by The Jerusalem Post.[1]

Foreign Policy Global Thinkers 2013 [57]

TIME Magazine's "100 Most Influential People in the World 2013" [58]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b JERUSALEM POST STAFF (May 4, 2013). "Top 50 most influential Jews 2013: Places 1-10". Jerusalem Post. Retrieved 5 August 2013.
  2. ^ "Yair Lapid - For appealing to Israel's political center". Retrieved 2018-06-24.
  3. ^ Vick, Karl. "The 2013 TIME 100". Time. ISSN 0040-781X. Retrieved 2018-06-24.
  4. ^ roni. "Yair Lapid". Retrieved 2018-06-24.
  5. ^ Gradstein, Linda (2012-01-17). "In entering Israeli politics, Yair Lapid eyes force of socioeconomic protests | Jewish Telegraphic Agency". Jta.org. Retrieved 2016-03-31.
  6. ^ "Shulamit Lapid | Jewish Women's Archive". Jwa.org. 2009-03-01. Retrieved 2016-03-31.
  7. ^ a b "Who Is Yair Lapid?". Haaretz. 2012-01-23. Retrieved 2016-03-31.
  8. ^ "Israel's 60th Anniversary: 'A Jew from Morning to Night'" (Interview). Spiegel Online. 8 May 2008. Retrieved 30 January 2018.
  9. ^ אטילה שומפלבי (5 January 2018). "יאיר לפיד: 'לא מצאו עליי כלום, אז המציאו סיפור'" [Yair Lapid: 'They did not find anything about me, so they invented a story'] (in Hebrew) – via Ynet.
  10. ^ Popular Israeli anchorman quits TV, joins politics, CNS News
  11. ^ "לא קצין, אבל ג'נטלמן" [Not an officer, but a gentleman]. mako.co.il (in Hebrew). 9 January 2012.
  12. ^ a b "Charismatic Leader Helps Israel Turn Toward the Center", The New York Times, 23 January 2013
  13. ^ Galit Edot (September 5, 2013). "Israel's wealthiest politicians". Forbes. Retrieved 6 October 2013.
  14. ^ "Veteran Israeli anchor Yair Lapid leaves Channel 2 to enter politics". Haaretz. January 8, 2012. Retrieved January 8, 2012.
  15. ^ "Lapid registers new party, 'Yesh Atid'". Jerusalem Post. April 29, 2012. Retrieved April 29, 2012.
  16. ^ "19th Knesset to see Right, Left virtually tied". ynet. January 22, 2013. Retrieved January 22, 2013.
  17. ^ "Ex-TV anchor Yair Lapid named as Israeli finance minister". Reuters. Retrieved 15 March 2013.
  18. ^ "75% dissatisfied with Lapid's performance". Globes. Retrieved 26 December 2013.
  19. ^ Ilan Ben Zion, (December 2, 2014). Netanyahu fires Lapid, Livni from ministerial posts. The Times of Israel.
  20. ^ "Yesh Atid Headed by Yair Lapid | Yesh Atid". www.yeshatid.org.il. Retrieved 2018-06-24.
  21. ^ "Yesh Atid Israel Centrist Party - This is How We Will Combat Corruption". Retrieved 2018-06-24.
  22. ^ ‘Mishal Ham’ Talk show (Hebrew – ReshetTV) on 14:00 on YouTube
  23. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on March 15, 2013. Retrieved March 14, 2013.
  24. ^ Winer, Stuart (2013-10-08). "Lapid charms the lefties at NY's 92nd Street Y". The Times of Israel. Retrieved 2016-03-31.
  25. ^ Revital Hovel. Yair Lapid says he opposes occupation, but will present platform in West Bank settlement. Haaretz. Oct.20, 2012
  26. ^ Israel’s rising star. The Economist
  27. ^ Yair Lapid Calls for Return to Peace Talks. Reuters. October 30, 2012
  28. ^ Gill Hoffman. Yair Lapid: Palestinians not ready to make peace. Jerusalem Post
  29. ^ "Boosting the West Bank's economy". The Economist. 2013-06-01. Retrieved 2016-03-31.
  30. ^ Goldberg, Jeffrey. "'Israel Can't Absorb 3.5 Million Palestinians and Remain a Jewish, Democratic State'". theatlantic.com.
  31. ^ "Yair Lapid's 'New Strategic Vision for Israel'". tabletmag.com.
  32. ^ "Lapid: World must recognize Israeli sovereignty over Golan, united Jerusalem as capital". The Jerusalem Post | JPost.com. Retrieved 2018-06-24.
  33. ^ "Lapid takes on the religious status quo". Retrieved 2018-06-24.
  34. ^ "New campaign reopens debate on civil marriage in Israel". The Jerusalem Post | JPost.com. Retrieved 2018-06-24.
  35. ^ "Why is there no civil marriage in Israel?". Retrieved 2018-06-24.
  36. ^ "MK Oren vows to vote against conversion bill at risk of getting fired". The Jerusalem Post | JPost.com. Retrieved 2018-06-24.
  37. ^ "MK Oren vows to vote against conversion bill at risk of getting fired". The Jerusalem Post | JPost.com. Retrieved 2018-06-24.
  38. ^ "MK Yair Lapid: "We have problems of the 21st century; we need solutions for the 21st century, with the leaders of the 21st century."". www.herzliyaconference.org. Retrieved 2018-06-24.
  39. ^ "Lapid: Netanyahu is 'dangerously' aligning Israel with conservative Republicans". Retrieved 2018-06-24.
  40. ^ "Lapid: Netanyahu is 'dangerously' aligning Israel with conservative Republicans". Retrieved 2018-06-24.
  41. ^ "Lapid sets agenda for next government". Ynetnews.com. Retrieved 2016-03-31.
  42. ^ Mazal Mualem (2013-02-01). "Lapid Plan for Ultra-Orthodox to Serve In Israeli Military Must Go Forward". Al-Monitor. Retrieved 2016-03-31.
  43. ^ Ofra Edelman (2013-05-27). "Lapid Threatens to Topple Government Unless ultra-Orthodox Dealt Equal Share of IDF Burden - National". Haaretz. Retrieved 2016-03-31.
  44. ^ "Lapid Praises Bill That Would Criminalize Haredi Draft-dodging - National". Haaretz. 2014-02-20. Retrieved 2016-03-31.
  45. ^ "Lapid to Ultra-Orthodox: "We Need You" – Tablet Magazine". Tabletmag.com. Retrieved 2016-03-31.
  46. ^ "Lapid begins campaign against BDS". The Jerusalem Post | JPost.com. Retrieved 2018-06-24.
  47. ^ "How UNESCO erases history". The Times of Israel. Retrieved 2018-06-24.
  48. ^ "The United Nations has lost it". The Times of Israel. Retrieved 2018-06-24.
  49. ^ "PM slams 'baseless' Polish bill, says 'the Holocaust cannot be denied'". Retrieved 2018-06-24.
  50. ^ "Benjamin Netanyahu attacks Polish PM for saying Jews were among perpetrators of the Holocaust". The Independent. 18 February 2018.
  51. ^ "Israel: Polish PM's 'Jewish perpetrators' Holocaust remark 'outrageous'". Deutsche Welle. 18 February 2018.
  52. ^ "Memories After My Death | Yair Lapid | Macmillan". US Macmillan. Retrieved 2018-06-24.
  53. ^ Harkov, Lahav (2013-01-21). "Labor targets undecided female voters via kids - Diplomacy & Politics - Jerusalem Post". Jpost.com. Retrieved 2016-03-31.
  54. ^ Danan, Deborah (2013-01-15). "Who is Yair Lapid? - Video Articles - Jerusalem Post". Jpost.com. Retrieved 2016-03-31.
  55. ^ "No BA means no PhD for Yair Lapid", Times of Israel
  56. ^ "Knesset Committee to probe Lapid doctorate affair", Jerusalem Post
  57. ^ "Yair Lapid - For appealing to Israel's political center". Retrieved 2018-06-24.
  58. ^ Vick, Karl. "The 2013 TIME 100". Time. ISSN 0040-781X. Retrieved 2018-06-24.

External links[edit]

Party political offices
New office Leader of Yesh Atid
Political offices
Preceded by
Yuval Steinitz
Minister of Finance
Succeeded by
Benjamin Netanyahu