Yair Lapid’s speech at the UN was not addressed to Meretz or Labor, who are deep in his pocket. His objective was to sow confusion and disarray in the camp of Benny Gantz, causing Gadi Eisenkot and Gideon Sa’ar to bash heads against each other until their National Unity party recognizes the fact that you can’t have it both ways, forcing it to take a stand and lose some voters on either the left or the right. This was Lapid’s way of again taking the lead in this race.

Many words have been written about Gantz since he first dipped his feet into politics. These could be summarized in just two: an anti-candidate. I have no idea how we could have been so blind to the inflated ego and degree of arrogance embedded in the very ambition to save the nation from Netanyahu’s grip. It was all there from the very beginning, even if the camouflage was perfect. But now, as it appears that Gantz could be the dark horse in this race, it would be interesting to reconstruct his campaign from its beginning.

The common argument was that Gantz had good intentions, but that he lacked the fire in the belly and a knife between his teeth; that extracting Israel from its political impasse was not as powerful, personal and fierce an ambition as the drive to save yourself from a court ruling and possible imprisonment; that Gantz is an altruist and Netanyahu an egoist, and that personal motives always win. But the basic error was the assumption that anyone, certainly anyone vying for power, can make do with just doing good for others.

Another mistake was the premise that even if Gantz was a terrible speaker, someone who gives dull and inarticulate interviews, he is “real,” making him a bad politician in the best sense of that word. I had a chance to sit with him in a small forum and listen to him answering questions, and there’s no question; he projects dullness. The impression was that he lacked the necessary resolve and the charisma, but, to paraphrase another anti-candidate, John McCain, Gantz was running for prime minister not in order to “be somebody,” but “to do something.” It’s hard in retrospect not to see this as a successful marketing ploy. Gantz joined Netanyahu’s government on the back of this image (“Israel above all”), while in fact all he wanted was for his stint as mere alternate prime minister to pass quickly.

And then, it was taken away from him. He was obliged to see Naftali Bennett, and then Lapid, taking all that was stripped away from him. His cabinet colleagues saw much bitterness, pettiness, vengefulness and below-the-surface fury on his part. What a surprise: the image of the candid innocent was exposed as a marketing gimmick. Gantz was the dark horse in all the elections we’ve had since he entered the fray. He withstood a smear campaign, at the end of which he was willing to betray the trust given to him by his voters and join the man who had attacked him. He remained in the race, rehabilitated himself and garnered a somewhat surprising number of Knesset seats. And now, he’s breaking loose. The horse no one bet on wants to win. If Gantz succeeds in his plan (and it’s quite possible that he might), he will kill two birds with one stone. He will both be prime minister, after a short three-year delay, and he will expose Lapid, the proud horse with his mane ruffled by the wind, as a cumbersome, unsophisticated horse who simply can’t make it to the finish line.

Gantz has changed the race from a two-headed one to a three-headed one. He, not Lapid, says his campaign, can defeat Netanyahu and form a government. Suddenly, the personal interest is more important than the public one. The patient yet vengeful Gantz, the modest yet enormously ambitious man, the somnolent yet emotion-driven politician, has been revealed. Everyone got him wrong, including Netanyahu, columnists, pundits, politicians and voters. I have a feeling that Lapid is the only one who realizes that Gantz has turned into one of the most wily, cynical and selfish politicians now in play, and that he was always so: a dark horse, painted white.

The patient yet vengeful Gantz, modest yet ambitious, somnolent yet emotion-driven, has been revealed.

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A Dark Horse, Painted White

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28.09.2022

Yair Lapid’s speech at the UN was not addressed to Meretz or Labor, who are deep in his pocket. His objective was to sow confusion and disarray in the camp of Benny Gantz, causing Gadi Eisenkot and Gideon Sa’ar to bash heads against each other until their National Unity party recognizes the fact that you can’t have it both ways, forcing it to take a stand and lose some voters on either the left or the right. This was Lapid’s way of again taking the lead in this race.

Many words have been written about Gantz since he first dipped his feet into politics. These could be summarized in just two: an anti-candidate. I have no idea how we could have been so blind to the inflated ego and degree of arrogance embedded in the very ambition to save the nation from Netanyahu’s grip. It was all there from the very beginning, even if the camouflage was perfect. But now, as it appears that Gantz could be the dark horse in this race, it would be interesting to reconstruct his campaign from its beginning.

The common argument was that........

© Haaretz


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