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Is Lapid a leader or middle management?

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In the aftermath of this most recent flare-up between Israel and Gaza, supporters of Yair Lapid have found the result to their liking and, they hope, politically auspicious. Israel’s pre-emptive strikes were tactical and precise and the resumption of quiet has been speedy. Lapid, often portrayed as clueless on matters of security, has burnished this weakness on his resume. As the overseer of airstrikes and the deployment of Iron Dome, he seems more suited to be a real, rather than just a caretaker, Prime Minister. Perhaps this spot of violence will spell defeat for Benjamin Netanyahu in the upcoming November election. Perhaps a sufficient plurality of Israelis will see Lapid as a viable leader. This is the dream, however cautiously indulged, of his supporters in Israel and abroad.

But, what about Lapid’s conduct actually counts as genuine political leadership? Though Lapid has been praised for his prescience, pre-empting an escalation that was likely to be initiated by the other side, there is nothing in the world of foreign affairs that is less surprising than another episode of Israel-Gaza hostilities. Like clockwork, the same corrosive and unsustainable dynamic—a blockade, poverty, Islamist repression—produces the same grizzly results. Politically, little has changed since Hamas took control of Gaza in 2007.

None of these factors are really the fault of Lapid. And the ultimate ascription of blame for Gaza’s deplorable condition is, as is well known, a matter of acrid political and........

© The Times of Israel (Blogs)

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