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Lapid is the Gaza operation’s political winner, but can this be converted to votes?

10 6 1

They say a picture is worth a thousand words, but can it be worth Knesset seats?

On Sunday, Prime Minister Yair Lapid achieved what his predecessor, Naftali Bennett, failed to do for a year: Lapid was photographed delivering a security briefing to opposition leader Benjamin Netanyahu.

This election season, Netanyahu is once again campaigning on the perception that only he can ensure Israel’s security. Following his ouster last year after 12 consecutive years as premier, Netanyahu has spent the past year lambasting Bennett and Lapid for being unable to tackle security. Lapid has a particularly soft underbelly in the matter, being a rare Israeli prime minister without serious security chops.

The photographed briefing, and Lapid’s handling of the military conflict in Gaza that precipitated it, begin to address some of the interim prime minister’s political shortcomings. However, Lapid will have to work hard to expand his potential bloc if he wants to transform his caretaker premiership into a permanent one come November.

Led by Lapid and Defense Minister Benny Gantz, the three-day Operation Breaking Dawn may be considered one of Israel’s more successful Gaza incursions precisely because of how little it achieved. In contrast to several past conflicts, Operation Breaking Dawn set attainable, concrete goals, and once they were met, ended. Palestinian Islamic Jihad was a weaker opponent than Hamas, and the operation was focused on ending specific terrorist threats against southern Israel rather than routing out broad terror capabilities. While the Israeli military holds that 27 Gazan civilians were killed in the fighting — 16 of whom the Israel Defense........

© The Times of Israel

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