Israel’s Finance Minister, Yair Lapid returned last week, Oct. 12, from an intensive working visit to Washington, during which he met with Vice President Joe Biden, Secretary of the Treasury Jack Lew, Chairman of the Federal Reserve Ben Bernanke and a host of other senior administration officials. In private talks, Lapid later related proudly that the Americans see him as the “next thing” in Israeli politics. Other than posting a banner outside the White House that reads: “Well, replace him already,” they have said that much, Lapid told close associates.
Truth be told, we can understand the Americans. They’ve been stuck with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for five years already. "Nothing Happens, Nobody Comes, Nobody Goes.” And then all of a sudden, Bibi's (Netanyahu’s) perfect flip side shows up. Here is a young, optimistic man who is receptive to suggestions. Speaking excellent English, he has broad knowledge of Americana and is endowed with unabashed personal charm. Lapid speaks a language Americans can understand, using their vernacular while whispering mellifluous words into their attentive ears. The Americans know that when it comes to Lapid, real negotiations with the Palestinians can take place and the Iranians can be given a real chance to roll back. Life will look completely different. It won’t be as gloomy and ominous; it’ll be more credible.