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Lapid, Herzog veer right

Israeli center-left leaders' adoption of rhetoric to appeal to the right instead of crafting credible policy alternatives indicates that they have not learned the lessons from their March electoral loss and will be unprepared for early elections.
Isaac Herzog, co-leader of the centre-left Zionist Union party, is seen at his party's headquarters in Tel Aviv March 16, 2015. Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, in a final bid to shore up right-wing support ahead of a knife-edge vote on Tuesday, said he would not permit a Palestinian state to be created under his watch if he is re-elected. Herzog favors reviving peace talks with U.S.-backed Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas. REUTERS/Nir Elias (ISRAEL - Tags: POLITICS ELECTIONS) - RTR4TKZ6
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You don’t have to be an expert strategist or a specialist in political branding to recognize what is happening. Over the past few weeks, the chairman of Yesh Atid, Yair Lapid, has launched his campaign to become the next prime minister. Lapid’s moves are transparent and obvious to everyone. He seems to be following a planned strategy backed by in-depth research and polling and dependent, of course, on the lessons he learned from the last elections.

By attacking the “unpatriotic left,” Lapid is trying to bolster his appeal to the right. At the same time, he is trying to shed his image of someone who gobbles the ultra-Orthodox for breakfast. He is, therefore, making a show of drawing closer to them and making sure that it is all documented. So, for example, he was photographed wearing a prayer shawl and yarmulke at a symbolic bar mitzvah for Holocaust survivors. Lapid’s success in the 2013 elections, in which his party won 19 seats, was largely attributed to his campaign against the ultra-Orthodox, insisting that they share the public burden of military service and labor market participation. Now, however, he is using every opportunity to give interviews to the ultra-Orthodox press, to which he expresses deep regret for the way he treated that community.

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