Is Yair Lapid Jewish?

Yes Israeli politician Yair Lapid is a Jew. David Remnick wrote about him in New Yorker, and evaluated his performance in the 2013 parliamentary election, "...the great surprise was the second-place finisher, a television celebrity and political novice named Yair Lapid, who leads a brand new—but impressively greased—centrist party called Yesh Atid (“There is a Future”). Lapid appealed largely to young, middle-class, secular voters, and he concentrated mainly on social issues like education and housing and on stripping the ultra-Orthodox of their state subsidies and military exemptions. Facebook, Twitter, and his square-jawed, salt-and-pepper-hair glamour were Lapid’s tools..."

Remnick shared more about Lapid in that essay:
Lapid resigned from Channel 2 only a year ago, and is one of the most famous people in Israel—a television star with a “Mr. Israel” image. He is bluff, cocky, handsome, and had no problem when it came to name recognition. When he was hosting a show named for him, he would ask his guests a signature question: “What is Israel to you?”

As one Haaretz reporter, Asher Schechter, wrote sarcastically last month, Lapid is a prince of Tel Aviv privilege, a “notorious wannabe,” a cigar-smoking, product-wearing TV star. He has been mocked for his modest education, his uncertain grasp of the facts—but “it’s easy to make fun of Yair Lapid.”

Lapid is the son of Yosef (Tommy) Lapid, a famous and pugnacious journalist who went on to head the Shinui Party (a party devoted to secularism and the free market), and the playwright and author Shulamit Lapid. He had learning disabilities as a child and dropped out of high school. Nevertheless, he built a career in his parents’ mold, writing for the newspapers Maariv and Yediot Ahronoth. His subjects were generally light; when he wrote politically, he kept it simple. In the nineties, he starred in a romantic comedy called “The Singing of the Siren,” in which he played the cad, and then made a career on television. He wrote a TV series called “War Room.”

Above all, he was an on-air presence, a star in every living room. “During his eight-year tenure hosting the most-watched talk show in Israel, Lapid became more than just a media personality and more than just a columnist,” Schechter wrote. “On air, he transformed into an icon.… He wanted to be a symbol, and to that end he cultivated his boyish, all-Israeli image.” One of the rewards of television stardom was a web of connections, friendships with leading bankers and entrepreneurs. He may play a middle-class hero on television and in politics, but he is a man of the Tel Aviv bubble, the coastal secular élite.

Yair Lapid’s emphasis on the secular nature of Zionism and Israel itself is inherited from his father and clearly a reaction to the rise of the religious nationalists, like Bennett, who want to re-define Zionism in the mold of settler ideology. Lapid told the Associated Press, “I don’t want a country that is defined by religion. I don’t want a country that is defined by the separation of groups and sectors.” Read more.

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