What does he stand for? Well, he looks great. A former TV personality, he is good on TV, the only battleground in these elections. His program equates to the American "motherhood and apple pie."
He reminds me of Groucho Marx: "These are my principles. If you don't like them, I have others, too."
For me he is "Lapid Lite," compared to his late father, "Tommy" Lapid, who also moved from TV into politics. Father Lapid was a much more complicated character: very likeable in personal contact, very offensive on TV, an extreme rightist in national affairs and an extreme enemy of the religious camp. His son just pleads: Vote for me because I am a nice guy.
He makes no secret of his yearning to become a minister under Netanyahu. Sorry, not for me.
IGNORING THE Arab national lists, which are not interested in Jewish votes, and those which cannot be expected to make the 2% hurdle, there remain only two candidates on the list: Hadash and Meretz.
Both are close to what I believe in: they are actively engaged in the struggle for peace with the Palestinian people and for social justice.
How to choose?
Hadash is basically the public face of the Communist party. Should that deter me?
I have never been a Communist, or even a Marxist. I would define myself as a social-democrat. I have many memories concerning the Communist party, some positive, many negative. It is not easy for me to forget their orthodox Stalinist past. But that is not the point. We are not voting for the past, but for the future.
Hadash, to its credit, defines itself as a joint Arab-Jewish party -- the only one (since the party I helped to found in 1984 lost momentum after eight years and disappeared). However, for the vast majority of Israelis it is an "Arab party," since more than 95% of its voters are Arabs. It does have a Jewish Knesset member, the very active and commendable Dov Hanin. If he had headed a list of his own, he could have attracted many young voters and conceivably changed the election landscape.
ON THE whole, I prefer Meretz, though without much enthusiasm.
There is something old and dreary about this party, which was founded in 1973. It says all the right things about peace and social justice, democracy and human rights. But it says them in a weary voice. There are no new faces, no new ideas, no new slogans.
A large number of leading intellectuals, writers and artists have come out for Meretz. (The party took great pains not to list leftists without clear "Zionist" credentials.) But, as a Labor minister said long ago about the intellectuals: "The don't fill half a refugee camp."
All in all, it is still the best choice in the circumstances. A significant increase of their presence in the Knesset would at least encourage hopes for the future.
AND IT is the future that counts. The day after these disastrous elections, the effort to create a different landscape must begin. Never again should we be faced with such a dilemma.
Let's hope that next time -- which may be quite soon -- we shall have the chance to vote with enthusiasm for a dynamic party that embodies our convictions and hopes.