-- January 8, 2012- Yair Lapid to Enter Politics-Free Education for 3-4 Year Olds

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Israel Update
A Daily Analysis
By Marc Schulman

January 8, 2012- Yair Lapid to Enter Politics-Free Education for 3-4 Year Olds?

The Israeli political system received a shock today, when something expected happened... but just not at the expected time. Channel 2's well known anchor, Yair Lapid, announced he was resigning from the TV station to become involved in politics. Lapid's hand was forced by the plan to pass a law to bar journalists from entering politics for one year from the time they leave journalism. This law, which has yet to pass, is known unofficially as "The Yair Lapid Law", since it was aimed specifically at him. The "Lapid law" is similar to the law passed two years ago aimed at Gabi Ashkenazi which required top military officials to refrain from entering politics for four years from the end of their military service.

Yair Lapid has out maneuvered his opponents by resigning now. Since the law has not passed yet, it will not apply to Lapid retroactively (at least not in any act that will stand up to court approval).

Why should anyone care? The main reason to care comes to light in a poll taken last week. The recent poll shows Lapid's new party getting 15-20 seats in the next election. Such success would potentially make the new party the second largest party after Likud. More interesting, those same polls show that with Lapid's party in the race, the parties of the left and center have a large enough majority to block a Likud government.

Yair Lapid, is the the son of Tommy Lapid, (founder of the Shinui party, whose platform was fiercely secular and anti-Charedi), has many of the same beliefs as his father. However, Yair is considered much more nuanced in his views. Clearly he is on the left center of the political spectrum. An interesting exercise if Kadima, Labor, and Lapid's new party ran together would they get more or less votes?

The government just passed a law providing funding for a law passed long ago to provide free education for all children between ages 3 and 4 years of age. The money is going to come from across the board budget cuts, except from the ministries controlled by Shas. Apparently their ministries will not be cut. This sounds like progress, but does anyone want to guess who make up the majority of 3-4 year olds in Israel?

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