"I think Part 1 he's really done. It's a breath of fresh air. In Israel politics, you don't really hear people talking about vision and where we can be and setting our sights high. He's really doing that. I think he on a certain level has instilled that hope. I think he's optimistic because he's seen the response to his call for making this change and that we can actually get this done."
Yossi Klein Halevi, a noted Israeli author, wrote an essay Wednesday in Tablet, an online magazine about Jewish issues. The piece is entitled "Why I voted for Yair Lapid."
"As a centrist Israeli," he said, "I have no other political home."
Netanyahu tried to make Likud more of a center-right movement, "but the ideological right within the Likud revolted. Today's Likud appears more hospitable to the far rightist Moshe Feiglin than to centrists like Dan Meridor, denied a safe seat in the Likud primaries," Halevi wrote.
In contrast, Lapid has an "eclecticism" that "reflects his ability -- alone among today's leaders -- to define the Israeli center."
"He is a secular Israeli who has shown increasing interest in Judaism. He supports a two-state solution and opposes settlement construction outside the large settlement blocs. Yet he launched his campaign from the West Bank city of Ariel, sending the message that settlers are part of Israel too. He opposes the wholesale draft exemption of ultra-Orthodox young men, but he advocates a gradualist approach and has an ultra-Orthodox rabbi on his Knesset list. He emerged as the voice of middle class disaffection, yet included in his list two Ethopians, representatives of one of the country's poorest constituencies."
Halevi says Lapid is "frankly, unapologetically, in love with the state of Israel."
"There is nothing complicated about Yair's Israeliness. He is not a hyphenated Israeli, whose loyalty to the state depends on its fulfillment of an ideological agenda. Yair conveys the impression of a man comfortable in all parts of Israel," Halevi wrote.