Op-Ed By Yair Lapid: The Betrayal of the Intellectual


lapidI don’t accuse intellectuals of bias or of anti-Semitism but too many of them are certainly guilty of intellectual laziness.

Too many American and European intellectuals have taken moral relativism to its absurd extreme, falling back upon the ‘validity of every narrative’ and repeating the mantra that ‘every story has two sides.’ They treat those who have a clear moral stance as primitive. For them, if you take a moral stand or choose a side in a conflict you must lack the necessary tolerance to “see the other side.”

It seems a distant memory but not long ago intellectuals did the exact opposite. They were the ones who helped us differentiate between good and evil, between right and wrong, between justice and injustice. They didn’t delve into the childhood of Senator McCarthy or ask whether the Germans felt a genuine sense of hardship. The debate wasn’t over feelings but the essence of truth.

The betrayal of the intellectuals was especially noticeable during the days of the operation in Gaza. Ostensibly, there should be no question as to who enlightened people should support; on one side of the conflict stands a western democracy, governed by the rule of law, which warns civilians before striking legitimate terrorist targets. On the other side stands an Islamist terrorist organization, homophobic and misogynistic, committed to killing Jews, which does all in its power to murder innocent civilians and hides behind its own women and children when carrying out its vicious attacks.

But those intellectuals see it differently. For them, the Palestinians are suffering more and so they must be right. Why? Because they have turned suffering into the only measure of justice.

The suffering in Gaza is truly heartbreaking, but the causes are not clear cut. When Hamas forces civilians to stand on the roof of a building which is used as a terrorist command center despite knowing that the building will be attacked (and they know because we warn them), who are we to hold responsible? When Hamas places rockets and explosives inside UN schools and fires from within hospitals, who are we to hold responsible? When Hamas fires thousands of rockets and mortars at the cities of Israel and fails to kill hundreds of our children only because of our technological edge and the Iron Dome missile defense system should we blame ourselves for suffering less?

Those intellectuals betrayed themselves because they refuse to answer these questions or even to truly appreciate the complex global reality in which we all now live. Instead they stare at the photographs of the injured children in Gaza and compete as to who is the most outraged.

Hamas, of course, is acutely aware of the weakness of many western intellectuals and treats them as a tool in its propaganda war. There is significant intelligence information — not only in the hands of Israeli intelligence — which shows that Hamas believes, theologically, that there is no barrier to sacrificing the lives of the children of Gaza to garner sympathy in the western media. Those who are aware of the intelligence also know how the Hamas sees western intellectuals who buy into their gruesome propaganda — they are a tool, to be used and to be mocked.


Yair Lapid is Israel’s Minister of Finance and the head of Yesh Atid, Israel’s second largest political party.

NOTE: The views expressed here are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of YWN.


(YWN World Headquarters – NYC)


  1. Why are we posting his opinion?
    He is a Rasha and may be to blame for the entire Gaza situation. It is pretty clear that this began after the implementation of the new draft laws.
    Why give him an opportunity to flatter himself when he is one of the biggest Rashaim in our generation??

  2. @ #2, Please……stop it, OK?
    I thank you and my children thank you.
    Maybe the guy is in the process of realizing who he really is.
    Our only chance against all the hate around us is to UNCONDITIONALLY love our fellow Jew. Each of us has faults and strengths, please try to remember that before we all launch into fratricide, even with the tongue.

  3. Amen what costs more helping chareidim or paying for a war. Anyone with a brain said if u try to destroy the tora community there willb a price to pay just like when barak called for a secular revolution

  4. @ #2
    Would you rather he bashed Israel??
    The only thing that’s clear is that you are not privy to Hashem’s thoughts and running of the world.

  5. “and fails to kill hundreds of our children only because of our technological edge and the Iron Dome missile defense system”
    Not one word of Hash-m even the Arabs admitted that Hash-m is protecting us.

  6. Le f: here in eretz Yisroel we have spent tisha bav hearing from our gedolim that we must strengthen our resolve to make the achdus that we have now, last. Your message makes for a intensely horrible Attempt at breaking this beautiful peace. There are nicer ways to say you disagree with someone.

  7. I have a hunch that this war caused him to come around a little. (hopefully more than a little.)
    1. Unfortunately, be’avonoseinu, we lost too many good men this war – unexpectedly-.
    2. We all saw real nissim, especially uncovering the rosh hashana plot.
    3. We all see that the goyim in general hate us -without any logic-, also described in his article.
    4. The exposed weakness of the possibility of closing the airport -just like that- for political reasons (or otherwise) is truly frightening.

    Certainly, Mr. Lapid is pondering some of these points.
    Hopefully yad-Hashem will shine upon him be’Chesed.
    I remember when Uri Zohar became frum! He was the last person in the world that anyone expected to become frum.
    Let’s hope and ask Hashem to show us this kiddush Hashem!

    A guten chodesh.

  8. He forgot to mention the story that happened with one of the workers at the Iron Dome missile defense system. A rocket was on it’s way into a populated area. He tried twice to shoot it down, but was not successful. All of sudden he notices a wind coming and the rocket changed course and fell in an open area. No one got hurt.

  9. You are entitled to an opinion, and you may be correct, but he wrote a statement here that makes sense. If you read it again, you will see that you agree with it. So why take this a platform to talk badly about another Jew? That’s the last thing this war needs.

  10. Le F, wanting to draft Chareidim makes him into one of the biggest reshoim? What propaganda! He is not a tzaddik, but many of the points that he made here are true.

  11. Number 2:

    Why so cynical?

    Kol Yisrael Bechezkas Kashrus, and read what the Rambam writes by hilchos Kiddushin “Shema hirher teshuva belibo”.

    Besides, Hevey Dan es kol adam lekaf Zechus.

    With Ahavas Chinam Moshiach will be here.

  12. If world opinion defies logic, Mr Lapid, which it most certainly does, then it should be clear to you, as it is to the Torah community, that the anti-Israel /anti-Jewish feelings, conscious or unconscious, come from the sinah whose source is Har Sinai. The nations of the world’s inability to accept our existence, is because “the right” can’t accept our morality/din, and “the left” can’t tolerate our kindness/chesed. The B’nei Yisroel / Yeshurun are yashar / straight / balanced. Tiferes!

    We are waiting for the day when you will return to your heritage, that of your great uncles The Baal Haflaah and the Rebbe Reb Shmelkeh.

  13. Also, you can’t blame one man for the situation. Even if he is responsible for the draft, we are all responsible for the galus. We want to be part of the solution, not the continuation of the problem.

  14. are there any intellectuals today? I heard in the name of Rav Schienberg z”l that today (many years ago) there are no more philosophers.

    Philosophers and intellectuals are of course different, but both use their minds to reach conclusions of moral bearings.

    Today, many intellectuals use their gifted minds to justify their feelings, rather to guide their feelings. This is the problem.

  15. to le f: Only Hashem can determine who is a tzaddik and who is a rasha. We have just finished the three weeks…the bais hamikdash was not yet rebuilt..that means we are not worthy of it being rebuilt yet. Comments such as yours are only going to push that date further away from us. If you have nothing nice to say about a person, it is best to refrain from commenting. Hashem works midah kneged midah. If we look at the faults in others, then Hashem will look at us to find our faults – because there is no human being on this earth who does not have faults.

  16. I was a bit shocked to see this on YWN and a bit disappointed as well. This man is opposed to everything the Torah stands for. He and his “intellectual” ilk would classify chareidim right down there with Hamas – “…homophobic, misogynistic….” Of course, it’s not true, but that’s what they think of us.

  17. Thank you very much for printing this article
    1- It shows us that even someone like him has to,at times,admit the truth.Even though he could not go all the way,to realize that they are Sonei Yisrael (the term anti Semite is a fabricated modern term that lends a non existent sophistication to the Jew hater)he still goes a long way.
    2-I haven’t seen anyone else cut through the garbage and explain the problem as well as he has.Psychology has taught the modern age that there is always two sides to a story.However,being influenced into evil by Zeitgeist or holding on to old political gripes (that certainly have an Israeli side to them as well) has never been an excuse in the court of law.For example,the Boston Marathon terrorist is only using the claim of being influenced by his brother to push off capital punishment.Life imprisonment is almost guaranteed.
    3-This is of great use against anyone
    questioning Israeli behavior,that even our most left wing politician agrees in rhis case.
    4-This in no way exonerates past action which helped lead to this problem and certainly has no bearing on the religious conflict in which he takes a more leading role. Here he was just continuing the general leftist approach.
    5-It’s always good to know when an enemy is forced to accept your position. There are many cases of problematic, and very problematic,politicians who have come around to our side at least for a bit. This is encouraging as the possuk says “birtzos Hashem darkei ish gam oyivav yishalem lo”.

  18. #2: First of all, his opinion is correct, and needs to be stated publicly again and again. Next, do you really believe that HKB”H sent Hamas terrorists to kill Jews in Eretz Yisroel because of a new draft law? Finally, just imagine the Kiddush Shem Shamayim BaRabim that could happen if the Chareidi community could bring itself to actually support the government of Medinat Yisrael in time of war. Learn by example from the Dati Leumi community, who wear the same tefilin as you and learn the same gemara as you, but who also go to work to support their families, rather than relying on lifetime welfare, and proudly send their children to do military or national service.

  19. It’s difficult to respond to it because I don’t understand the point. That is I cannot tell if he’s being serious, I cannot tell if he’s being political or which parts are serious and which are political.

    If the entire article is serious then I believe our definitions and concepts of some of the English words he used are very different. I therefore cannot understand some of his definitions or “where he is coming from”.

    Also, there is part of me that would be very concerned at this article, as Israel is confined and dependent upon receiving media from the world and the world hates Jews. Perhaps the incoming “signals” from various sources are tampered with and warped in specific ways.

    If the entire article was completely political and he “put on a show” for westerners then I understand it, it makes perfect sense in that regard, not that it is “right” to do it, or that I would even know anything at all about what occurs at top levels of government.

    I admit it is a very strange article from where I am sitting, and I hope he is not just an idiot. I’ll assume he is taught very different definitions and concepts and/or that it is a political article for a specific audience.

  20. Although his article is right on, I can’t help thinking about the phrase he used:

    “They treat those who have a clear moral stance as primitive.” Sounds like he remembers this mantra well as it was repeated to him so many times since he came to power because of his hatred towards his bigger enemy – the charedim.

    Has this rasha, the author of this piece, not cut the budgets for yeshivos, kollelim and children, to a third or even less of what little they got till now, they would have saved themselves the triple or more expense this war costed them as they would have been protected without a war from the Torah learners. Yesh din veyesh dayan.

  21. @2 “He is a Rasha and may be to blame for the entire Gaza situation. It is pretty clear that this began after the implementation of the new draft laws”, the problem with Gaza started way before Lapid, do you claim to know HKBH’s will? I think not.

  22. No yid is without a pathway to teshuva. I hope you can do teshuva for the lashon hara you have just spoken against one of the leaders of Eretz Yisrael. If you have nothing good to say about a fellow Jew, then you should remain silent. If not, then all your tefilah is going nowhere, blocked by the lashon hara you speak. Don’t take my word for it, go and read the Chofetz Chaim. Further, it is our responsibility as religious Jews to pray for each person to do teshuva. Do you live here in EY? Or are you one of the many who prefer to remain in galut and cast aspersions upon us. HaShem have rachamim on your soul!

  23. Yair Lapid shows the beauty of a “career liberal”. He is flexible enough to know when it’s time to move right for a while.

  24. What #2 said. I hardly bother to reply here but now I felt I had to. Why posting this rasha’s article? He is hugely part of the cause for the current problems in Eretz Yisroel.

  25. Why is he a rasha ?
    Only because he is of the opinion as where chazal , that many of the bank quetchers should aquire an imnus and or serve in the army to some extended..

    Are you one of those who are squeezing your parents or your in-laws and sending your poor wife to support you and the kids working
    outside the house and in the house
    while you are doing the quetching.

    There thousands of heimishe that share my opinion but keep quite.

  26. We have a responsibility as Torah Jews not to speak badly about anybody. Don’t judge, one day we will all see the ultimate truth.

  27. To my dear brother who became a judge. How in the world can you call him a Rasha do u know if he was lucky like you to be raised by frum parents think a min how is he suppose to know what you know he is clueless . Instead of causing hatred pray for him to return there ain’t enough love going around only to much hate

  28. #1 HA ha
    #2 Grow up

    This op-ed of Yair Lapid must be repeated and printed in every news media available. Society has lost its moral compass & we, the Jewish Nation will be affected by this more than anyone else.

    When victims, propaganda photos, harassed journalists are the bearers of War News – the fight for justice is over.

  29. So, what is Lapid? Intellectual, biased or simply anti-jewish? He is certainly no better than all the anti-semites in the western world pointing the finger at the Jews so he’s pointing the finger (and the spiritual, legal and financial) rockets at the chareidim.

  30. A) eretz yisroel doesn’t tolerate re’shaim.
    B) a yid in galus calling one who lives in artzeinu hakedosha a “rasha” is ludicrous
    C) thank you for being the first to break the achdus that was going to bring moshiach. Hashem is SO happy he has yidden down here to identify who among our achim is a rasha.

  31. We realy must thank our freind lapid for showing us a leading egsampal what it means to be an egsemplary rasha.
    NOT many others where able to get this title in our times.
    thank you.

  32. #2 Well said

    Rav Steinman pronounced Lapid with yemach Shemo ,which most doubtfully he has done for almost anyone

    #17 Gold

    So it is wrong and (politically) incorrect to call the nazis,Trotsky, Stalin or Arafat reshoyim?!

    #4 #6 #8 # 17 #31

    Try to Wake Up and a Top of the Morning!
    Lapid’s media cronies are feverishly hard at work rebranding him as a potential Netanyhu successor .Scary as it will seem !

    You’re all gonna fall for it again?

    Fool me once -shame on you
    Fool me twice -shame on me

  33. As per Chazon Ish,only with a proper BALANCE between sinah of evil and ahavah will the cause of golus be rectified and bring the final geulah.

  34. as per the rav of Brisk ‘Those who claim to be the greste ohavim,are really the greste son’im’

    Those who don the achdus mantle ought to bear that in mind

  35. As late as February 10, 2010, in an article titled “Do settlers care about us?” Lapid implies that the real threat to Israel is not its enemies, but “4 percent of Israelis,” i.e. the settlers, who endanger all the others who “must bear the results of a religious ideology they do not share.”

    Lapid used his widely read column to berate the opponents of the 2005 disengagement, warning of the dire consequences and unbridgeable rift that would result, if they succeeded in persuading the public that expulsion of Jews from Gaza should be aborted. Six months after its completion, in “The essence of being Israeli” (February 15, 2006), he crowed, “Disengagement succeeded because Israelis remembered how to behave as a nation.”

    However, several months later in “Things we couldn’t say during disengagement” (October 13, 2006), when its catastrophic failure was undeniably apparent, he published a galling admission that the disengagement “was never about the Palestinians, demography, the endeavor for peace, [or reducing] the burden on the IDF.”

    With infuriating arrogance, Lapid revealed that the real reason for the traumatic displacement and deportation of thousands of productive citizens was that “the Israelis merely felt that the settlers should be taught a lesson in humility and perhaps in democracy, too.”

    No, confessed Lapid, the real reason for imposing the deportation of Jewish citizens and destruction of Jewish towns and villages was…

    to put the settlers in their place, to teach them “the limits of their power” and show them who really calls the shots in the country.

  36. #20modiinbob
    Regularly stabbing Judaism in the back is okay,as long as (with the notable exclusion of chard’l)you go through with the pretensions?

    (The Draft Law one of the smaller of the stunning travesties

    While there has been alot of politcos pro draft,but
    Rav Steinman has yet to ever pronounce any of them
    yemach shemo)

  37. To About Time – I find it hard to believe that you are putting Lapid into the same category as the others you mentioned.
    I will reiterate what I wrote before – I think we need to leave it up to Hashem to decide whether or not a fellow Jew is a rasha. When we judge others, we open ourselves up to the scary proposition that Hashem will judge us.

  38. Well meaning brothers, only Hashem can pass judgement. Instead of ending this thread on a note of disunity, take a secnod to daven for clarity for every jew. And please, every opinion that could be said has been stated, so lets end the conversation.