With just under two weeks until Election Day, and Israel’s continued standing as a bastion of democratic stability and regional military superpower at stake, many recent contradictory revelations concerning the military service of Israel’s alternative and caretaker Prime Minister, Yair Lapid, have only reinforced the pervasive feeling that he has been less than honest with the public and raises questions about his capability to lead the State of Israel. While no one doubts that Lapid served three years of military service as a military correspondent, recent revelations have raised numerous unanswered questions as to how he evaded combat service with no hard evidence or information being provided by the acting Prime Minister’s office as to how he became a military correspondent, and how he has been able to keep what should be easily accessible information about his military service from being disclosed. If Israel had an objective media, journalists could have been expected to provide critical information and due diligence in their reporting about Yair Lapid’s questionable military service, however what we got instead, with a few notable exceptions has been a media silence and cover-up of what should have forced Yair Lapid to immediately resign from public service.

Israel is a small country, and it’s virtually impossible to make claims about one’s military service without someone else who was there on the front lines who can verify what has been claimed. I, like thousands of others served in Lebanon during Israel’s first Lebanese War in 1982. Many of us served in the very same units and participated in the very same events that Yair Lapid claimed that he witnessed or participated in. Lapid has claimed that he served in battalion No. 195 of the 500th Armored Division in Lebanon. Much of what Lapid has claimed over the years is not only impossible but proves that he has no idea of how forward units operate other than what he himself read, wrote, or invented as a gifted reporter.

During the period of two years that I served as a divisional mental health field officer in the Beirut area and later in the Eastern front, I examined, assessed, and treated many soldiers suffering from PTSD and other emotional states that were common among soldiers in the front lines including psychosomatic reactions such as asthmatic attacks. This type of reaction is commonly referred to as the fight-or-flight response, also known as the acute stress response, and refers to the physiological reaction that occurs when in the presence of something mentally or physically terrifying. This response is triggered by the release of hormones that prepare your body to either stay or deal with a threat or to run away to safety. Lapid chose the latter, and ran away to the safety of a cushy position as a military correspondent in the heart of Tel-Aviv Yafo. Lapid didn’t run away from the front lines or the heat of battle but rather from the riggers and mundane regiment of basic training.

Lapid began his basic training at an Air Defense unit that was nowhere near Lebanon during the weeks of military training. Only soldiers with a medical profile of 65 and above were allowed to serve in combat areas, Lapid has claimed that his medical profile was lowered to 45 as a result of an asthma attack. Lapid has also claimed that he was present during an operational event that was known to many and widely reported because of its tragic ending and the involvement of Brigadier General Doron Reuven ז"ל who was promoted to head the 500th Armored Division only three days before the outbreak of the first Lebanon War. During the battle at Ein Zachlata, three officers in a jeep crossed inadvertently beyond enemy lines controlled by Commando Syrian forces. Two officers were killed immediately and the third officer was injured. General Doron Reuven ז"ל crossed enemy lines, under fire to retrieve their bodies and save the surviving officer. Yair Lapid has claimed that he was on that jeep and claims that he was saved by getting off the jeep to go eat lunch on the way. Lapid’s claim that he was involved in this heroic event is a disgrace to the honor and bravery of General Doron Reuven ז"ל and blessed memory of the officers killed in this tragic operational event.

The relevancy of this event and Yair Lapid’s alleged involvement tells us much about his psychological makeup when push comes to shove. Lapid’s actions over the past three months as alternative and caretaker Prime Minister have “flight” written all over them. The most recent example of his natural predisposition to run away rather than stand his ground can best be seen in the recent negotiations with the State of Lebanon concerning negotiations on the gas and oil fields in the Mediterranean Sea opposite the northern coast of Israel. Lapid was personally involved in negotiating and concluding a maritime agreement with Lebanon, an enemy state that has publicly claimed that the agreement will obligate Israel in perpetuity. According to a report by Caroline Glick : “The Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) agreement Israel concluded with Hezbollah-controlled Lebanon will fundamentally alter Israel’s maritime borders, deny the Jewish state tens of billions of dollars, which will go instead to a government controlled by Iran’s Lebanese foreign legion, Hezbollah, and transform Hezbollah and Iran into actors in the eastern Mediterranean.”

Leaders of nations have an obligation to stand up and preserve the national interests of the nation that they are leading. They must make every effort to put up a fight and not forfeit legitimate territorial claims and secure borders for the nation that they lead. Yair Lapid doesn’t have the psychological make-up for standing up and fight, but chooses instead to stand down as he did during his military service. Lapid’s surrender to Lebanon, a failed state in total chaos controlled by the Hezbollah terrorist organization wholeheartedly controlled by Iran is a testament to Lapid’s personal inclination to choose flight rather than fight, as he has done throughout his political career and during his military service.