Mar 27, 2006 1:42 pm


Israelis are going to the polls on Tuesday. 22% remain undecided. Many will not vote. Sharon reorganized the Israeli political landscape for one more of his hail Mary passes. But an accidental player will have to throw the ball.

I worry. Not a single one of the three leading candidates, Olmert, Peretz or Netanyahu has succeeded in capturing the voter's imagination. Zippi Livni seems to be an emerging as a new Golda Meir. The entire exercise reminds me of the 1965 elections which kept Levi Eshkol in power not because he was the establishment candidate. Similarly, Israelis are voting for Kadima because all the major political figures coalesced there.

Who knows? Accidental leaders work out some times. I do not trust Olmert but he is not stupid. Moreover, he will lead a coalition. It is the Israeli version of checks and balances. Somehow, these elections I draw comfort from this fact and pray for the best.

Worth reading: Stupor in Our Time.

As I have noted, these elections are reminiscent of the one in which another accidental PM, Levi Eshkol, was reelected in 1965. Last night I heard on the BBC a Palestinian remark that Israel is bereft of leaders. Let me note that it was the belief in Eshkol's weakness that led Nasser to challenge Israel in 1967. The results were disastrous for him.

Hence, then as now, Israel desperately wanted peace. Now as then, her wish should not be seen as an exploitable sign of weakness.

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