Tuesday, September 02, 2003

The most calculating person in Israeli politics
also holds the record for the shortest tenure in
office. His fall, contrary to all planning, is
attributable to the mysterious Y2K Bug that was so
in fashion in 2000. But the bug has been
destroyed, and now, in preparation for launching
"Operation Start from Scratch," Ehud Barak is
closing out all his active files, one by one: his
wife Nava, the house in Kfar Shmaryahu, the police
investigation into the nonprofit organizations
that worked for his election in 1999, and the Or

From a typically snarky political analysis in Haaretz, regarding the possible (I think inevitable) return of Ehud Barak. It does have its interesting moments, however:

Barak, who has made himself hated by many of his
former supporters, will not be unbeatable in
his own party, but his strength is likely to
grow over time, and polls showing that Labor
has a chance to return to power under his
leadership will quickly buy him forgiveness.

I was unaware of such polls, although it doesn't surprise me. Barak is the only candidate with the personal prestige and charisma to bring Labor back from its current malaise. There is, quite simply, nobody else.

Barak has used his copious spare time since
losing to Sharon to take apart the history of
Israel's governments and put it back together
again. Rabin's role was to follow an old leader
(Golda, Yitzhak Shamir). Peres' role, in both
the 1970s and the 1990s, was to lose to Rabin
and then inherit from him a few years later.
Barak's role is to wrest leadership of the
Labor Party away from Peres and then defeat
Netanyahu in the race for prime minister. And
if one shares the widespread assumption that
Sharon's government is nearing its end, due to
the criminal investigations of him and his son,
and that he will be succeeded as Likud chairman
by Netanyahu - then the stage is set for
another Barak-Netanyahu race.

This is really interesting. I personally think this is wishful thinking on the part of the author (clearly a Sharon hating Leftist), no scandal is going to bring down Sharon, but age and infirmity will likely make this Sharon's final term, and a Barak Netanyahu rematch would make for fascinating poltics. I personally would be quite torn, I like Netanyahu a lot, but I think Barak is right about unilateral withdrawal coupled with a security fence. I don't think Netanyahu is politically capable of such a radical move. Clearly, the candidates are beginning to line up for the next election, which could prove to be one of the mostr significant in Israeli history.


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