January 5, 2006
DOES GOEBBELS EDIT THE TIMES?:
Analysis: now Israel must find another strong leader - fast (Richard Beeston, 1/05/06, Times of London)
Ehud Olmert, the Deputy Prime Minister who defected with Mr Sharon from the Likud Party last year, has been appointed caretaker prime minister, a post he can occupy for 100 days. He is a political lightweight compared to Mr Sharon.
To win the party's support and make a convincing showing in the elections he will have to transform himself in the eyes of the Israeli public.
First he has to win the party's leadership race. He will be up against Tzipi Livni, the Justice Minister, General Shaul Mofaz, the Defence Minister, and possibly Shimon Peres, the former Labour Party leader, who joined Kadima late last year.
Then he will have to turn a one-man party, created by Mr Sharon, into a political movement that can take on the established parties like Likud and Labour. He has to achieve this all in two months, an impossible task.
Mr Sharon's removal is a gift for Benjamin Netanyahu, the Likud leader, whose party faced a humiliating defeat in the March 28 polls. As the most experienced of the Israeli leaders left in the field he can expect to see his fortunes improve, particularly if the Israeli public grows concerned about the violence and chaos among the Palestinians.
Israel needs a popular general who's killed Arabs -- preferably Palestinians -- in the past in order to have the credibility to give them a state now. There doesn't seem to be one available. If Mr. Olmert is seen as too weak to do the killing if necessary and Bibi continues to oppose statehood then the Israeli people have no good choices--the new Labor leader, Amir Peretz, being pretty much a post-Zionist.
All that said, the photo of Mr. Olmert that the Times chose to accompany this story is outrageous, making him appear a chimpanzee.Posted by Orrin Judd at January 5, 2006 8:23 AM