As Olmert is plunging into the claws of another corruption investigation, talk is spreading as to who’s gonna replace him when the time comes. And my friends, the time is approaching.
Today we were announced that Dalia Itizk is considered among “Kadima” party officials as an acceptable replacement for Mr. Olmert if the latter is forced to resign. From the other side of the political fence, former PM Benyamin Netanyahu is sharpening his sword in preparation for a general election, and yet another former PM — and current Defense Secretary — Ehud Barak, remains as opaque as ever.
Who will be the next Prime Minister of Israel? Whomever it may be, he or she will have to lead the country through the imminent face-off with Iran’s nuclear ambitions. Whether this threat is resolved via diplomatic means or via a military operation, the matter is likely to reach its climax during the next PM’s term. Moreover, Olmert’s replacement will be given the reins of a preliminary peace process with Syria, one that has the potential of tearing the country apart, socially and literally. There is also a much-due peace process with the Palestinians that everyone is so weary of, and of course the ever-present frustration of Israeli Arabs and Druze. Economically, the next PM will face increasing social gaps, and the privatization of the last remains of the Welfare State that Israel once was.
Personally, I can’t imagine why anyone would want such a grueling position. The perks are nice, but there ain’t much sleep, and most Israeli PMs left office with the loud cry of “boo” shouts behind their backs.
As for the voters, Israelis have become cynical and distrustful of new players in the political game who promise “change”. Most would rather stick with the same old characters who disappointed them in the past. Well, Itzhak Rabin left office for the first time with his head low in the ground, escaping corruption allegations, and several decades later came back for a glorious second term. Maybe Netanyahu or Barak learned their lessons, they wouldn’t have to repeat the same rookie mistakes, and go straight for business.
Picture by the Israeli Post