It’s more than a little strange to be visiting Israel right now, just as the American election is hitting what seems to be a peak of intensity. Oh well, so it goes. I’m here on a very brief trip, and will be flying home very late Tuesday night. When we take off there will be no hard news, and by the time I land in NY Wednesday morning presumably we’ll know all the results, and maybe even what they mean.
Here everyone seems to be talking about Barak, Ehud that is. The former Labor prime minister and current defense minister in the national unity government just announced that, contrary to an earlier promise, he is not going to leave the government now that the Winograd Commission has issued its final report on the Israel-Lebanon War of 2006. The government of Prime Minister Ehud Olmert is already probably the most unpopular in Israeli history (his approval ratings are in the single digits, making our President Bush look like a prince). One of the leaders of the left-wing Meretz party, Zahava Gal-On, had this to say about the politics of the moment in Israel.
“A reckless and irresponsible prime minister has a defense minister that has no credibility, shame or moral values, who instead of demonstrating leadership and demanding the removal of the failure Olmert, delivers a slap in the face to the soldiers, bereaved families, and citizens who have lost their faith in democracy. Olmert and Barak have driven the political system to a new low.”
Quite a different tone than the one we’re getting from Barack Obama, yes?