Good Day Everybody,
Well… today there is a real sense of uncertainty here in Israel regarding the political horizon.
This comes as Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni has won, by a very narrow margin, the leadership of the ruling Kadima party away from her opponent, Transportation Minister Shaul Mofaz.
Why the media and the public feel uneasy is because Mr. Mofaz was always projected as the 'leader' who knows security. This is because he has been a career soldier and was Chief of Staff and Defense Minister at one time. Indeed his tough talk on issues of Hezbollah and particularly Iran have been on the lips of many folks here in the run up to the Kadima vote.
Tzipi Livni won her position because she is viewed by the public as not corrupt and as a fresh face to leadership – but also as one who is 'in the know' as she has been Israel's lead negotiator with the Palestinians in the strive for peace and also Israel's face internationally in diplomacy.
So why all the anxiety this morning?
Last night, after his defeat, Mr. Mofaz decided he would be “taking a break” from politics for a while. This can be seen as a direct affront to Livni, and a signal that she – and even perhaps the Kadima party will fall apart before or shortly after a new government is formed by her.
Is there a plan perhaps behind closed doors?
Some here in Israel are really intrigued by the seemingly cryptic words of Mr. Olmert when he cast his vote for the party leadership just two days ago. He said; We'll see you soon.
There were signs that Olmert and Mofaz were 'covertly cooperating' to remove obstacles to their political ideas in Mr. Olmerts tenure as Prime Minister. Perhaps if, and this is perceived as a very very long shot, Mr. Olmert is cleared of his corruption charges that he could return to politics and Mofaz would stand along side him.
But the other idea is more real – and to many here both in Israel and in the Middle East, a far more dangerous mix, is a Netanyahu Mofaz alliance. Mofaz who is of Middle Eastern origin, would bring Netanyahu a solid block of Mizrahi voters – something he would need to secure the Premiership.
If Mofaz helps to torpedo Kadima, what I am hearing is that it is a sure bet the two ultra-nationalists will be sitting side by side in the next new Israel Government.
Have a good weekend,