Shimon Peres is an inexhaustible man, but the Israeli body politic (we'll put it this way to avoid pretensions of representing the "public") has tired of him.
He's got to understand that his defeat at the hands of Amir Peretz was not due to some organizational slip up, because he didn't make that one extra phone call to some party secretary, because he missed the wedding of some Arab village leader, or because some kibbutz in the north-eastern-central Galilee has been forgotten.
Rather, this is about a deep undercurrent that carries with it a change.
His failure is the issue, not a derivative: It is the difference between the haughty and the rebellious, between fatigued and hungry, between bored and excited, between a rising star and a dimming one. One need only look at the reasons why the Labor Party has shot up in the polls, one need only look at the energy Peretz has injected into the party's educated, younger members and into the development towns to shout loud and clear: Shimon! It's enough! Your time is up!
Peres may be unbreakable and unflappable, but we are made of different stuff: The pathetic sight of our family patriarch is almost too much to bear. We want him to step down before he really degrades himself.
Peres is the world's oldest media star, a man honored and given the red carpet treatment the world over, but at home he pleads for meaningless honors and the leftovers of power, for the chewed-up bones thrown by the local body politic to those lapping at their feet.
Walking a fine line
There is a fine line between disgrace and honor, and if Peres doesn't figure out where it is soon, we are going to lose our patience.
We currently tremble with respect for this man, who has contributed so much to our national security and done much to repair our international image. But this will turn to loathing soon.
Our admiration for his vitality and hard dedication will turn to a pure desire just to be rid of him, to crush him the way one crushes an annoying bee that has lost its way and made its way into our living room. It's enough, Shimon! Your time is up!
At the moment, the honorable old man is being used as a pawn by politicians from two opposing camps, and it doesn't look nice.
Time to retire
Sharon or his people are trying to lure him in order to attract other members of the Labor Party, while Amir Peretz only promised him he would be 120th on the party's Knesset list.
It's Peretz's way of saying, "You are an electoral burden for me, and I don't want you by my side."
It's enough, Shimon. Please spare us. Read books, think, drink coffee with writer Amos Oz, write your memoirs. Go to international conferences in beautiful places, give the occasional interview to renew our faith in our perverse actions and our great hope in hi-tech.
There's a lot for an intelligent, healthy senior statesman to do in his last years. But please. Have mercy on us, Shimon. It's enough. Your time has passed.