By defecting to Kadima, Shaul Mofaz did the Likud a favor. Now, they'll be the good guys, and if Sharon nominates Mofaz to be Defense Minister, he will be the object of scorn.
Even in markets such as Jerusalem's Mahane Yehuda, where Likud candidates traditionally go to shake hands and measure their popularity, they won't like Sharon if he nominates Mofaz to be defense minister.
A man who just yesterday called Sharon a left-winger has suddenly discovered that the Likud is right-wing.
I am not the only person who, for the first time in his life, will not be voting for the Meretz or Labor parties; who loved hearing Sharon stand up at David Ben-Gurion's grave and talk about a vision I can live with.
But I won't vote for a party that includes the likes of Shaul Mofaz as one of its candidates. Yesterday he was running against Sharon for pulling Israel out of the land of the Philistines. The next day he supported the pullout and went with disengagement opponents.
Then he realized his chances to win the Likud leadership were slim – and he suddenly realized the Likud was right-wing. Come on.
Comparison to Hanegbi
True, Tzachi Hanegbi did the same thing. He was once young and radical. He beat Arabs with bicycle chains. He fought against peace with Egypt.
But he grew up, and of late he has learned to act with moderation.
Despite the sword of indictment hanging over his head, Tzachi Hanegbi is a man of personal integrity. He has been attacked for nepotism, when that has been the name of the game since the country was founded.
Did his father receive lands from Abu Kishk, now known as Ramat Hasharon? Did he receive houses in Jaffa, Ramla, Lod, Haifa, the Galilee, "Area 9" upon which the development town of Ma'alot is built, Acco, or Jamousin, now home to an exclusive neighborhood? No.
His parents were left outside the fence. Therefore, as long as the generation that lived through that success, and was built by that war is still around, we can understand Hanegbi despite his distasteful actions, if he really did them.
I don't like nepotism, but as someone who never benefited from it, I understand.
Not so with Mofaz. To me, from the time he became defense minister we became one of the worst armies. With no fear of retribution or rebuke, soldiers could insult the elderly and the sick, allow women to miscarry at the checkpoints, play games with the children that came to the checkpoints to sell things with the hope of silencing their hunger, to destroy their little baby carriages.
Mofaz did nothing to punish soldiers for sticking teenagers' and old men's heads into running sewage, or for shooting innocent people at checkpoints. By his silence, Mofaz indicated such incidents were permissible.
He has allowed the right-wingers that now frighten him to cut down hundreds of olive trees, to act with incredibly cruelty towards the weak and sick.
Yes, we are at war and must act to protect checkpoints, and the Arabs aren't too fond of us. But why must we be abusive?
I suggest members of the Likud wizen up. Mofaz has thrown you a rope that will help reduce a bit of the embarrassment. I can't remember any defense minister who snuck in through the proverbial window. Maybe my senses aren't so hot anymore, but I've still got a sense of smell; a memory for a lifetime in Israel and memories of my friends in the Harel Brigade.
No, this is unique.
At the time, they disparagingly called people like me "half – tent city," referring to the tent cities in which new immigrants were housed in the 1950s.
But Sharon must understand that this "half-tent city" built this country. We are the shopkeepers who finance it.
George Bernard Shaw once asked an honorable woman if she would accept 10,000 English pounds to go to bed with him. "Yes," she said.
"What about one lira," he asked.
The lady was horrified. "Just what do you think I am," she said?
"We both know what you are," he replied. "Now we're just arguing about the price."
Author Yoram Kaniuk is a regular contributor to Israel’s leading newspaper Yedioth Ahronoth