As all of us are familiar with Dr. Beilin and know that the diplomatic front is his main area of interest, we can conclude that his no-confidence motion was merely a ceremonial ritual required by his presence in the opposition, yet overall he's quite satisfied with the situation and with the government.
And indeed, what can we say? If we adopt a long-term perspective, Yossi Beilin is the most influential politician in Israel. This little geek with his round glasses, who heads a tiny opposition faction and who seemingly never did a thing aside from talking, created a situation whereby his delusional diplomatic plan, which until a few years ago was far from the margins of consensus, is now the government of Israel's official plan.
Not that many years have passed since Shimon Peres took the Knesset podium, and when Benny Begin called out at him that "this way you will bring about the establishment of a Palestinian state," Peres became enraged, slammed his fist on the podium, and yelled out three times: There will be no Palestinian state, there will be no Palestinian state, there will be no Palestinian state!
A year or two later, the slogan "Peres will divide Jerusalem" was the gravest insult, the inexcusable suspicion that toppled the Labor party government. Only a small bunch of Beilins said "yes indeed, we should establish a Palestinian state and divide Jerusalem."
Only a decade has passed, and look where we are now. Those who listened to Olmert's speech at the Knesset could have closed their eyes and imagine they are listening to Beilin.
Beilin's senior partner: Islamic Jihad
How did Beilin manage to post such amazing accomplishments? The answer is comprised of two parts. The first part is that Beilin and the Beilins didn't do it alone. They have a senior partner: Islamic Jihad. I'm not talking about the small group by that name, but rather, the broad phenomenon of murderous Palestinian terrorism.
When buses explode and Qassam rockets fly, and we have blood and fire on the streets, people are desperately looking for a solution and are willing to buy a cure from a witch doctor who they didn't treat seriously until yesterday.
Yet here also comes the second part of the answer to our riddle: Beilin spoke. He was there. He promised he has a cure. Talk is an important matter. We must not underestimate talkers or those who raise false hopes.
I'm not saying, heaven forbid, that Beilin and Meretz have deliberately become the Jihad's spokespeople, but in practice, in terms of the effect on Israeli public opinion, this was akin to cooperation between a mute and an amputee - An Arab movement that has hands that can cause damage, but no mouth to speak with, and a Jewish group that has a big mouth, but no hands.
Beilin's talk along with the deeds of suicide Islam created a joint powerful effect, which pushed public opinion and the political system far to the left, not out of hope, but rather, out of despair.