There is something touching in the way almost all our prime ministers attempt to cling to power: While everyone is writing eulogies, they behave as if nothing is going on. The same happened to Prime Minister Ehud Olmert’s predecessors as well.
In Britain, for example, when a prime minister resigns or loses the elections, a moving truck arrives immediately and within an hour there is no trace of the outgoing PM’s term in office. Yet around here, the story goes on and on, and in fact doesn’t end.
Olmert will still be around, alive and kicking, and he will do everything to “settle the score” with those who brought about his political demise.
Yet Olmert in fact bid us farewell on July 12, 2006. On that day, still completely inexperienced, he decided to embark on the Second Lebanon War and lost the public’s faith in his sense of judgment and decision-making abilities.
The two years that have passed since then constituted a sort of extended “clinical political death,” with Olmert’s countless enemies continuously picking away at his flesh, his nerves, and his family’s trampled honor.
Closest to normalOlmert’s term in office, which lasted more than two years, will be the subject of future articles and books. Yet I can say one thing about him with complete certainty now: Of all the prime ministers this tortured country had to this day, Ehud Olmert was the closest to being a normal person, one of us, a man whose feet are firmly planted on the ground.
However, just like many people of his generation, Olmert discovered the “good life” and “good friends.” These did not cut his life short, heaven forbid, yet they certainly cut his term in office short.
And what now? With such a heavy cloud of investigations and suspicions against him, Olmert could not have remained in his senior post even one more day without announcing his resignation date. Now, it feels as though the political establishment has been relived; perhaps, all of the country’s citizens have been relieved.
There he is, packing up; here are his suitcases, ready for departure. The moving truck is already around the corner. It’s almost the end.