First, full disclosure: One of my many sins was to vote Kadima in the previous elections, and I also backed the disengagement plan – two sins I greatly regret. It won't happen again. At least I objected to the Second Lebanon War while everyone else backed it.
But that's a small comfort. Never again will I back unilateral withdrawals (but I'm willing to talk about withdrawals based on agreements.) I will most certainly not vote for Kadima again, a party devoid of any substance, even if it is led by the Messiah himself.
However, as a former voter and Israeli citizen at present, I feel I have the right to turn to you ahead of the fateful primaries that are just around the corner. I ask one thing of you: Weigh your vote carefully. Nothing changes the bitter fact: Tens of thousands of you may decide for all of us who the prime minister will be for the next two years, and possibly longer.
Of course, I hope that general elections will come much before that, but reality has already taught us that there's nothing more permanent than transition governments, and no prime minister is more stable than an interim PM.
Dear Kadima members, let's not beat around the bush. In the name of everything that matters in this country I ask you not to vote for Tzipi Livni. Don't take this risk. Don't make us, at such sensitive junction, put up with such inexperienced leadership. Livni is still not ready to be a prime minister. She hasn't proven herself yet.
Perhaps it will happen in the future. Perhaps her glorious day will come. But it's too early to gamble on her now. As foreign minister she did not fail, because one cannot fail in that post, but she did not do anything prominent either. To this day, Livni has not shown a trace of leadership.
Indeed, she is not corrupt, but when did this become such a huge factor? Since when can someone become prime minister just because he or she is not corrupt?
Dear Kadima members, when faced with the choice between Livni and Mofaz, the latter is the one who is worthier, more level-headed, more experience, and the person who would make Israelis feel safer.
Too early for Livni
Mofaz is not a great speaker, he's not particularly amusing, and he does not create the sort of verbal impression of other Kadima figures. However, there is something moral and precise about him. He is very level-headed, as if he belongs to a different era of leaders. He is less about the media, doesn't know that much about spins, he's modest, and very to-the-point. I can't remember him ever yelling or uttering silly words.
Just like Ariel Sharon, Mofaz prefers to be silent when he has nothing important to say. And no, in my view at least threatening Iran is not a brash move. It's the right thing to do.
Before the disengagement I met with Mofaz, who was defense minister at the time. I sat down with him and another friend and explained to them that the pullout plan shall fail. What do you mean? They asked. And I explained: It is impossible to evacuate so many settlers. It simply won't happen. The army is unable to clear one outpost, what makes you think it can evacuate a whole settlement bloc? You have no idea what you're getting yourselves into, I said.
Mofaz listened, wrote some things in his notebook, and smiled. The army will carry out its mission, he said quietly. There's no question about that.
I don't need to tell you that this is what ended up happening. Thanks to Mofaz's conduct as defense minister, and of course thanks to the restraint shown by settlers, this mission was completed without disastrous results. Disengagement was a mistake, but at least it did not feature the sort of bloodshed that would have changed our lives.
Dear Kadima members, if the fate of this country means something to you, rather than the fate of your party or the number of Knesset seats it shall win in the next elections, please refrain from dragging all of us into the Livni adventure. Let her be groomed to the post of prime minister. Let her serve as a senior minister for one or two terms. Let her assume more senior roles, such as finance or defense minister. It's still too early for her to be our PM.
Our fate is in your hands, dear Kadima members. Ridiculously enough, you will be the ones to decide who Israel's next prime minister will be – possibly for a short time, but maybe for many years to come. This is an important decision. It's an important moment in your lives.
You should look in the mirror and ask yourselves: Who is the right and stable and worthy person among the candidates to lead Israel and direct it in the face of severe external threats? If you dig deep enough, and if you ignore for a moment transient feelings and moods, you too will reach the same conclusion: Shaul Mofaz.