Ehud Olmert
Photo: Gil Yohanan

Who’s scared of Olmert?

Op-ed: Should former Prime Minister Olmert return to politics, the big loser would be PM Netanyahu

What does the acquittal of former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert have to do with the law on military service equality? Well, in politics, just like in nature, one thing is related to another.


And so, just like chaos theory, whereby a butterfly flapping its wings can cause a tornado, the wink in Olmert’s eye as the court decision was read may prompt Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to change his position on the equality law. This in turn would shatter the coalition and bring the elections forward. And there you have it, a tornado born as result of the former PM’s mood.


One must not underestimate the Olmert effect on the political establishment. Should he overcome the moral turpitude obstacle in the September verdict hearing, and should the charges in the Holyland affair (which seem much slighter than the ones he was acquitted of) be called off, Olmert will become a premiership candidate in the next elections already.


Anyone familiar with Olmert knows that he is determined to come back, and it’s clear that the public sympathy in the wake of his acquittal and his status among past and present Kadima voters will serve as an incentive for him.


Under such circumstances, the big loser from Olmert’s acquittal and return to politics would be Netanyahu. Olmert will bring back something that has not been there for a while now – an alternative.


Second thoughts

One does not need to be a genius to realize that Netanyahu’s public stature and his being the almost certain premiership candidate stems from the fact that there are no other worthy candidates, neither on the Left nor on the Right.


It would be an educated guess to assume that Olmert’s acquittal prompted Netanyahu to resort to second thoughts about whether he was right not to call early elections; whether the decision to call off elections in September – which would now give Olmert time to prepare – was a mistake.


This is what may have passed through Netanyahu’s mind Tuesday evening, before he spoke with Shaul Mofaz and Moshe Yaalon. After on Sunday the Likud faction fully adopted the Plesner model for haredi enlistment, and in the wake of excellent talks (as both sides attested to,) Netanyahu went back on previous understandings and in fact sabotaged the talks. Now, the submission of the new service equality law to the government Sunday is shrouded in doubt.



פרסום ראשון: 07.12.12, 20:07
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