Tuesday, May 01, 2007
In some cultures, people assume responsibility even for the mistakes of their most distant subordinates, not to mention their own errors. In Israel today, even single-digit approval ratings, imminent criminal proceedings, and a scathing report by an independent commission are apparently insufficient. Or maybe not.
It appears as if the show might be winding down at least for Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and Minister of Defense Amir Peretz. Both of these men seem to have had an interminable supply of tricks up their sleeves until now. One should not count them out yet. Olmert went on a counter-offensive against his Kadima rival, Foreign Minister Tsipi Livni, on Tuesday. Peretz claimed that the Winograd report had actually demonstrated his merit. But the photographs of Olmert that appeared in the media earlier on Tuesday, in the morning after the release of the Winograd Committee's interim report, showed a man who looked utterly demoralized, and very tired.
In January of this year, I told the Head Heeb that I did not believe that Olmert's resignation was imminent then; I also disagreed with his prediction of a "palace coup" (my description) from inside his party. I am not sure who turned out to be right.
One of the scenarios outlined by Jonathan involved Olmert resigning and being replaced by Tsipi Livni, without new elections having to be called. However, according to some reports the Foreign Minister is apparently getting ready to tender her resignation; others indicate that she will merely demand that Olmert step down.
If Livni, who seems to have been one of the few members of the government who received favorable mention in the Winograd report, leaves, she will probably be followed by a number of other Kadima MKs.
There is no point in making further predictions, as news reports are pouring in.
It might be worth looking at the list of MKs (English version) and ministers to determine how the numbers stack up between those who would be interested in new elections and those who would prefer the status quo. For reference on various scenarios, such as the resignation of the Prime Minister, and the formation of a new government, consult the Basic Law on the Government (Hebrew).