A party without a leader seeks a leader without a party. This is the current political reality, and there is only one correct answer: Labor, a party without a leader, will merge with Sharon, a leader without a party. This is the best proposal in the depressing political reality.
According to a survey published in Maariv on Thursday, this is also the most advantageous. No less that 54 percent of those surveyed preferred a new party that would unite Labor, Sharon and Shinui. This party would not ensure a truly new future, but it is the best of the current possibilities.
Labor today is nothing less than a skeletal structure: a system of rotten branches, remnants of renown from the distant past, and a feeble and defeated leadership. Sharon is today a leader with one proven success. Shinui would bring additional voters. It's so simple. In the business world, this would happen rapidly: the takeover of a skeletal corporation by a talented man, transforming it into a profitable company. In the political world, there are unnecessary inhibitions.
One such inhibition, ostensibly the main one, can be easily removed - the ideological inhibition. Ideology? The Labor Party now flies only a single banner, which in fiendish irony Sharon also brandishes: the flag of disengagement. Labor's leaders are proud of themselves now because the disengagement would not have been implemented had they not joined the government. None of them explain why they did not implement it earlier, during their own time in power. Therefore, the tattered flag is meaningless. For example, even when its members occasionally say the correct things about peace, they do not dare to put them into practice.
Shimon Peres was prime minister twice, foreign minister and defense minister, and never uprooted even a single plant from a garden of one of the settlements - some of which, including the first and formative ones, he bears responsibility for establishing. Why didn't he lead a withdrawal from Gaza, a step that is so praised today? Because he was afraid. The withdrawal from Gaza was possible and should have been done long ago, but this only happened under Sharon's leadership. Therefore, the merger of Sharon and Labor is liable to be the correct combination.
This merger is liable to bode well for Peres. The accomplishments considered to be the greatest in his political biography always occurred when he was No. 2, and only when he was No. 2 to David Ben-Gurion and Yitzhak Rabin. He always flourished in the shadow of another leader. Thus, joining ranks with Sharon is liable perhaps to also ensure him success.
Sharon's biographical background certainly should not be an obstacle for him. The farmer and general who grew up on an agricultural cooperative linked to the Labor movement will feel more comfortable in Labor than among the last of the Jabotinskyists and the first of the Feiglinites in his party. Sharon has nothing left to look for in the Likud, and the Labor Party has had enough of floundering and perishing without bold leadership, which it apparently lacks.
Such a party of the majority, led by Sharon, could ensure that another few steps are taken. Perhaps they would only be modest ones, like the disengagement, but nonetheless in the right direction. If Sharon defies the predications of the pundits and does not "turn to the right," he will discover that his path to support at home and abroad, as well to the history books, is open. Completely contrary to the predictions, after the disengagement, this path is more open than before.
With the settler camp in shambles, as it deserves to be; with the Yesha leadership exposed as a paper tiger; with a frighteningly apathetic majority; and with the most moderate Palestinian leadership ever - it is now possible to already run forward. To do this, courage and a majority are needed. Perhaps Sharon will supply the courage, while Labor and Shinui will provide the majority. Is there a better deal than this?
But the thought that the merger of Sharon and Labor is the only political promise on the horizon is depressing. These are two political players who have caused a thousand times more harm than good to the cause of peace. They are the champions of the occupation. They played a crucial role in establishing and strengthening the criminal settlement enterprise, in the cruelty of the occupation and in allowing it to continue for so many years. But what is the realistic alternative? A Likud government led by Benjamin Netanyahu? Another failure by a Peres-led Labor Party?
A real big bang will not happen here. The fact that the commentators chose such a dramatic term to describe a change that is entirely administrative is mainly evidence of the low expectations. A real big bang would only occur here if a party arises that offers a completely different path to the one Israel has followed until now. But in the current reality, these are idle dreams. Therefore, we should forget about the big bang and settle for a "little" bang: Sharon assumes the leadership of the Labor Party in order to carry out another step or two until there is a change in consciousness and a truly bold leader is born who will generate the big bang.
Labor Party Chairman Ariel Sharon? It's not so nice, but perhaps also not so terrible compared to the alternative.
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