Since our year was stormy but of meager vintage, we shall make do with small incidents - corruption at the top, a government that failed to provide security, a year of "fixers," economic recession, strikes, everyone's worries about the future, a year of refusal to serve in the military, signs of a civil war or civil revolt.
Even though the next elections are set for 2007, it is doubtful that the present coalition will last beyond next year. At a time of the total collapse of all the government systems and of values, when grandfathers and fathers are continuing to bury sons and grandsons, and terror is being called "the routine of terror attacks," 2004 is ripe for a turnaround. The year of the fall.
Sharon's speech was neither mountain nor molehill. It's not that he doesn't understand what's expected of him. Not that he doesn't see the trouble he caused by covering the West Bank with settlements designed to create an irreversible situation. His problem is that he is finding out that there are limits to his power.
As a person who promised peace and security, but hasn't brought it, as a person who promised painful concessions, but hasn't made any, as a person who shoved us down the hill, but won't accept responsibility for it - it doesn't matter what Sharon said last night and how nicely he said it. It's his actions that will talk.
The dramatic capture of Saddam Hussein may upstage Sharon's upcoming speech at the closing session of the Herzliya Conference two days from now, but it won't save the prime minister from having to deal with this country's problems.
Eyes were glued to the endlessly repeated scene and it was impossible to turn one's gaze from the pathetic image on the screen. Could this homeless man, who looked like a forlorn beggar at a Tel Aviv traffic light, who had his teeth examined and fingers combed through his disheveled hair checking for lice, really be Saddam Hussein?
At the moment, there is no minister - and that includes Mofaz, Shalom and Netanyahu - who has any idea whether the Sharon-Olmert proposal is a trick, a contingency plan, a scare tactic aimed at the PA or an experiment to see how far the settlers can be pushed.
The importance of Olmert's remarks lies in the fact that they are being uttered by a prince of the house of Jabotinsky, as a political preliminary to his future bid for leadership of the Likud.
Good morning, Ehud Olmert. You're finally at the age and point in your career when you are starting to understand what Ben-Gurion understood 54 years ago - that a small but democratic Israel is better than a big country where the Jews will be a minority and forced to lord over another people by dictatorship.
Sharon's policy of sitting on the fence, spouting mantras about having no one to talk to and refusing to talk while bullets fly, but doing zilch when they stop, is not the will of the people. In their hearts, Israelis want an accord and are ready to make concessions.