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Who doesn't want to be popular? And it's not very difficult to do. All you have to do is refrain from climbing the cliffs of controversy and stick to the valley of the popular mood. Topics that are too current are liable to make any average Joe turn quarrelsome, so we recommend that you prefer the vision thing.

There's nothing wrong with a vision of the future, as long as the future is assured. But that's not the case at the moment.

Good health and long life are the secret to a wonderful old age. The old-timers are no longer around, and all of history is in the palm of your hand; you can do whatever you like with it. Not only did you make history with your own two hands, you are history: Who will point out your flaws? Who is authorized to correct them? We'll always be grateful to you for your constant, consoling presence, and in times of trouble, we will draw strength from your fountain of youth.

All around the storm blows, and how good it is to see the person who is exalted among his people going everywhere, adapting his words to the moment and the need. How pleasant to hear him talking about his morning exercises and his diet, and about books - everything that holds body and soul together. He honors tycoons as well as ordinary people with his presence; both are part of the Jewish people. Where else is there anyone as simultaneously folksy and aristocratic as this man?

When a family sits on a sidewalk in Jerusalem and the prime minister ignores them, he is the one who opens the gate even as it is being locked, who promises that their son will soon be redeemed: We will not remain quiet. And when the new Israelis pitch tents all over the country, he invites them, too, in order to praise them: What a wonderful protest, without a hint of violence. That is the behavior of a sensitive man, who knows how to accurately assess the national mood.

Yes, he is careful not to hurt anyone's feelings in the course of his work; a person who was badly burned before he became popular is very careful. We notice that he has never said a word to the minister who has declared war on the world from Aswan to Tehran via Istanbul, nor has he ever expressed reservations about the behavior of the rabbis who reject the fundamentals of statehood, destroy the Israel Defense Forces, discriminate against Sephardi girls and prevent Ethiopian children from learning. He has never flung defiance in the teeth of the settlers, teeth they bare at anyone who stands in their way, and even bite with. Does he recall the kindness of their youth, his youth? Nor has he ever said anything about government corruption or the hedonism of the wealthy.

Why should he get involved in politics now? Why should he challenge people who are truly powerful and absorb their blows, which would bring him back into the eye of the storm? Who knows, maybe they would even demand his ouster. That's all he and his vision need, at his age.

What else will you ask of him, oh government? He even put aside his pride, when he stopped in the middle of the road en route to a meeting in Ramallah and turned back, based on an instruction from the GPS in his luxury car. And now he is willing to go to the United Nations as an emissary, to risk his life in Israel's wars: I come to bury my Oslo Accords, not to praise them, he will tell the General Assembly.

This week, the chairwoman of his last party spoke about the path that leads to Masada, which may fall again after all, and mentioned the sense of disaster now felt by many people, including me. When I heard her words, which radiated despair and loss, I thought to myself: What will the public's favorite say when the disaster occurs and his vision dies before its time? What will he tell his grandchildren and great-grandchildren when they ask, "Where were you when the world ended, Grandpa?"