End of the Primary Season

The Kadima primary that ended early yesterday morning was pushed to the tail end of all of yesterday's news broadcasts ¬ after Gaza, after Tuesday's fatal bus crash, after the gruesome decapitation in Petah Tikva earlier this week, and after a few other things.

With the poll now behind us, we can make a few conclusions ¬ that only the Likud succeeded in raising interest, in rejuvenating itself and lighting a flame, even if since the primary its list has changed several times a day and its legal department been occupied around the clock.

Still, Benjamin Netanyahu returned Benny Begin, Dan Meridor and Moshe Ya'alon to the fold and pushed Moshe Feiglin to the back. Primary voters launched a generational revolution, sending three candidates around the age of 40 to the top of the list - Gideon Sa'ar, Gilad Erdan and Moshe Kahlon.

For its part, Labor put together a respectable list, pushing young candidates to the top as well - Isaac Herzog and Shelly Yachimovich come to mind. But its roster adds little zest to the bland campaign run thus far by party chair Ehud Barak.

The ministers of Kadima (apart from Haim Ramon, who was too lazy to wage a campaign) acquitted themselves well, and a number of women were added, too.

Still, it is an uninspired, stale and even somewhat aging slate, a kind of Likud B-side - indeed, many of its members are former Likudniks who jumped ship.

The inspiring new faces can be counted off easily - Nahman Shai and Ze'ev Bielski are two - and Knesset Speaker Dalia Itzik is one of the few reminders of Labor's contribution to the "big bang" that was Kadima's 2005 birth. Ramon is another such example, but it is doubtful his political career has a long future.

It is no wonder the Kadima primary did not raise great interest, despite it being a ruling party which will likely remain as such even after the general election. Most of the conflicts were internal, like the rivalry between Tzipi Livni and Shaul Mofaz.

Who after today will remember party rankings except for those who actually ran? No one. The roster is of almost non-existent significance to the real race: that between Netanyahu, Livni and Barak.

That race, in effect, begins only today.