This is hardly a political or current events themed blog, but when something truly significant occurs, such as the prime minister of Israel suddenly losing consciousness just as his new political party begins to form, I feel that I should say something. At the same time, these are often the moments when I feel that I have little of value to contribute. Like many Jews, I am praying for Sharon's recovery, but there is little to say about that. And of course, the real issue is not whether Sharon is wiggling his toes but what will happen to Israel in the wake of his exit from politics.
I've often said that if there is any proof that God protects the people of Israel, it lies in the fact that the state of Israel hasn't imploded. Its political system is so hopelessly complex that even the most astute political junkies can't seem to make head or tail of what is going on there most of the time. That said, it seems fairly clear at this point that Kadima will survive without Sharon and even win a plurality of seats in the Knesset.
Is this good news? Much of Kadima's appeal seems to lie in its relatively non-ideological stance. After years of brutal terrorist attacks, leftists who speak of Israeli-Arab harmony, messianists who speak of Greater Israel, and Sharanskiniks who speak of a democratic Palestine all begin to seem like crazy dreamers. Many Israelis would rather support a policy that promises to minimize Israeli casualities to the greatest extent possible as soon as possible, by whatever means seem most practical here and now.
As someone with relatives in Israel, I am generally inclined to support this approach. Still, there is always the nagging concern that Sharon's policy of fence building and unilateral withdrawals may prove hopelessly short sighted. And then, there is always the possibility that Kadima will surprise its supporters, just as Sharon surpised his by withdrawing from Gaza, and who knows what that might mean.
I pray for Sharon and I pray for Israel, but I cannot pray for Kadima. What will be will be.