Thursday, January 05, 2006

Israeli Politics for Dummies

As most Americans don’t follow politics in other countries very closely, and the political situation in Israel is even more chaotic than the Santos/McGarry campaign, I thought I’d explain it in terms Americans could understand. I’m speaking purely of the Parliamentary elections–I have no idea how Sharon’s stroke will impact the relations with Palestinians or the peace process.

Imagine if Dick Cheney was well known as a right winger as well as for his role in the first Gulf War, and won the GOP nomination in 2000. Then imagine if he took a rather undistinguished younger guy, such as George W. Bush, as his running mate, and they ran on a far right wing platform and won.

Now, what if, after 9/11, the Cheney-Bush Administration took advantage of the good will towards the United States, and decided it was time to start making more friends in the world and actually try to resolve some of the factors causing friction with the Arab world. Imagine if they moved towards the middle, upsetting many in the Republican Party. Next imagine if Bob Dole challenged Cheney for the 2004 nomination for varying from his old right wing beliefs and appeared like he might win.

In response, imagine if Cheney and Bush left the Republican Party and formed a third party, with moderates from both the Republican and Democratic Party joining, and this third party became favored to win in 2004. Then imagine if shortly before the election Cheney had a stroke, leaving a relatively unknown Vice President Bush in charge.

That is the situation Israel is now in, except I know little about acting Prime Minister Ehud Olmert. Hopefully, for the sake of Israel and the world, Omert is far more qualified to take over as Prime Minister than George Bush was to become President.


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