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Is Ariel Sharon the inheritor of Rabin? Is truth stranger than fiction?


In 1995, the most fertile imagination could not have conjured up the vision (or nightmare) of a large segment of the Israel Labor party seeking to enthrone Ariel Sharon as their leader, inheritor of the mantle of David Ben-Gurion and Yitzhak Rabin.

Sharon is not just any man. Ariel Sharon is Sharon of the Qibieh massacre, Sharon of the Sabra and Shatila Massacre, Sharon who belittled the reported threats to Rabin's life not long before he was murdered, Sharon of the mad adventure, the Lebanese War that was called "The War of Peace for the Galilee" in the best 1984 tradition. This is the same Ariel Sharon who is under a cloud of suspicion for shady campaign finances and huge bribes. The same Sharon who supports Feed the Rich and Rob the Poor economics.

Yet there in Ha'aretz is the headline for all to see - Majority of Labor members want Likud's Sharon as PM

To be sure, it isn't quite so. Ha'aretz has difficulties with English it seems. "Only" 39% of Labor party members said they prefer Sharon to lead the party over Peres, while 43% prefer Peres. That's not a majority for Sharon. I kid you not. Here is the quote:

The poll, conducted at the beginning of the week revealed that a large majority of Labor Party members want Sharon to head their party list in the next elections. Sharon enjoys in the poll the suppport of 39 percent who would like him to be the next prime minister, while Labor chairman Shimon Peres inches ahead with a meagre 43 percent of poll participants who think he should be the next prime minister.

Perhaps only in Ha'aretz could 39% be "a large majority."

The Hebrew version of the article confirms the 39% figure without calling it a majority, but adds that 46% favor joining a new Knesset list to be headed by Sharon, while only 44% are opposed.

Still, if not a "large majority," at least a signficant minority of the Labor party would have themselves led by Sharon.

These dismal results can be interpreted in many ways. They could be a desperate desire to stop the extreme right and to regain power at any price. They reflect the malaise due to lack of leadership and infighting in the Labor party and they reflect a total loss of faith in the ideals of the Labor party.

The poll results remind us that the Israeli political scene is in tremendous flux, influenced first by the Intifada and the implosion of the Labor party, and now by the disengagement and the probably implosion of the Likud.

Sharon has become immensely popular because of the disengagement from Gaza. It may be that many in the Labor Party have the mistaken impression that ending the occupation should be the entire program of the Israeli left, and that Sharon is the only one who can do it, since he was able to leave Gaza. Either that, or there are many who understand quite well that Sharon has no intention of ending the occupation of the West Bank if he can help it, and they support Sharon because they have despaired of peace.

Another recent article in Ha'aretz reminded us that study of the Old Testament is not as popular as it was in the days of the early Labor Zionist pioneers, who looked to the Bible as the basis of a revived secular Hebrew culture. In particular, those members of the Labor party who want to enthrone Sharon as their leader should perhaps study the book of Judges, Chapter 9, the parable of Jotham, which was meant for people who are so desperate for a leader that they will choose anyone who is willing to take the job:

9:8 The trees went forth on a time to anoint a king over them; and they said unto the olive tree, Reign thou over us.

9:9 But the olive tree said unto them, Should I leave my fatness, wherewith by me they honor God and man, and go to be promoted over the trees?

9:10 And the trees said to the fig tree, Come thou, and reign over us.

9:11 But the fig tree said unto them, Should I forsake my sweetness, and my good fruit, and go to be promoted over the trees?

9:12 Then said the trees unto the vine, Come thou, and reign over us.

9:13 And the vine said unto them, Should I leave my wine, which cheereth God and man, and go to be promoted over the trees?

9:14 Then said all the trees unto the bramble, Come thou, and reign over us.

9:15 And the bramble said unto the trees, If in truth ye anoint me king over you, then come and put your trust in my shadow: and if not, let fire come out of the bramble, and devour the cedars of Lebanon.

It would not be first time that fire from Sharon devoured the cedars of Lebanon.

Ami Isseroff

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Original text copyright by the author and MidEastWeb for Coexistence, RA. Posted at MidEastWeb Middle East Web Log at http://www.mideastweb.org/log/archives/00000391.htm where your intelligent and constructive comments are welcome. Distributed by MEW Newslist. Subscribe by e-mail to mew-subscribe@yahoogroups.com. Please forward by email with this notice and link to and cite this article. Other uses by permission.

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