Thursday, May 03, 2007

Judgment Day for Olmert?

Despite attempts by embattled Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert to remain in office, a mass rally scheduled for 8 p.m. Thursday night may decide the fate of the man who has been shouldered with much of the blame for Israel's failures in last summer's Lebanon II war. The event, at Kikar Rabin in Tel Aviv, is expected to be attended by more than 100,000, including a number of well known media and entertainment personalities as well as yet-to-be-named politicians. Seemingly hemmed in on all sides by a number of protest groups, including striking university students (pictured) Olmert's political future seems in jeopardy as a majority of the Israel public feel that he has failed in his position as head of government and should therefore resign his post.

It's not the first time that Israeli political leaders have resigned following wars and other trying events in which their leadership was questioned. David Ben Gurion resigned his prime minister's post at least twice; and both Golda Meir and Menacham Begin resigned after receiving public castigation following the Yom Kippur and Lebanon I war. In the case of Olmert, however, he refuses to leave his 'watch' despite the devastating findings of the recently released Winograd Report. The same also holds true for Defense Minister Amir Peretz, who also is trying to stay put despite an even higher "vote' on behalf of the Israeli public.

What remains to be seen is what will happen after the dust settles following tonight's rally, where such 'well-knowns' as Aviv Gefen, Gilad Sagev and Nimrod Lev. Interest groups such as the Movement for Quality Government, Organization of Northern Border Communities, as well as a large contingent of army reservists who found themselves thrown into the heat of battle with virtually no preparation, and little or no food and water. "We want the P.M. to know just how we feel concerning what happened to us in Labanon" one angry reservist was quoted as saying. It's questionable if any members of the Prime Minister's cabinet will make an appearance, but for sure, many of the opposition Knesset members may show up for this event which may draw as many as 200,000.

As for both Olmert and Amir Peretz, they will probably not like what they see and hear should they both watch the spectacle on T.V. Judging from Olmert's appearance at a ceremony to inaugurate the new National Police Commissioner, Dudi Cohen, Olmert's already tired and drawn face may become even more pathetic on the "morning after".
All the signs and banners telling both Olmert and Peretz to go home, will remain in the minds of many, especially the ones for whom the 'party' is being held.


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