May 8, 2007

Ehoudini Olmert

After the stalemate in the sub-Litani war against Hezbollah and the failure to win the release of the IDF soldiers taken hostage, the Israelis blamed Ehud Olmert for the result. People rallied to demand his resignation, and a report sharply criticized both his decision to go to war and the manner in which he conducted it. No one expected his government to survive.


Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert has survived three no-confidence motions in parliament, in the latest backlash over his handling of the 2006 Lebanon war.

The Knesset voted against the motions with wide margins - with votes against totalling 60-62 compared to 26-28 for.

A majority of 61 of the 120 members in the Knesset is needed to force the government to resign.

Last week tens of thousands of Israelis rallied in Tel Aviv calling for Mr Olmert to resign.

This will shock Israelis and people around the world. Not only did Olmert survive three no-confidence votes, he managed to defeat them by wide margins. For a man whose approval ratings make George Bush look like Ronald Reagan, that's no mean feat.

Where does Olmert go from here? He obviously will survive, at least until the other shoe drops and the full Winograd report gets released this summer. It gives him a window of opportunity to make amends and to show progress on either war or peace. If he can show that he has learned from the missteps of last summer, he may survive even the second blow from Winograd.

Olmert has managed to pull a political escape that Houdini himself might admire. Most politicians only get one opportunity for that kind of trick, but none of them get two. Olmert had better show some results -- fast.


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Comments (5)

Posted by dougf [TypeKey Profile Page] | May 8, 2007 9:09 AM

These results are 'odd'. Only 90 of 121 members actually bothered to vote according to the figures quoted. Since these were confidence motions, the expectation is that EVERYONE not in the actual process of dying would have turned up to cast a vote.

I think this has more to do with the Byzantine nature of Israeli politics than it does with Olmert's grip on power. For their own reasons my guess is that many politicians voted to have him stay because they could see not tactical advantage to him being gone at the moment.

He is still a dead man walking , but the governor, for his own purposes, is merely postponing the final phone call .

Perhaps those with a knowledge of Israeli Politics could shed some real light on this situation as the BBC story was cluelessly superficial even for them. No analysis of the voting results was provided so we don't know who voted for what, or as importantly, who did not vote at all.

Posted by Chgolaw [TypeKey Profile Page] | May 8, 2007 12:30 PM

The results are not surprising if you know Israeli politics. While only three percent approval Olmert's performance, the major parties in his coalition -- Kadima and Labor -- know that new elections will result in a large loss of seats for them and that Likud (under Bibi Netanyahu) would become the major party and Netanyahu the PM. And, Israeli ministers are known for loving the perks of being a minster. So they would vote against any "no confidence" proposal which would result in a loss of their high position until the public becomes so fed up as to put a pox on all of them.

Posted by Ripper [TypeKey Profile Page] | May 8, 2007 12:51 PM

Wait until the Labour Party primary on May 28 when the moronic Amir Peretz loses his leadership. The Labour Party likely will pull out of the coalition forcing new elections. Olmerde is so arrogant and power hungry that they will have to use a crane and fork lift to get his ugly ass off of the Prime Ministers chair but he will eventually have to go. Let us not forget his corruption woes as well.

Posted by Ripper [TypeKey Profile Page] | May 8, 2007 12:55 PM

Wait until the Labour Party primary on May 28 when the moronic Amir Peretz loses his leadership. The Labour Party likely will pull out of the coalition forcing new elections. Olmerde is so arrogant and power hungry that they will have to use a crane and fork lift to get his ugly ass off of the Prime Ministers chair but he will eventually have to go. Let us not forget his corruption woes as well.

Posted by Carol_Herman [TypeKey Profile Page] | May 8, 2007 6:05 PM

Captain Ed, I bet you have a counting system on your blog, that tells you where you're seeing lots of traffic.

And, I'd bet 150,000 "clicks" isn't a big deal.

In Israel, where there are at least 6-million people, plus those that vote from afar. 150,000 is an old fashioned vaudeville act. While if you wanted to count numbers, you'd look at how many bags of potato chips sold that day!

Believe it or not, all businesses have inventory controls. So they know what's hot. What's moving. And, what's stinking up their shelves.

In Israel, Olmert made mistakes. The biggest one? He forgot to get in front of the crowds, to lead. He went weak. Because he didn't want the competition from the knife-throwers that came in the Kadima door, when they realized Likud was going down the toilet.

Let me tell you this. katsav is not a rapist. The Haim Ramon kiss was a product of extreme feminism; without common sense.

And, most Israelis know that their politicians are always vying to "get back on stage." Heck, it's worse than the Borscht Belt. You can get killed backstage! That's why comedians usually work alone.

But Olmert can't go far on "convergence," now. And, his real skills are in the arts of diplomatic-pants-dancing.

Lebanon, last summer, had a bigger disaster in-waiting. With James Baker asking Olmert for Assad's head. And, Assad stayed tucked inside syria. Refusing to fight.

Nasrallah's missiles killed more cows than anything. Which means? Let's say Israel went in; and really messed up Nasrallah. Who was hiding in the Iranian embassy. You think that would have made a great target?

Can you imagine the world's hue and cry if Israel actually went in "and did a job?" When the missiles thrown by Nasrallah were as useless as the Kassam crap the palistoolians use? You want a full fledged war over that?

Excuse me. Israel didn't need to go into the shit house.

And, Olmert showed he was willing to react against Nasrallah, within 32 seconds of the kidnappings of two injured soldiers, who are now DEAD.

The WINO "report?" Some day, to a lot of Jews, it will look like the Warren Commission Report. Which stands out as quite a piece of junk, getting the impremature of a worthless American Chief Justice. BIG DEAL.

One of the things to notice. At one time an Israeli government could fall, even if only a minority of the players were calling the prime minister out. I think it breaks down, for the Israelis, as "elections every two years."

But one thing you're not accounting for, is that ONE: There aren't 61 signatures to pull out of Olmert's government.

And, two. Bibi, and his Likud, are very angry that they lost the popular support they had held for 30 years. BAD MANAGEMENT. And, the foolishness that this "dictatorial nonsense" would take out Ariel Sharon.

I think Omert will "hold." I think Ehud Barak is a disaster, over at Labor. Where the party is dying, anyway. And, some of the WINO report has Shimon Peres knifing Olmert in the back. Again, not new to the Israelis!

Every day that passes brings us closer to January 20, 2009.

With the big ticket item still on the agenda being IF James Baker can swing the new $8-billion-dollar-military hardwar upgrade to the SAUDs.


And, so far? James Baker just has the papers in his pocket. He hasn't presented them, yet, to Congress. Where he needs their "halp" in getting this goody bag filled.

Too bad for Bush he brought back the worst elements from his dad's White House. Too bad for us that Condi is the idiotic dancer up there. Where she doesn't get black support at all. (She must be so envious of Obama. But there ya go. Party affiliations make a difference. But only to insiders.)

What will Olmert to with Livni?

Well, what did Abraham Lincoln do with Salmon Chase? WAITED YEARS! Suffering from one outrage, or another. And, not taking Chase's proferred resignation letters. Ta. Ta. Until late in 1863, or 1864. When the BEST opportunity came. And, that's when Lincoln pounced.

The best politicians sound like John F. Kennedy. You don't go for the cheap card of "revenge." When biding your time lets you pick the time. The place. And, the results.

Israel's not in trouble, yet. The Man Upstairs has a dance partner, ya know? And, he supplies one miracle after another. (Even though, true, Arik Sharon listened to his doctors, and stroked out.) Should teach you a lesson that doctors aren't God.

It pays to know the difference.

And, to know God has all the time in the world.