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.