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Dec 29, 2005

The fascination with Kadima

Why is Ariel Sharon's new political party "Kadima" so wildly successful in the polls?
We have all seen the polls that show that most people believe Sharon is corrupt and a liar. He faced tremendous opposition to the disengagement (he was successful in it, but so many people were against him). Yet greater and greater percentages of people seem to be flocking to his leadership. Why? What is it about him that is so attractive and allows people to ignore the moral and ethical issues? Why do people say they will vote for Kadima when all along they have been against Ariel Sharon's policies (and let's get it straight - he is the one setting policy in Kadima. Not Tzipi Livni or Ehud olmert or anybody else who jumped on Sharon's popularity bandwagon)?

After speaking to many people I have come to the conclusion that Israel is plagued by a lack of real leaders. You never know what Netanyahu will believe next. He talks right wing but then goes and signs away Hebron. He cannot withstand too much pressure (e.g. he backed off many threats when his bluff was called). He is not looked upon as someone who can make tough decisions and lead the country properly.
Obviously nobody likes Shimon Peres enough to vote for him, as he loses every election he joins.
Peretz is an inexperienced politician and Labor is quickly losing the popularity boost they enjoyed after his election.
In short, there is a shortage of leaders. Ariel Sharon remains, like it or not, in an exclusive group of people who are tough enough to be considered real leaders. David Ben Gurion was of that caliber. Menachem Begin was of that caliber. Golda Meier was of that caliber. Maybe even Yitzchak Shamir. Ariel Sharon is the only modern day leader who is a member of that group. These are people who gave everything they had. Ariel Sharon gives everything he's got to running the country.
In the 80's and 90's he was a pariah in everybody's eyes after the Lebanon War. The courts decided he was unfit to be Minister of Defense. Most people would have ended their careers right then and resigned. Sharon did not give up. He kept plugging away working for the success of the State. If you read history books of the wars Israel has fought in, Sharon was a brilliant leader and was the soldier most responsible for Israel's victories in the various wars. This despite the fact that his commanders always criticized him because he did what he felt was right and necessary and did not necessarily get approval. He, at times, avoided the chain of command because he had to do what he knew to be right.
This is what Sharon has done politically as well. He does what he believes is right and does not give a second thought to what other people think. He finds ways to push his agenda through. Even though many often do not agree with his agenda, they still follow him. Because he is a leader. The rest of the intrigue surrounding him does not matter.
It is time for a change. If only there were another leader capable of exciting and leading the people..

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