Acting prime minister Ehud Olmert is now leading Israel’s cabinet meetings, thrust into a potential pit of intrigue as he faces men who might challenge him for the leadership of Ariel Sharon’s Kadima party.
It remains to be seen if Kadima is not just a one man show, and that without Ariel Sharon unity will disappear, but after the stroke the polls still insistthat it could win over 40 seats in the March elections, the double of Labour and Likud. Defence minister Shaul Mofaz maintained business as usual with the weekly security meeting with the Palestinians on Thursday; “I want to tell the Israeli people that even during these times which are hard for all of us, it is important to continue to act sensibly and with responsibility. The defence network remains alert and the latest security developments are followed daily”, he said after the meeting. It seems the goverment’s coalition members will steer a steady ship, but until March party politics will rage around them, even as some ministers are in the heart of the election storm. Politics as usual as most politicians seem to say, along with denials of there being any sort of political vacuum because of Sharon’s hospitalisation. Kadima itself continues to attract defectors from established parties along with support in the polls.