Ehud Olmert has announced his resignation as head of the Kadima party and as Prime Minister, effective as soon as Kadima chooses a new leader.
Shaul Mofaz is probably the front-runner in that contest, but I’ll be pulling for Tzipi Livni, mostly because I think Israel needs to continue to pursue a real disengagement, and therefore will have to be governed by a Kadima-led center-left coalition, and Livni is most in-line with such a policy, plus it wouldn’t hurt for Israel to be led by someone with some basic diplomatic skills. But Mofaz is probably the best leader for Kadima to have if they are going into a general election, since he’ll be able to defend the party’s right flank from Likud better than Livni could.
But Israeli politics is almost impossible for me to take the kind of interest in Israeli politics that I once did. Kadima is the largest party in the Knesset, and also the most centrist-oriented, and it has fewer than 1/4 of the total seats (29 out of 120). If an election were held tomorrow, it would shrink further, assuming it held together at all. Nobody thinks Labor would win if such elections were held; Labor has been shrinking continuously since the death of Rabin. Instead, the expectation is for an even more splintered Knesset, with Likud the largest party (but probably not any bigger than Kadima is now), to govern in partnership with the sectarian religious parties, the far-right, and whoever they can buy off to join the coalition, and led by Bibi “No One Left To Lie To” Netanyahu. Good friends of ours are in the process of moving back to the ‘States from Israel, where they lived for the past three years. When we’ve had a chance to catch up, I’ll let you know what they think.