It appears that Israel’s President is in trouble. I must admit that I haven’t been following the story closely – not because it isn’t interesting and important (although, in a very real sense, it isn’t), but because, frankly, I’m sick and tired of hearing about other guys whose love lives are more exciting than my own. (I’ll leave it open to debate whether President Katzav’s alleged escapades constitute a “love life” in the more enlightened sense of the phrase.)
So while our President remains innocent until proven guilty, potential replacements are lining up to announce (or at least quietly to leak) their availability for the job should a vacancy occur.
All of which leads me to the following gem, from this article in today’s Jerusalem Post:
Vice Premier Shimon Peres, who lost to Katsav six years ago, is only willing to run if no serious candidate would run against him. It is possible that [Prime Minister Ehud] Olmert could end up urging Peres to run if he fears that [Likud MK and former Knesset Speaker Reuven] Rivlin could win.
All of this might seem rational enough, had I the answers to two closely-related questions:
- How could anyone run against Shimon Peres for national office and not be considered “a serious candidate”? It would seem to me that opposing Shimon Peres in an election is perhaps the most reliable recipe for Instant Seriousness in Israeli politics.
- How could Ehud Olmert – who has been accused of many nasty things, but seldom of political ineptitude – view a Peres candidacy as a way of preventing a competing candidate from winning the Presidential election?
I invite you – nay, I beg you, dear readers – to enlighten me. I’m stumped.