In an excellent column for the New York Sun, Hillel Halkin considers the fallout from Ariel Sharon’s incapacitation: “Situation serious.” Halkin writes:
As of this moment, Israel is in a state of political uncertainty such as it has never known in its 58-year-old history.
A country on which a new mood of confidence had settled following the breaking of the Palestinian intifada and the successful Gaza disengagement, both accomplishments for which Ariel Sharon deserved full credit, is now a confused and worried one.
Mr. Sharon will go down as one of the best prime ministers in Israel’s history, one who won a war against terror that was deemed unwinnable and restored a sense of direction to a people that had lost it. Yet if, as has often been said, one mark of a great leader is his making sure that he has a successor, or that there is at least a clear procedure for choosing one, Mr. Sharon fell short of greatness. In impetuously leaving the Likud to found Kadima, it never occurred to him that, at the age of 77, he would not be around for at least a few more years. It should have, though. That’s not the kind of oversight that a meticulous planner like him should have been guilty of.
UPDATE: See also today’s column by Daniel Pipes: “After Sharon: Israeli politics will revert to its past.”