Question asked of Jerusalem Post columnists: "Exactly one year ago former prime minister Ariel Sharon announced that he was quitting the Likud and forming a new political party - Kadima (forward in Hebrew). Despite Sharon's stroke, Ehud Olmert still led Kadima to victory in the elections by winning 29 mandates. One year later, the future of Kadima is uncertain. Olmert's popularity is at an all-time low. Will the party fade into oblivion or continue to play a major role in Israeli politics?" For all replies, see "Burning Issues #13: Kadima?"
A year ago, I placed Kadima in the tradition of Israeli third-way parties such as Dash, Centre, Yisrael Acheret, Shinui, and Ha'olam Hazeh – parties that flare and then disappear almost without a trace. I predicted that Kadima would "(1) fall about as abruptly as it has arisen and (2) leave behind a meager legacy."
When Ariel Sharon physically collapsed in early January, I jumped the gun, writing that "If Sharon's career is now over, so is Kadima's." In fact, Olmert impressively kept the party going. With Kadima's electoral success in late March, I acknowledged that it held together "significantly better than I expected," adding that "I continue to see it as a transient party." In early September, I hazarded that "Kadima's name will not be on the ballot when the next Israeli national elections take place."
My views remain in this mode: Kadima remains a basically self-contradictory personal vehicle of its founder, Ariel Sharon, and therefore will not last long. That this incoherent party now heads an incoherent coalition will not permit it to escape this fate. (November 21, 2006)