I had the opportunity to interview Yitzhak Shamir, the former prime minister of Israel, in October 1998 for the Middle East Quarterly. Shamir was highly critical of the then-prime minister and head of the Likud Party, Binyamin Netanyahu. That conversation brought us to this exchange:
MEQ: How can the Likud Party recover from what you consider its current misguided policies?
Shamir: By changing the party leadership.
MEQ: Who would you like to see at the head of the Party?
Shamir: Binyamin Begin or Uzi Landau.
Over a decade later, that conversation comes to mind because both of these persons subsequently exited politics (Begin in 1999, Landau in 2007), seemingly for good – and then both of them in November 2008 jumped very much back into the game.
Begin, 66, rejoined the Likud party that his father helped create and was ranked #5 in its election list along with a promise of a ministerial position;
Landau, 65, joined with Avigdor Lieberman and ran as #2 in Yisrael Beiteinu's election list.
Here's hoping that both these stalwarts of the nationalist camp land in key positions of influence in the next government. (March 3, 2009)
The two Binyamins, Begin and Netanyahu.
Uzi Landau and Avigdor Lieberman.