I find it very difficult to follow the political logic of the Shas Party.I assume that they stay in the Coalition beause they wield influence in religious matters-they are only marginally effective(chametz on Pesach for example). Another reason is that it is great to drive in a Govt. Volvo with a bodyguard-driver.
Howevever, they have publicly threatened to leave the Govt. the moment an agreement is reached with the PA.Everyone asssumes,that such an agreement would include compromises on Jerusalem and refugees.
Shas believes that at that critical moment,should they leave the Govt.,the plan would fail and the Govt. fall since they would not have a working majority.
The problem is,that although the plan will be dropped for a short period,that very same agreement will be the starting point for the next set of negotiations.For sure the US would insist that since so much time and effort went into the negotiations there must be some validity to both sides agreeing to it.
In addition, there is no guarantee that in the elections that would follow,Kadimah, Meretz and Labor ( plus Arab Parties) might not combine to run on that very plan as their peace platform and win.Todays polls indicate that if Olmert resigns the Foreign Minister MK Livni would best both Netanyahu and Barack.
Shas is playing with fire and following a dangerous path.
With the current scandal,rockets from Gaza, Lebanon exploding and the Iranian threat looming, they should make the move now and not when it will have a negative lasting effect on Israeli security.
You have to admire the political skills of Obama.Above all he is a master schmoozer and can charm both sides on an issue, with each believing thst he supports their point of view.Yesterdays NYT close-up of Obama clearly illustrated these qualities.
Much is being written now about his feelings toward Israel.Polls show he is over 10 points below previous Dem. candidates in the Jewish community.Primarily because he is an unknown ,the Rev. Wright issue hit home at a bad moment for Obama-just as we were trying to understand what he stands for.This weeks Jewish Week has an article on Obama's pro-Palestinian friends.
There are two interesting articles one by Jeffrey Goldberg in the Atlantic.com , that depict Obama as a Zionist, who understands the nuances of Jewish survival.
The other by Phillip Klein in the American Spectator entitled " Stop Believing Obama" gives an extremely critical and analytical discussion of Obama.
If you like puff and gushiness the Goldberg piece is for you.If you are interested in facts and worry how someone can sit with wife and children for 20 years,contribute $25,000 to the Wright Church and hear no-evil then the latter is good reading.Incidentally,Klein analyzes the recent departure of Malley from the Obama team for meeting with Hamas.
As for me,I am nervous.As long as we pay $4.00 for gas and milk/eggs and bread keep climbing in price, the Republicans will be in trouble.