Orna Shimoni believes Sharon is the most likely candidate to make a change.
By TOVAH LAZAROFF
It's one more sign of the changing political times that Orna Shimoni, a left-wing activist and a founder of the Four Mothers movement, is casting her vote in the next elections for Prime Minister Ariel Sharon.
Shimoni, one of the four mothers whose campaign led to the Israeli withdrawal from Lebanon, told The Jerusalem Post she was not ignoring the fact that Sharon was responsible for Israel's presence there.
"I am not changing history," said Shimoni, whose son Eyal, a lieutenant in the IDF, was killed in Lebanon in 1997.
"I know that Sharon is the one that took us into Lebanon together with [former prime minister Menahem] Begin." She added, though, that Sharon was not solely responsible for Israel's presence in Lebanon. Four other prime ministers chose not to pull troops out of the country, she said. "I am not forgiving or forgetting," she said, adding she didn't want to stay stuck in the past.
"I'm looking Kadima [Forward]," said Shimoni making a pun with regard to the party's name and her own vision of the future. "[Sharon] is someone that took us out of Gaza" and is the candidate most likely to build a big party of close to 40 seats, said Shimoni. Change can only happen from within the government, not the opposition, she added.
Although she is a member of Labor - and intends to remain so - she is voting for the party and the man she believes have the best chance of success, even though she likes Labor's new leader Amir Peretz and his focus on social issues. "I'm not leaving my ideals," she said.
But Shimoni thinks economic and social justice problems can be solved more effectively once Israel has withdrawn from the territories, although she added that Israel should keep certain populated areas.
By withdrawing from Gaza, Sharon has proven that he can best relinquish territory, Shimoni said. "He is the only one that can do it," she said.