With funerals taking place in various Israeli towns and as the Iranian military rehearses for 9/11: The Sequel, it's likely that Uzi Landau's decision to quit the race for the Likud leadership will be swept under the proverbial carpet. He was never expected to win but I believe he stood for something peculiarly rare today in world politics.
Here was (still is) a man with real and honest intentions. Throughout the planning and execution of Disengagement, he led the battle against the Sharon-led plan to take the IDF and Jewish communities out of the Strip and Northern Samaria. He led what was cynically named "The Likud Rebels" against all odds and in the face of a career threatening loss and embarrassment. That may yet unfold as we witness Likud's slip in the polls.
He often advocated his views quietly and other times with vigor. But whenever Uzi wore orange, he did it with forthright courage, pure intention and without consideration for personal gain. I was impressed.
Here is a man who will probably never appear at the peaks of the Israeli political command because he in fact represents the qualities I have mentioned. Often politics is not the place for the soft spoken, intelligent and honest human being. Uzi Landau probably doesn't have that arrogant, self-serving streak in him that might make him a winner on the election campaign. It is a damn shame that this is so often required in order to be a political force, in Israel and the world over.
Landau's decision to step back from the fray and back the confident Netanyahu might well please the righter end of the Likud. His decision might also be a further illustration of his willing self-sacrifice for the perceived greater good. In my view however, it does put a little chink in the Landau armor. A Matan Vilna'i attempt to steer Shimon Peres over the finishing line in the Labor primary did similar damage to Vilna'i's image and did nothing for the man he hoped to help.
It's a great disappointment for me that Uzi chose to give in and back a man who could not find the courage to stand up for orange when it mattered. Netanyahu's policies have wavered in the past and he straddled painfully across the fence until his resignation from the Government meant nothing to anyone but himself.
I only hope that should Likud have any place in the next governing coalition, that Uzi Landau is welcomed to the Cabinet table with his straightforward, honest and brave beliefs and approach to public life.
You don't have to agree with the man nor paint your pets orange. The way I see it, Uzi Landau did not reject Disengagement for arguments sake only. I believe that Uzi Landau in fact represents all Israelis, all of us who desire peace with our neighbors and I believe that he can lead the way for many of us who desire reciprocity and courage from the Arab side.
Landau has what to offer this country and I hope he will be given a realistic spot on the Likud list and a role in future Israeli policy making.