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3947 W. 12 Mile Rd. • Berkley
On The Rebound
SPECIAL TO THE JEWISH NEWS
Amos Oz, the Hebrew novelist
and friend, as it happens, of Shi-
mon Peres, calls the Prime Min-
ister 'the ultimate comeback kid."
"Peres," he says, "has a rare
ability to recover from shattering
defeats. He has the kind of sta-
mina I don't think I have seen in
any other human being."
Three weeks after an epidem-
ic of Islamic suicide bombings
plunged his poll ratings from a 15
per cent lead to a 2 per cent
deficit, the 72-year-old Labour
leader is proving him right. The
comeback has started.
Four polls all found Mr. Peres
nudging back in front of his right-
wing Likud challenger, Binyamin
Netanyahu, with a margin of be-
tween two and four per cent.
Two events — Wednesday's
"Summit of the Peacemakers"
in the Egyptian resort of
Sharm el-Sheikh and the high-
profile visit to Israel by President
Bill Clinton — are likely to en-
hance the swing. —\
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The surveys were conducted
before these jamborees, co-star-
ring an increasingly self-confident
Mr. Peres, had made their full
impact on the Israeli street. A car-
toon in the Ha'aretz newspaper
showed the Prime Minister
watching Clinton's plane flying
into the horizon and asking an
aide: "Are the polls in yet?"
Mr. Peres's advisers say that
he never took the 15 per cent ad-
vantage, which reflected public
sympathy over the assassination
of his predecessor, Yitzhak Rabin,
at face value. He expected former
Likud voters to drift back as
polling day, May 29, approached.
The contest, he always be-
lieved, would be for the small
corps of genuine floating voters,
who have decided every election
here since Menachem Begin's
ground-breaking Likud victory in
1977. Veteran pollster Hanoch
Smith estimates them at about
10-15 per cent of the electorate.
Eric Silver is a contributing
writer at the Jerusalem Report.