Geula After Olmert or After Netanyahu?
The We Want Mashiach blog reminds us that Rav Kaduri Zt"l had reportedly said that Sharon will be the last Israeli Prime Minister, which could possibly be extended to mean Sharon and his deputy - Ehud Olmert - who took over when Sharon became incapacitated.
We also have another reason why Olmert could the last prime minister before the Geula - namely, the Sefer Eliyahu. (See Nava's post and Josh Waxman's dissenting opinion. See earlier posts by R' Dov Bar Leib and Hashem1.net.) The Sefer Eliyahu reads (according to the version on Hashem1.net):
ואז אמר לי מיכאל קץ העתיד להיות באחרית הימים, בימיו של מלך העתיד להיות, הרמלת שמו, ויש אומרים תרמלא שמו. ר’ יהודה בן בתירא אומר כורש שמו, רבי שמעון בר יוחאי אומר הכשרא שמו, והלכה כרבי שמעון דאמר הכשרא שמו.ולע"ד, let's analyze the names mentioned here:
הרמלת begins with a "ה", which I contend refers to a ה הידיעה, the definite article of "the". If we take away the "ה", it becomes רמלת, but the "ר" and "ל" can be switched (see footnote 10 here) to refer to "the למרת", or "The Olmert". "The Olmert" refers to the known Olmert before he moved to the Kadima party - the right-leaning former mayor of Yerushalayim who believed in Yerushalayim's unity.
תרמלא refers to the same person - Ehud Olmert - but it's read backwards, i.e., the Ehud Olmert who went to Kadima and became the prime minister did a complete turnaround and now doesn't believe that Yerushalayim needs to stay united. You now read his name from left to right, as they do in English, hinting to his being persuaded by the Western world. Thus, the יש אומרים say that it is this turned-backwards Ehud Olmert who will be the king before the Ketz.
כורש is the name of the Persian king who first allowed the rebuilding of the Beit Hamikdash after the Babylonian exile, but then disallowed it. The gemara in Megilla 12a says:
דרש רב נחמן בר רב חסדא מאי דכתיב (ישעיהו מה) כה אמר ה' למשיחו לכורש אשר החזקתי בימינו וכי כורש משיח היה אלא א"ל הקב"ה למשיח קובל אני לך על כורש אני אמרתי הוא יבנה ביתי ויקבץ גליותי והוא אמר (עזרא א) מי בכם מכל עמו ויעל
Mashiah is to admonish כורש for not being involved in the building of the בית המקדש himself, but just allowing the Jews to do it themselves. Ribbi Yehuda Ben Beteira holds that כורש is the name of the king before the Ketz. כורש has the gematria of 526, which is the same as הנתניהו - "The Netanyahu" - the same Netanyahu that resembled כורש - who did not object to the Disengagement/Expulsion from Gush Katif and cut spending to Yeshivot.
הכשרא has the same gematria as כורש - that of 526. However, it is very different. This name, as in the name הרמלת, begins with a "ה". This too is a ה הידיעה that refers to a known figure, i.e., a known Netanyahu, as this too has the gematria of הנתניהו. But which Netanyahu does it refer to? הכשרא - the Kosher Netanyahu - the one that will stand for a strong Israel, keep Yerushalayim and all of Israel united and will be conciliatory toward the religious people of Israel. This is the person whom Ribbi Shimon Bar Yohai says will be the king before the Ketz - and this is the halacha.
Let us hope that the correct view is that of the יש אומרים (as it's too late for the first opinion) that Olmert is the last "king" before the Ketz, but if not, let's at least hope that Ribbi Shimon Bar Yohai is correct - that the Kosher Netanyahu will be the last "king" before the Ketz.