Can one formulate those version of Weak Lefschetz that uses tubular neighbourhoods purely in terms of cohomology of (some) algebraic varieties? Theorem in 5.1 of Part II in Goresky-MacPherson's "Stratified Morse theory" implies (in particular) that: for a smooth projective P (over the field of complex numbers), X open in P, and a small enough tubular neighbourhood $H_\delta$ of an arbitrary (!) hyperplane section H of P (in P!) a Weak Lefschetz theorem for $(H_\delta\cap X,X)$ is valid i.e.: the map on singular cohomology $H^{i}_{sing}(X)\to H^{i}_{sing}(H_\delta\cap X)$ is an isomorphism for $i<\dim X-1$, and is an injection for $i=\dim X-1$. A caution: $H_\delta\cap X$ is not (usually) a tubular neighbourhood of $H\cap X$ in $X$.

My question is: could one formulate an analogue of this statement purely in terms of algebraic geometry? I would be completely satisfied with cohomology with $Z/l^n Z$-coefficients i.e. etale cohomology. I only want to replace the cohomology of $H^{i}_{sing}(H_\delta\cap X)$ in the statement by something that could be computed without using differential geometry.

My guess: one should probably replace $H_\delta$ with an etale tubular neighbourhood of $H$ in $P$ (then $H_\delta\cap X$ will be replaced by the corresponding fibre product); this is 'my conjecture'. Etale tubular neighbourhoods were defined and studied by Cox and Friedlander. Yet though they proved that etale tubular neighbourhoods share several properties with 'ordinary' tubular neighbourhoods, it seems that no comparison statement that would allow to deduce my conjecture from the Goresky-MacPherson's theorem is known. One should probably use nice properties of the comparison of the etale site with the fine one; yet this seems to require a site-theoretic definition of a tubular neighbourhood. Also, etale tubular neighbourhoods seem to be rather 'implicit', so I don't know how to check my conjecture on examples. Certainly, I do not object against proving my conjecture 'directly', yet this seems to be difficult (since Goresky-MacPherson's proof heavily relies upon stratified Morse theory).

Any suggestions would be very welcome!