The Triumph of the Far Right in Israel
Noam Sheizaf January 9, 2013
The 2013 vote could therefore be seen as an important moment in Israeli history. Forty-five years after a few Jewish families settled in newly occupied Hebron, marking the birth of the settlement movement, what was a fringe group is now the driving force in Israeli politics, reshaping the national narrative and symbols in its own image. The elections this month are taking the form of an internal—and at times personal—battle within the right, with Netanyahu and Bennett presenting the two faces of ‘the new normal.’ The process seems to have been completed: backed by an ad hoc coalition with the Orthodox and many of the million-plus Jewish immigrants from Russia, and with the support of the financial and political umbrella provided by the US Republican Party and the Jewish-American establishment, the religious-Zionist right has been able to take over the Jewish state. (Is it really surprising that Bennett has American roots, or that Netanyahu spent his formative years in the United States?) Whether this was an inevitable continuation of secular Zionism or the result of a series of mistakes in the decades following the 1967 war is for historians to debate.