This account of Israel’s drift to the political right over the last few decades avoids sensationalism and reveals that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, contrary to his image abroad, is one of the more liberal figures in the country’s main right-wing political alliance, the Likud Party. Carlstrom depicts Israel as a society riven by bitter tribalism, where “incitement and racism [have become] a regular feature of political discourse.”
The book echoes a speech given by Israeli President Reuven Rivlin in 2015, in which he decried the zero-sum warfare over public budgets, subsidies, and other government handouts that divides Israel’s Ashkenazi, Mizrahi, and Haredi Jews, as well as its Arab, Ethiopian, and Russian citizens. Israel will survive the bickering, but its Jewish citizens may become separated from Jews elsewhere as they increasingly place Jewish identity above democracy.
Two-thirds of Jewish Israelis believe that the two-state solution is dead. The forces advocating annexation of the West Bank are ascendant. If sacrificing democracy is the price, many feel, so be it.