Book Review: How Long Will Israel Survive? The Threat From Within

A torn Israeli flag seen at the settlement of "Gevaot". 4,000 dunams at the settlement located near the West Bank city of Bethlehem, was declared as Israeli state land, the Israeli army's civil affairs department announced two days ago. The Israeli advocacy group Peace Now said the seizure of Palestinian land by Israel was the biggest in three decades and is likely to threaten a two-state solution to the conflict. September 02, 2014. Photo by Miriam Alster/FLASH90
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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.

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