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Netanyahu is sacrificing Israel’s myths His new government is rewriting the nation's story

Every country needs its myths. Credit: Ariel Schalit/Pool/AFP/Getty

Every country needs its myths. Credit: Ariel Schalit/Pool/AFP/Getty


January 6, 2023   5 mins

Every country needs its myths — stories it tells both to its own people about themselves and to the world, even though upon scrutiny they don’t always fully hold up. Sometimes, however, these myths can be destructive, creating false expectations which lead countries down the wrong path; look at Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Israel, with its unique status as the world’s only Jewish state, its location in a region where it has been ostracised by the surrounding nations, and its absorption over the years of Jewish immigrants from all parts of the world, has always needed its myths. They were essential in constructing a national ethos for Israel’s supporters to rally around. But as a new government takes office in Jerusalem, the sixth led by Binyamin Netanyahu, some of the radical Right-wing and ultra-religious members of his coalition are openly advancing policies which will make it much more difficult to maintain those myths.

The key myth is that of Israel being the only democracy in the Middle East. Israel has many of the prerequisites of a democracy. It holds open and transparent elections, with high voter turnout and high levels of trust in the outcome. And its elections, as we have seen both in 2021 and 2022, can lead to a change in government. But while the elections are free and fair for all Israeli citizens, claiming to be a democracy while continuing the military occupation of the West Bank, where nearly three million Palestinians live in semi-autonomy under Israeli rule and can’t vote for the Knesset (including the Palestinians living in East Jerusalem, who have the right to vote only in local elections), is an increasingly difficult proposition.

Ever since 1967, when Israel captured the West Bank and East Jerusalem from its previous occupiers, the Jordanians, this has remained technically a temporary situation. Israel extended its sovereignty only over East Jerusalem while maintaining the official position that the final status of the rest of the West Bank would be decided in negotiations. Despite the interminable rounds of talks held over nearly 55 years, the West Bank is still under military occupation and Israel, despite occasional talk of annexation, has failed to change its legal status.

In this new government, however, which states quite clearly in its inaugural policy statement that “the Government will act to advance and develop settlements in all parts of the land of Israel”, the myth of Israel not planning to rule over the Palestinians (who are not mentioned in the statement) is impossible to maintain. The statement goes even further and promises that “the prime minister will act to formulate and advance policy which will include the application of sovereignty in Judea and Samaria, choosing the timing and taking into consideration all of Israel’s national and international interests”. The rather vague wording is intentional — Netanyahu realises that he won’t be able to annex the West Bank (or Judea and Samaria, as Israeli nationalists call it) while there is a Democratic administration in the United States, but he has to offer his coalition partners the prospect of doing so under a future Republican president in a couple of years.

Whether or not the Republicans win the election next year, what is already clear is that this Israeli government has officially abandoned the myth of the “temporary” status of the West Bank. Netanyahu is gambling that the international community is otherwise occupied and has no interest in calling Israel’s bluff. He reckons that human-rights groups have already been accusing Israel of “apartheid” for years without harming Israel on the international scene. If anything, its ties with countries around the world, including an increasing number of Arab regimes, have improved. Yet without even the pretence to cling to, things may swiftly change. And with a government of far-Right firebrands, including the new national-security minister Itamar Ben-Gvir — who provocatively visited the contended Temple Mount/Al Aqsa Mosque compound on Tuesday morning — the willingness of Western governments to look the other way may start to shift.

Nor is it just old myths surrounding the occupation that Netanyahu is willing to challenge. Another point which Israel’s democracy has long had in its favour is that its legal system holds corrupt politicians to account. Few countries have put their heads of state in prison through legal process, without holding a coup. Yet in Israel, previous prime ministers and presidents have been investigated for various crimes and even put on trial. Former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert went to prison for receiving bribes, while former President Moshe Katzav was jailed for rape and sexual assault. Netanyahu is also on trial now for bribery and fraud, but his new government is busy dismantling the legal establishment’s powers to hold politicians to account. Netanyahu’s brazenness at staying in office despite the charges against him (previous PMs resigned before being indicted) has established a major precedent.

The new government has already changed the law, allowing politicians to become ministers despite previous convictions, as long as they weren’t sentenced to actual time in prison. Ministers have also proposed a law abolishing the “fraud and breach of trusts in public office” crime, and another allowing the Knesset to override rulings by the Supreme Court. In isolation, none of the proposed reforms to the legal system are in themselves unreasonable. But the wholesale manner in which the government is going about making these changes — weakening the power and independence of the Supreme Court and State Prosecutor’s office — are both a drastic change and obviously tailored to assist Netanyahu.

Elsewhere, the country’s democratic myths have been eroded by the coalition’s change to Israel’s anti-discrimination law, which means that private citizens and businesses will be allowed to refuse services due to their beliefs. A permissive attitude towards gay people and their prominence in public life has long been one the pillars of Israel’s democracy myth, yet the new clause is widely interpreted as allowing discrimination against LGBTQ citizens. As his government was inaugurated last Thursday, Netanyahu made a big fuss of welcoming the husband and children of Amir Ohana, a loyal member of his Likud party and the first openly gay Knesset Speaker. But this was a naked pink-washing ploy, designed to distract attention from the changes to the anti-discrimination law and the fact that many of his coalition partners are openly homophobic.

Another myth being challenged is that of Israel’s prominence as a high-tech nation. At present, Israel has the highest proportion of any country of its population working in tech — around 11%. This statistic is even more remarkable when you take into account that nearly a third of Israelis — the Arab citizens (estimated at 21% of the population) and the ultra-Orthodox Jews (11%) — are barely employed in the sector. The level of education in the Arab community is poor and they lack the contacts that most tech employees have from their compulsory military service (few Arab-Israelis serve in the Israeli army). In the ultra-Orthodox community, the situation is even more dire as their rabbis refuse to allow ultra-Orthodox schools to teach the national curriculum of mathematics, science and English.

Already, the new government, in which the ultra-Orthodox parties are integral, has increased the isolation of these schools by promising them more government funding without requiring any teaching of the national curriculum. Meanwhile, funding for programmes that the previous government hoped would improve Arab schools and integrate more members of the community into the workforce are now uncertain. And with the demographic trends projecting a growth in the ultra-Orthodox community, the potential skilled workforce will shrink, reducing the attraction for tech companies — Israeli and international — to continue basing their research and development centres in Israel. Tech bosses have already started to complain about recruitment difficulties.

No politician has made more capital out of Israel’s myths than Netanyahu. In his 40 years as a diplomat and statesman, he has touted Israel’s democracy and technological prowess wherever he goes. In his recent autobiography, published just three months ago, he claims to have “always been a staunch believer in liberal democracy”. This may be the case, but the government he has just formed is planning to dismantle any semblance of liberal democracy.

Of course, the myths of Israel’s democracy were not always consistent, but in the past there was enough to work with to make them somewhat believable. At the very least, its governments talked the talk. Netanyahu still does, but he has surrounded himself with political allies who have no such pretensions and are starting to drown out his protestations — along with the myths that created the country they rule.


Anshel Pfeffer is a senior correspondent for Haaretz and Israel correspondent for The Economist. He is the author of Bibi
The Turbulent Life and Times of Benjamin Netanyahu.

AnshelPfeffer

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Andrew Fisher
AF
Andrew Fisher
1 year ago

This is a hugely overblown article. Netanyahu is certainly in many respects a dubious figure – but some of these ‘arguments’ are thin to say the least.

I’m a gay man. I am pleased that recognition and civil rights are afforded me and my partner in the UK – and most western countries (but nowhere else). However, the enforcement of a set of ‘anti-homophobic’ policies would amount to totalitarianism, and possibly the introduction of the concept of ‘thought-crime’, not democracy. Religion conservatives not supporting gay rights, who knew?!

On the issue of the West Bank, there is a lot to discuss, but essentially Netanyahu and his allies are absolutely correct that setting up a hostile Palestinian state dominated by people who are utterly hostile to the existence of Israel IN PRINCIPLE, would be a Trojan horse and an eventual mortal threat to the state. The evacuation of Gaza by Israel has simply enabled Hamas to depict this as a victory for them and to use the territory as a launching pad for endless terrorist and rocket attacks.

There is undoubtedly a tragic clash of fundamentally opposed nationalisms at play here. But, we can either have a democratic and broadly liberal Israeli state, where Arab Muslims (not all Arabs are Muslims) may in certain respects related to security be treated as ‘second class citizens’ but at least have more rights than they have in any Arab state, or yet another corrupt, authoritarian, (and natch, homophobic) Arab one, with the probable expulsion of most of the Jewish population.

Mike Cook
MC
Mike Cook
1 year ago
Reply to  Andrew Fisher

That is very well put. Interesting that the author never mentions the word “Hamas”.
Judea and Samaria, as Israeli nationalists call it.
Well, that is/was the legitimate name for this territory until it was not deemed to be politically expedient to do so (The words Judea and Hebron rather give the game away as to the original owners of the land). So an English description was used to try and deny the centuries of Jewish existence there.

Milton Gibbon
Milton Gibbon
1 year ago
Reply to  Andrew Fisher

The part where he says that all the changes to the constitutional arrangement are not, in and of themselves, unreasonable and then in the conclusion says Netanyahu is “dismantling any semblance of liberal democracy” was just downright funny.

Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
1 year ago
Reply to  Milton Gibbon

Yes.. a bit like saying if you introduce tyranical measures slowly, one at a time they are not really tyranical at all??

Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
1 year ago
Reply to  Milton Gibbon

Yes.. a bit like saying if you introduce tyranical measures slowly, one at a time they are not really tyranical at all??

Mike Cook
Mike Cook
1 year ago
Reply to  Andrew Fisher

That is very well put. Interesting that the author never mentions the word “Hamas”.
Judea and Samaria, as Israeli nationalists call it.
Well, that is/was the legitimate name for this territory until it was not deemed to be politically expedient to do so (The words Judea and Hebron rather give the game away as to the original owners of the land). So an English description was used to try and deny the centuries of Jewish existence there.

Milton Gibbon
Milton Gibbon
1 year ago
Reply to  Andrew Fisher

The part where he says that all the changes to the constitutional arrangement are not, in and of themselves, unreasonable and then in the conclusion says Netanyahu is “dismantling any semblance of liberal democracy” was just downright funny.

Andrew Fisher
Andrew Fisher
1 year ago

This is a hugely overblown article. Netanyahu is certainly in many respects a dubious figure – but some of these ‘arguments’ are thin to say the least.

I’m a gay man. I am pleased that recognition and civil rights are afforded me and my partner in the UK – and most western countries (but nowhere else). However, the enforcement of a set of ‘anti-homophobic’ policies would amount to totalitarianism, and possibly the introduction of the concept of ‘thought-crime’, not democracy. Religion conservatives not supporting gay rights, who knew?!

On the issue of the West Bank, there is a lot to discuss, but essentially Netanyahu and his allies are absolutely correct that setting up a hostile Palestinian state dominated by people who are utterly hostile to the existence of Israel IN PRINCIPLE, would be a Trojan horse and an eventual mortal threat to the state. The evacuation of Gaza by Israel has simply enabled Hamas to depict this as a victory for them and to use the territory as a launching pad for endless terrorist and rocket attacks.

There is undoubtedly a tragic clash of fundamentally opposed nationalisms at play here. But, we can either have a democratic and broadly liberal Israeli state, where Arab Muslims (not all Arabs are Muslims) may in certain respects related to security be treated as ‘second class citizens’ but at least have more rights than they have in any Arab state, or yet another corrupt, authoritarian, (and natch, homophobic) Arab one, with the probable expulsion of most of the Jewish population.

krugerbrent
krugerbrent
1 year ago

this article is disingenuous. There is a palestinian state withs its own government , the author trying to suggest that palestinians should vote in another country is mindboggling

Gorka Sillero
Gorka Sillero
1 year ago
Reply to  krugerbrent

“There is a palestinian state withs its own government”
yet we need to believe this is not disingenuous? Palestine has nothing close to a state. Also, a big chunk of it has been invaded and effectively conquered ergo its inhabitants should be assimilated within Israel and be allowed to vote (if don’t like apartheid anymore, I mean, do we?)

Paul Devlin
Paul Devlin
1 year ago
Reply to  krugerbrent

Emptying the bins and a police force that closes down at dusk when the Israeli raids commence is hardly a functioning state. The supposed Palestinian Authority isn’t even Vichy level

Gorka Sillero
Gorka Sillero
1 year ago
Reply to  krugerbrent

“There is a palestinian state withs its own government”
yet we need to believe this is not disingenuous? Palestine has nothing close to a state. Also, a big chunk of it has been invaded and effectively conquered ergo its inhabitants should be assimilated within Israel and be allowed to vote (if don’t like apartheid anymore, I mean, do we?)

Paul Devlin
Paul Devlin
1 year ago
Reply to  krugerbrent

Emptying the bins and a police force that closes down at dusk when the Israeli raids commence is hardly a functioning state. The supposed Palestinian Authority isn’t even Vichy level

krugerbrent
krugerbrent
1 year ago

this article is disingenuous. There is a palestinian state withs its own government , the author trying to suggest that palestinians should vote in another country is mindboggling

Paul Curtis
PC
Paul Curtis
1 year ago

Dear Mr Pfeffer, surely every nation should be rewriting its own story. Israel’s is a unique and very dynamic one (it is not Europe). Your article is interesting, with hardly a hint of Bibi Derangement Syndrome, yet you ignore the very large elephant in the Israeli front room. That, of course is Palestinian violence. It is unabated, unchallenged and constant. You know as I do, that if you mistakenly drive into a Palestinian town, you will (as an Israeli and a Jew) most probably be murdered by a mob. Within the last couple of years there have been deadly terrorist attacks in Tel Aviv, and major violence within Israeli towns with a significant Arab Muslim population, such as Lod, Acco, Ramle and Jaffa.
Israelis want to live. They are terrified. Ben Gvir and Smotrich have been elected to keep the Israeli Jewish population safe. If that means less freedoms for the LGBTQIA+ and Arab populations, then so be it.

D Walsh
D Walsh
1 year ago
Reply to  Paul Curtis

Diversity is Israel’s strength

Did you ever notice that the Tribe wants Israel to be a ethnostate, but they want every country in the West to have open borders. US tax payers can pay for a wall along Israels border but not on their own

D Walsh
D Walsh
1 year ago
Reply to  Paul Curtis

Diversity is Israel’s strength

Did you ever notice that the Tribe wants Israel to be a ethnostate, but they want every country in the West to have open borders. US tax payers can pay for a wall along Israels border but not on their own

Paul Curtis
Paul Curtis
1 year ago

Dear Mr Pfeffer, surely every nation should be rewriting its own story. Israel’s is a unique and very dynamic one (it is not Europe). Your article is interesting, with hardly a hint of Bibi Derangement Syndrome, yet you ignore the very large elephant in the Israeli front room. That, of course is Palestinian violence. It is unabated, unchallenged and constant. You know as I do, that if you mistakenly drive into a Palestinian town, you will (as an Israeli and a Jew) most probably be murdered by a mob. Within the last couple of years there have been deadly terrorist attacks in Tel Aviv, and major violence within Israeli towns with a significant Arab Muslim population, such as Lod, Acco, Ramle and Jaffa.
Israelis want to live. They are terrified. Ben Gvir and Smotrich have been elected to keep the Israeli Jewish population safe. If that means less freedoms for the LGBTQIA+ and Arab populations, then so be it.

Brian Villanueva
Brian Villanueva
1 year ago

Israel wants to be a democratic, Jewish state which runs from the Jordan River to the sea. Given the reality on the ground, you can only have any two of these together.
Jewish democracy = exclude majority Arab areas.
Jewish state in historical Israel = undemocratic.
Democracy in historical Israel = not majority Jewish.
Pick any 2; you can’t have all 3. That’s why nothing has changed in 70 years. And short of Israel being willing to forcibly relocate a few million Arabs, it never will.

Brian Villanueva
BV
Brian Villanueva
1 year ago

Israel wants to be a democratic, Jewish state which runs from the Jordan River to the sea. Given the reality on the ground, you can only have any two of these together.
Jewish democracy = exclude majority Arab areas.
Jewish state in historical Israel = undemocratic.
Democracy in historical Israel = not majority Jewish.
Pick any 2; you can’t have all 3. That’s why nothing has changed in 70 years. And short of Israel being willing to forcibly relocate a few million Arabs, it never will.

Josef O
Josef O
1 year ago

The whole world are having a difficult time and Israel is no exception. Actually the israelis face an extra amount of hurdles compared to other advanced countries. And Israel is an advanced country. A recent report analysing the most powerful countries in the world places Israel in position number 10. That is in the same class with important countries which outnumber Israel by far in terms of population or economic size. Considering all the tribulations that this country had to pass in its short history this is quite incredible. Nevertheless the article underlines several important issues which the israelis will have to solve. Remains to be seen, but creativity has never been in short supply in this small and in many ways, extraordinary state.

R Wright
RW
R Wright
1 year ago
Reply to  Josef O

Taking billions and billions of dollars of U.S aid due to powerful lobbying efforts abroad does not make a country unique except perhaps insofar as the scale of it is unprecedented. No other country gets such no strings attached style backing while engaging in blatant colonial practices. Excuse me, I mean the ‘application of sovereignty’. Israel is the national equivalent of a welfare queen, as Mearsheimer and Walt have explained in their NYT best seller “The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy”.

Gil Harris
Gil Harris
1 year ago
Reply to  R Wright

Anti-Semitic pap. Palestinians have chosen violence over peace.

R Wright
R Wright
1 year ago
Reply to  Gil Harris

“Anti-Semitic pap”
Yes the book discusses that too. You are misguided if you think I care about the Palestinians at all.

R Wright
RW
R Wright
1 year ago
Reply to  Gil Harris

“Anti-Semitic pap”
Yes the book discusses that too. You are misguided if you think I care about the Palestinians at all.

Jacqueline Burns
Jacqueline Burns
1 year ago
Reply to  R Wright

There ARE strings attached to the US aid in that it has to be spent IN the US and has restrictions on what it can be spent on (ie. defensive matters). It is the US aid given to the so-called palestinians (by other entities as well particularly the EU & UN) that appear to have no restrictions allowing them to continue their ‘pay-to-slay’ benefits to terrorists & their families, using anti-Israeli & anti-semitic teaching materials in schools & collecges under their control, allowing them to build illegal settlements/ properties in land deemed to be part of Israel according to the Oslo Accords without planning permission, allowing them to use such buildings for terrorist purposes….particularly UN buildings & vehicles being used to transport & store bommbs & other equipment beneath hospitals & schools or have tunnels built under them knowing Israel is loath to attack such facilitties & thus using the sick & their children as human shields.etc.

R Wright
RW
R Wright
1 year ago

You seem woefully misinformed on the situation regarding U.S aid. Highly recommend you read the book I referred to. Regarding the rest of your post, I don’t care about Palestine. Disdain for modern day imperialism couched in niceties is not reserved by the left.

D Walsh
D Walsh
1 year ago
Reply to  R Wright

Israelis assume they will always have the support of the US and Europe. They have no idea what’s coming down the track. GOOD

Last edited 1 year ago by D Walsh
D Walsh
D Walsh
1 year ago
Reply to  R Wright

Israelis assume they will always have the support of the US and Europe. They have no idea what’s coming down the track. GOOD

Last edited 1 year ago by D Walsh
R Wright
R Wright
1 year ago

You seem woefully misinformed on the situation regarding U.S aid. Highly recommend you read the book I referred to. Regarding the rest of your post, I don’t care about Palestine. Disdain for modern day imperialism couched in niceties is not reserved by the left.

Josef O
Josef O
1 year ago
Reply to  R Wright

NYT has become a completely woke newspaper. You just know very little but think to know much. Just one advice stop using the smartphone, you have no idea how many israeli inventions are in it. The US and the West in general are benefiting enormously from israeli R&D in a lot of fields, medicine above all. So stop bashing just for the sake of it.

Gil Harris
Gil Harris
1 year ago
Reply to  R Wright

Anti-Semitic pap. Palestinians have chosen violence over peace.

Jacqueline Burns
Jacqueline Burns
1 year ago
Reply to  R Wright

There ARE strings attached to the US aid in that it has to be spent IN the US and has restrictions on what it can be spent on (ie. defensive matters). It is the US aid given to the so-called palestinians (by other entities as well particularly the EU & UN) that appear to have no restrictions allowing them to continue their ‘pay-to-slay’ benefits to terrorists & their families, using anti-Israeli & anti-semitic teaching materials in schools & collecges under their control, allowing them to build illegal settlements/ properties in land deemed to be part of Israel according to the Oslo Accords without planning permission, allowing them to use such buildings for terrorist purposes….particularly UN buildings & vehicles being used to transport & store bommbs & other equipment beneath hospitals & schools or have tunnels built under them knowing Israel is loath to attack such facilitties & thus using the sick & their children as human shields.etc.

Josef O
JO
Josef O
1 year ago
Reply to  R Wright

NYT has become a completely woke newspaper. You just know very little but think to know much. Just one advice stop using the smartphone, you have no idea how many israeli inventions are in it. The US and the West in general are benefiting enormously from israeli R&D in a lot of fields, medicine above all. So stop bashing just for the sake of it.

R Wright
R Wright
1 year ago
Reply to  Josef O

Taking billions and billions of dollars of U.S aid due to powerful lobbying efforts abroad does not make a country unique except perhaps insofar as the scale of it is unprecedented. No other country gets such no strings attached style backing while engaging in blatant colonial practices. Excuse me, I mean the ‘application of sovereignty’. Israel is the national equivalent of a welfare queen, as Mearsheimer and Walt have explained in their NYT best seller “The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy”.

Josef O
Josef O
1 year ago

The whole world are having a difficult time and Israel is no exception. Actually the israelis face an extra amount of hurdles compared to other advanced countries. And Israel is an advanced country. A recent report analysing the most powerful countries in the world places Israel in position number 10. That is in the same class with important countries which outnumber Israel by far in terms of population or economic size. Considering all the tribulations that this country had to pass in its short history this is quite incredible. Nevertheless the article underlines several important issues which the israelis will have to solve. Remains to be seen, but creativity has never been in short supply in this small and in many ways, extraordinary state.

JP Martin
JP Martin
1 year ago

In every country there are people like Anshel Pfeffer who are more concerned about the opinions of foreign mandarins (whether in Brussels, or Turtle Bay, or The Hague) than the survival of their own country. My country has many, so why should Israel be different. The fifth column is always a bigger threat than any foreign enemy.

JP Martin
JP Martin
1 year ago

In every country there are people like Anshel Pfeffer who are more concerned about the opinions of foreign mandarins (whether in Brussels, or Turtle Bay, or The Hague) than the survival of their own country. My country has many, so why should Israel be different. The fifth column is always a bigger threat than any foreign enemy.

Benjamin Dyke
Benjamin Dyke
1 year ago

I find it crazy that so many are happy to bandy around the idea that Israel is an apartheid state and then they turn a blind eye to the much worse things happening in the areas ‘governed’ by Palestinians, let alone the discrimination known as the ‘status quo’ on the Temple Mount where Muslims can freely worship at their 3rd most holy site that isn’t even mentioned in their holy books and yet Jews cannot at their holiest site. An Israeli minister just visiting was called a ‘storming’ and an ‘invasion’ by the Palestinians…until the prejudice of the Palestinians and muslims is removed there will be no peace in Israel. Every example of Israel giving up territory to appease the Palestinians has led not to peace but an entrenchment of hatred. Do people really think that the security measures are a fun thing for the Israeli state…no, they are there because the surrounding populations have vowed to destroy Israel and then backed that up with murders and wars. Why did Israel gain control of the areas prevously occupied by Jordan including East Jerusalem? Because they won a war started by the Arab nations! Yet it’s portrayed like a land grab from innocent people. I’m not saying that there aren’t examples of injustice committed by Israel, there are, but the concept of building a land surrounded by countries that have vowed to destroy it is unique and the response is unique. Take away the hatred of Israel and you have the chance of peace and 2 states. But I read about no examples of goodwill on the part of the Palestinians when it comes to Israel and no attempts to tackle the bigotry and hatred on the Palestinian side.

Benjamin Dyke
Benjamin Dyke
1 year ago

I find it crazy that so many are happy to bandy around the idea that Israel is an apartheid state and then they turn a blind eye to the much worse things happening in the areas ‘governed’ by Palestinians, let alone the discrimination known as the ‘status quo’ on the Temple Mount where Muslims can freely worship at their 3rd most holy site that isn’t even mentioned in their holy books and yet Jews cannot at their holiest site. An Israeli minister just visiting was called a ‘storming’ and an ‘invasion’ by the Palestinians…until the prejudice of the Palestinians and muslims is removed there will be no peace in Israel. Every example of Israel giving up territory to appease the Palestinians has led not to peace but an entrenchment of hatred. Do people really think that the security measures are a fun thing for the Israeli state…no, they are there because the surrounding populations have vowed to destroy Israel and then backed that up with murders and wars. Why did Israel gain control of the areas prevously occupied by Jordan including East Jerusalem? Because they won a war started by the Arab nations! Yet it’s portrayed like a land grab from innocent people. I’m not saying that there aren’t examples of injustice committed by Israel, there are, but the concept of building a land surrounded by countries that have vowed to destroy it is unique and the response is unique. Take away the hatred of Israel and you have the chance of peace and 2 states. But I read about no examples of goodwill on the part of the Palestinians when it comes to Israel and no attempts to tackle the bigotry and hatred on the Palestinian side.

Gil Harris
Gil Harris
1 year ago

Pro-Palestinian BS. They have had many chances for peace but they always choose terrorism. Hope Bibi turns the West Bank into a parking lot so the left can b***h some more. NEVER AGAIN!!!

Ray Andrews
Ray Andrews
1 year ago
Reply to  Gil Harris

“They have had many chances for peace but they always choose terrorism.”

Yes, those silly Palestinians. If they’d just quietly submit to their expulsion from their own land the expropriations would go so much more smoothly. Instead they protest and fight back — the savages. Leaving the Jews with no choice but to steal more of their land.

Ray Andrews
Ray Andrews
1 year ago
Reply to  Gil Harris

“They have had many chances for peace but they always choose terrorism.”

Yes, those silly Palestinians. If they’d just quietly submit to their expulsion from their own land the expropriations would go so much more smoothly. Instead they protest and fight back — the savages. Leaving the Jews with no choice but to steal more of their land.

Gil Harris
Gil Harris
1 year ago

Pro-Palestinian BS. They have had many chances for peace but they always choose terrorism. Hope Bibi turns the West Bank into a parking lot so the left can b***h some more. NEVER AGAIN!!!

Paul Hemphill
Paul Hemphill
1 year ago

To borrow from baseball great Yogi Berra, predictions are difficult – especially about the future. Quo Vadis Israel?
.The left are quite demoralised, with the tradional left wing parties almost eliminated in the Knesset. As the four recent elections have shown, the electorate is finely balanced between progressives on one side and ultranationalist and extreme religious on the other. But Netanyahu has the numbers, hitherto a canny politician, he is so eager to be pm – not the least, to keep himself out if the courtroom – that he’s had to deal with these racist and fundamentalist ratbags with who he has very little in common. The new ministers will effectively run set the tone and the rules of play for the whole military and security system, including the settlements, which does not bode well for the Palestinians (although groups like Hanna’s and Islamic Jihad see this as a “revolutionary moment” to be exploited – as demonstrated by the reset upswing of violence in the territories and the usual IDF disproportionate retaliation. I don’t agree with the anti-Israel left about “apartheid” and “parish status” – Israel is none of these, and nor do I believe there will be a third intifada, although the seeds are there. The IDF has the means to deter this – although it’s unearned and undeserved reputation as the “most moral army in the world” is in tatters – but it’s soldiers and importantly, it’s officers are coming increasingly under the influence of the ultranationalist chauvinists. Most Palestinians, especially the young and educated are crying out for new leadership, but the moribund and corrupt Palestinian Authority, and the brutal and corrupt Hamas have locked up power for themselves and will not relinquish it to new blood. Who knows what will happen next. 

Paul Hemphill
PH
Paul Hemphill
1 year ago

To borrow from baseball great Yogi Berra, predictions are difficult – especially about the future. Quo Vadis Israel?
.The left are quite demoralised, with the tradional left wing parties almost eliminated in the Knesset. As the four recent elections have shown, the electorate is finely balanced between progressives on one side and ultranationalist and extreme religious on the other. But Netanyahu has the numbers, hitherto a canny politician, he is so eager to be pm – not the least, to keep himself out if the courtroom – that he’s had to deal with these racist and fundamentalist ratbags with who he has very little in common. The new ministers will effectively run set the tone and the rules of play for the whole military and security system, including the settlements, which does not bode well for the Palestinians (although groups like Hanna’s and Islamic Jihad see this as a “revolutionary moment” to be exploited – as demonstrated by the reset upswing of violence in the territories and the usual IDF disproportionate retaliation. I don’t agree with the anti-Israel left about “apartheid” and “parish status” – Israel is none of these, and nor do I believe there will be a third intifada, although the seeds are there. The IDF has the means to deter this – although it’s unearned and undeserved reputation as the “most moral army in the world” is in tatters – but it’s soldiers and importantly, it’s officers are coming increasingly under the influence of the ultranationalist chauvinists. Most Palestinians, especially the young and educated are crying out for new leadership, but the moribund and corrupt Palestinian Authority, and the brutal and corrupt Hamas have locked up power for themselves and will not relinquish it to new blood. Who knows what will happen next. 

Graeme McNeil
CS
Graeme McNeil
1 year ago

Netanyahu is nothing but a common thief and will do literally anything to try and avoid the justice that is coming his way.
It won’t work, even with the criminals and lunatics he is trying to use to shield himself.
Israel deserves much better.

Paul Curtis
Paul Curtis
1 year ago
Reply to  Graeme McNeil

Dear Mr McNeil, I believe you are mistaken in claiming that Benjamin Netanyahu is “nothing but a common thief”. You are, of course referring to his ongoing court case which has attempted to end his political career (and any legacy he might have deserved). There are those who believe that the case against him is trivial at best and the evidence (cigars, ice cream, media approval) is pathetic considering the usual accepted level of enrichment when corruption triumphs. Justice coming his way? Is this remarkable intellect a criminal? If so, then surely, we must add Kennedy, Thatcher, Reagan, De Gaulle and few others to your common thieves list. Netanyahu is an unapologetic Israeli, Jewish nationalist. Is that his crime? He is also one of the architects of the flourishing high tech Israeli economy, the continuing advances in Israeli military superiority and an unprecedented series of peace agreements with formerly warmongering Arab states. The far-right minority elements of his new government do indeed present serious challenges (mainly because they truely reflect the complex cultures of modern Israeli society), but the elections prove that a significant amount of the public (including Arabs and Druze) trust him. I wish him well. You, Sir, should read more before you denigrate one of the most interesting and talented political figures of our time.

Paul Curtis
Paul Curtis
1 year ago
Reply to  Graeme McNeil

Dear Mr McNeil, I believe you are mistaken in claiming that Benjamin Netanyahu is “nothing but a common thief”. You are, of course referring to his ongoing court case which has attempted to end his political career (and any legacy he might have deserved). There are those who believe that the case against him is trivial at best and the evidence (cigars, ice cream, media approval) is pathetic considering the usual accepted level of enrichment when corruption triumphs. Justice coming his way? Is this remarkable intellect a criminal? If so, then surely, we must add Kennedy, Thatcher, Reagan, De Gaulle and few others to your common thieves list. Netanyahu is an unapologetic Israeli, Jewish nationalist. Is that his crime? He is also one of the architects of the flourishing high tech Israeli economy, the continuing advances in Israeli military superiority and an unprecedented series of peace agreements with formerly warmongering Arab states. The far-right minority elements of his new government do indeed present serious challenges (mainly because they truely reflect the complex cultures of modern Israeli society), but the elections prove that a significant amount of the public (including Arabs and Druze) trust him. I wish him well. You, Sir, should read more before you denigrate one of the most interesting and talented political figures of our time.

Graeme McNeil
Graeme McNeil
1 year ago

Netanyahu is nothing but a common thief and will do literally anything to try and avoid the justice that is coming his way.
It won’t work, even with the criminals and lunatics he is trying to use to shield himself.
Israel deserves much better.

Liam O'Mahony
LO
Liam O'Mahony
1 year ago

I would take issue with several points in the article, namely:
1. Israel a state? Isn’t just an occupying force? Was German occupied Belgium for instance a German state? and occupied Poland, NL?
2. Israel a democracy? This is a joke surely? was apartheid South Africa a democracy?
Does a democracy override its own judiciary?
3. Can a democracy be run by religion? and now by religious extremists? If so then maybe Iran is a democracy as well is it?
4. Is Palestine a state? there seems to be no suggestion that it is. Of course the great myth is perpetuated that Palestine never existed at all!
5. Is Israel legitimate in any real sense when it flouts UN declarations and had no international support other than from the US and US lackeys?
6. What kind of regime bombs homes, tortures and kills children and steals land? Surely this is merely Pol Pot light? a festering sore on the rear end of humanity’s worst sude?

Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
1 year ago

I would take issue with several points in the article, namely:
1. Israel a state? Isn’t just an occupying force? Was German occupied Belgium for instance a German state? and occupied Poland, NL?
2. Israel a democracy? This is a joke surely? was apartheid South Africa a democracy?
Does a democracy override its own judiciary?
3. Can a democracy be run by religion? and now by religious extremists? If so then maybe Iran is a democracy as well is it?
4. Is Palestine a state? there seems to be no suggestion that it is. Of course the great myth is perpetuated that Palestine never existed at all!
5. Is Israel legitimate in any real sense when it flouts UN declarations and had no international support other than from the US and US lackeys?
6. What kind of regime bombs homes, tortures and kills children and steals land? Surely this is merely Pol Pot light? a festering sore on the rear end of humanity’s worst sude?