Is Israel’s Netanyahu an imperialist?

Controversial Israeli politician Benjamin Netanyahu has returned to power as leader of the most rightwing government in Israel’s history.

Israel is governed by a multiparty parliamentary system, and Netanyahu stitched together a coalition of ultranationalist and religious parties. The Associated Press says (here), “The new government has promised to curb the power of the country’s independent judiciary and expand illegal settlements in the occupied West Bank that will deepen the conflict with the Palestinians.”

His coalition includes the ultra-Orthodox community, who want the government to subsidize their Torah-study lifestyle, and Zionists who “have a utopian vision for Israel as a religious nation ruling over a large territory from the Mediterranean Sea to the Jordan River,” a Newsweek op-ed writer says.

Neither group represents Israeli society, but they’ll have outsize influence over national policy under Netanyahu’s new government. Marc Schulman, the op-ed writer, warns, “The goals of the ultra-Orthodox and religious Zionist parties endanger the long-term viability of the state of Israel as both a Jewish and democratic state, as well as undermining the economic foundations that have made the country a success. (Read it here).

He adds, “As the new government in Israel came together over the past few weeks, it has become increasingly apparent that the traditional political divide between the Right and Left is no longer relevant; instead, the new divide seems to be the one separating the liberal view from an extremely religious one.”

Schulman continues, “Both the ultra-Orthodox and Religious Zionist groups believe that they are following the word of God, and therefore their actions must be correct. As a result, both groups are intransigent in their core beliefs.” Sounds a little familiar, doesn’t it? A lot like American religious politics, but on rocket fuel.

If the Zionists push for annexation of the West Bank, that’s a recipe for war. Yesterday CNN reported that Jordan’s king is warning Netanyahu about “red lines” (see story here). Meanwhile, Newsweek reported in another story (here) that Israeli may be preparing to invade Lebanon to fight another war against Hezbollah.

It looks like trouble is coming to the Middle East.

Return to The-Ave.US Home Page

Comments are closed.