To judge by the news reaching the U.S., Israel is a country lurching inexorably to the right. The New York Times recently published an article with the headline, “Emboldened Israeli Right Presses Moves to Doom 2-State Solution.”
A week later, the Times ran an opinion column that asked, rhetorically, “Is Liberal Zionism Dead?” and analogized Israel’s conduct in the West Bank to the Jim Crow South. “It’s impossible to say how long Israel could sustain such a system,” Michelle Goldberg wrote. “But the dream of liberal Zionism would be dead. Maybe, with the far right in power both here [in the U.S.] and there, it already is.”
The Economist agrees. “Politics in Israel,” a headline proclaimed not long ago, “is increasingly nationalistic.
It is true that Israel’s right, which is traditionally less inclined to make concessions to the Palestinians for a peace deal, feels little pushback from once powerful but now anemic peace-seeking political left. Politicians like Naftali Bennett, the leader of the religious Jewish Home party who serves as education minister, continuously advocate that Israel annex significant portions of the West Bank, in large measure because he thinks that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is vulnerable from the right in the next elections.