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If Israel’s prime minister Binyamin Netanyahu forms a new hard-right government, it will be a triumph for the politics of fear over socio-economics.
He created national security paranoia in the last days of a bitterly divisive election campaign. The coalition led by Likud will reinforce the ideological shift of a nation founded on the socialist-agrarian principles of the pre-war Yishuv (which implemented equality for all citizens, regardless of race, creed or political belief) to an insular society that resembles the Irish state of the mid 20th-century.
It also means the socio-economic and political preferences of nearly half of the electorate, who voted for the leftist coalition led by Herzog and Livni and the new Joint List of Arab parties, have been consigned to the periphery. Netanyahu cynically exploited the psyche of a nation that has lived in constant fear of destruction since its foundation in 1948. This will have profound implications for the nation, if Netanyahu stands by his pre-election pledge that a Palestinian state will not come into existence under his leadership. His alarmist and discriminatory focus on the voting pattern of Israeli-Arabs, who for the first time organised into an effective block vote, exhibited the worst discriminatory traits of France’s National Front, Britain’s UKIP and Greece’s Golden Dawn. This has traumatised many of my Israeli friends, who are proudly Zionist in their loyalty to a Jewish state, but also deeply committed to a just two-state solution to the tragedy of Israel-Palestine.
Dr. Kevin McCarthy
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