What exactly is the nature of the Jewish state that is thus endangered? It has become clear in recent years that Israel’s drive to separate the two peoples is not meant as penance for its crimes of forty years. The desire for separation results rather from the evaporation of the Zionist ethos. This ethos once embraced all Jewish citizens of the state, but it has shriveled to embrace the successful alone. From a nation for all its Jews, Israel has become a nation for all its rich. The classes that have lost strength in recent years, such as workers who could not make the transition to high-tech, or those displaced by foreign labor, or single mothers, have become a burden on the state (that is, on the rich), just as the Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank are a burden. Israel seeks a model for separating from the Palestinians, while it employs a neoliberal model to separate from its own poor. Recently, for instance, the Olmert government faced the longest and most militant teachers’ strike in the country’s history.
Criticism of the government is concentrated on two levels. The first is political, focusing on its inability to bring the peace that alone can secure the continuation of the Jewish State. The second level is that of class conflict. The same Jewish State, which once symbolized job security and a homeland for most of its citizens, is breaking up before their eyes. It has detached itself from the workers and the poor. In a nation that lacks both physical and economic security, we cannot expect solidarity.