The settlers are by no means neo-Zionists. They represent the old fashion right wing, the one that still dreams of colonizing Eretz Israel Hashlema (the great land of Israel). Netanyahu was supposed to be their natural leader, but even he is drifting in the neo-Zionist direction, leaving them without real political leadership. Liberman himself, a settler and a right-wing man, has very little support in the settlements, and he is subject to repeated attacks from the extreme-right.
Other neo-Zionists organizations are the student movment Im Tirzu (×× ×ª×¨×¦×• “if you wish”), who even call themselves “the second Zionist revolution”, and the right wing publishing house Shalem Center, who is sponsored by Billioner Sheldon Adelson and is influenced, and sometimes linked, to the American neo-cons (I will try to add more about the relations between neo-cons and neo-Zionists in the future).
If you understand this new idea – of linking a future retreat from the West Bank with a strengthening of the Jewish nature of the state, at the expanse of its democratic and liberal nature – you can understand many current political developments, such as Netanyahu’s pre-condition to negotiations with the Palestinians: that they recognize Israel as a Jewish state.
The American neo-cons never really recovered from the Iraq war, and with the end of the Bush Administration their influence was severely damaged. But in Israel, neo-Zionism’s finest hour is still ahead. While many of the neo-Zionists are not racists themselves, racist tendencies in the Israeli society provide them with popular support, and as Israelis feel ever more isolated and intimidated, more ideas, regulations and laws that threaten the Arabs’ rights are introduced into the public debate. This process is likely to go on for sometime.
Forget the struggle between Right and Left (it’s easy, the Left doesn’t really exist anymore). The ideological battle of the future in Israel is between a Jewish-Arab post Zionist coalition, and a “Jews only” neo-Zionist side. This fight has only just began.