The rise of the Judeans

Israeli writer Bernard Avishai writes in the Nation on why his country is moving further and further to the right:

The problem is not some spontaneous drift “to the right” in Israel owing to, say, Hamas’s missiles or Ahmadinejad’s threats. Israel, after all, has been integrating these territories for forty years; Hamas did not even exist during the first twenty. Of course Israelis distrust Arab intentions, and vice versa…Polls have shown for many years that a slight majority of Israelis would want to do a deal anyway–actually, a large majority of globalist professional and entrepreneurial elites in greater Tel-Aviv. Assume peace with Palestine, and the lives of Israelis on the coastal plain will change, if at all, for the better. The problem is that the Israeli population of greater Tel-Aviv is a decreasing majority relative to Jewish settlers and Orthodox residents of Jerusalem–call them “Judeans”–and the less well-educated Mizrahi and ultranationalist Russian immigrants who tend to support them. The Israeli right does not oppose a deal the way residents of New Hampshire oppose an income tax. For them, Greater Israel and a policy of deterrence is a way of life, inextricably bound up with sustaining a “Jewish” state–not only against Palestine but in spite of Israel’s Arab minority, a fifth of its citizens.

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