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The new Jewish state in the Levant: A fanatics-led nuclear power

Israel is about to get the most extreme government in the country’s history. But there are limits to what it can do.

Israel’s colonial democracy has given birth to a potentially more extreme type of ‘Jewish state’ akin to a more sophisticated and modern version of the ‘Islamic state’. But unlike ISIL which was conceived in and defeated by war, Israel is the only nuclear power in the Middle East today.

The fanatics, fascists, and far-right fantasists, who won this week’s elections in Israel, are about to form the most openly extreme government in the country’s history. It is sure to include the Jewish state’s new rising star Itamar Ben-Gvir — a violence-spewing, Palestinian-hating radical on whose support the government will stand.

A majority of religious nationalists and ultraorthodox parties in government, the first in Israel’s history, would want to transform the Jewish state towards a theocracy that lives by the Halacha (Jewish law) and finish colonising the entirety of Palestine, come what may.

But could they? What can they do in reality that their predecessors have not done already, in terms of exacting death and destruction, and further expanding the illegal Jewish settlement in Palestine?

Benjamin Netanyahu, who will likely form and lead the new coalition government, knows from his experience as Israel’s longest-serving prime minister that there is a limit on how far Israel can go before it starts to meet fierce Palestinian and Arab resistance. Any further, and Israel could also lose support in Europe and the United States; support that is indispensable to its security and regional standing.

He has previously preferred incremental steps to radical measures that could alienate Israel’s main backers and its new regional partners. Netanyahu may therefore try to curb his partners’ eagerness to annex the occupied West Bank and ethnically cleanse it of its Palestinian inhabitants.

But then again, it is doubtful whether he will be able to tame these religious fanatics, knowing all too well they have a hold over the survival of his premiership; his only guarantee to stay out of prison, after having been indicted for serious corruption charges.

I think the genie is finally out of the bottle.

The elections have opened a Pandora’s box that may well take Israelis to the dark side. They have exposed the fragility of Israel’s peculiar liberality as a colonial state, and unmasked the p

ervasive fanaticism among the majority of the electorate after decades of unfettered military occupation.

The unruly pronouncements of Netanyahu’s scandalous new partners reflect the prevailing beliefs among the majority of Israel’s right-wing parties, including his own Likud, that have ruled the country for the past few decades. But now that they are boasting of Jewish supremacy out in the open, it is harder for Netanyahu’s hasbara to conceal their — or his — racism from the rest of the world.

After all, it was Bibi, as Netanyahu is known, who back in August midwifed the union of two or three small fanatic parties, to ensure they maximise the number of their seats and join his future coalition government. They did exceedingly well: The Religious Zionist Party won 14 seats. Its legislators include Ben-Gvir.

Netanyahu’s two other coalition partners, the ultraorthodox Jewish parties, Shas and UJT, which are as socially regressive and politically fanatic, won 18 seats. Together with the 32 far-right Likud members, they command a comfortable like-minded majority of 64 seats in the 120-member Knesset……………………. more


November 3, 2022 - Posted by | Israel, politics

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