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Fri Dec 28, 2012, 07:49 AM

The success of Naftali Bennett is the failure of the Israeli center-left

I am a despairing Israeli voter, I tell Habayit Hayehudi chairman Naftali Bennett. I am not lunatic left, but I believe in the kind of enlightened Zionism that is now going down the drain. I believe in the Jewish and democratic state that is evaporating. And I believe in the partition of the land, which you are trying to put a stop to. Plus, when I see the limpness and the wretchedness in my own camp and the energy and momentum in yours, I am horrified.

What can you, Naftali Bennett, tell me and people like me who see the end of our Israel in the rise of your Israel? Can you persuade me and my readers that you do not herald the end of the state we have so loved?

Since becoming a political star, Bennett, 40, has gained a bit of weight. After a long day of tiring campaign appearances, he sits across from me at a cafe somewhere in the center of the country. He orders a spicy Asian dish and types a fast facebook status on his laptop - in support of Avigdor Lieberman and against the State Prosecutor's Office. Then he looks at me with the eyes of a dedicated troop leader in the Bnei Akiva national religious youth movement, and tries to assuage my concerns.

"Zionism arose thanks to secularism," he says. "The dogmatic religious establishment in the Diaspora was not capable of initiating Zionism without Herzl's secular involvement. But secular Zionism was an existential Zionism that saw the state of the Jews as a refuge state.

http://www.haaretz.com/weekend/week-s-end/the-success-of-naftali-bennett-is-the-failure-of-the-israeli-center-left.premium-1.490536

Hopefully this won't be inaccessible. I got access to the whole article via Google news.

12 replies, 1110 views

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Response to oberliner (Original post)

Fri Dec 28, 2012, 08:26 AM

1. It's the demographics, just like here in the USA.

Been going on for twenty years now.

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Response to oberliner (Original post)

Fri Dec 28, 2012, 09:37 AM

2. Demographics are destiny. In the US, it means a more liberal country.

In Israel, it means a rightwing religious/nationalist country.

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Response to geek tragedy (Reply #2)

Fri Dec 28, 2012, 09:51 AM

3. "In Israel, it means a rightwing religious/nationalist country."


Well, at least they'll have company in the nations that surround them in that regard. Too bad.

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Response to R. Daneel Olivaw (Reply #3)

Fri Dec 28, 2012, 09:59 AM

5. You can thank the U.S. for that

We still prop up the Saudis with "stimulus" in the form of new military bases and pork construction projects.

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Response to nauthiz (Reply #5)

Fri Dec 28, 2012, 10:29 AM

7. There's always more money to prop up the status quo (corrupt regime or bad democracy) instead of


actually demanding change.

"They may be a son of a bitch, but they're our son of a bitch."

Paraphrase from FDR on Somoza

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Response to R. Daneel Olivaw (Reply #3)

Fri Dec 28, 2012, 10:05 AM

6. Ironically, it once would have been possible to have two secular, modern

states there--the Palestinians could easily have gone that route themselves if they had better leadership and hadn't been treated so roughly by Israel and its lovely neighbors.

Instead, we get a creeping apartheid system combined with a retrograde Islamist bent in the opposition.

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Response to geek tragedy (Reply #6)

Fri Dec 28, 2012, 10:43 AM

8. Perhaps. They could also have had several low scale wars as India and Pakistan had.

They might also have realized that their futures were entwined and put aside differences, but again we will never know.

What we have today is a complete mess, and the USA and Western powers are responsible for it just as much as Israel is.

If the West really wanted to reign in Israel it could.


I agree with the use of the term apartheid, but it is a contentious issue in I/P that some will deny as long as possible.
The other side of the equation are groups like Hamas. They are the product and answer to years oppression. I don't condone anything they do since there are no liberal voices within their organization to make a difference.

The far right of Israel and that of the Palestinians deserve each other.

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Response to R. Daneel Olivaw (Reply #8)

Fri Dec 28, 2012, 12:24 PM

10. Amen

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Response to oberliner (Original post)

Fri Dec 28, 2012, 09:58 AM

4. Well first off you already derided yourself

with the silly phrase "lunatic left" which pretty much tells me everything I need to know in how the left is becoming irrelevant in Israel and how the far right will flourish. Zionism is a right wing concept so it fits better into the right side of the spectrum, which is probably why Labour and many of the other left wing politicians sound no different than their right wing counterparts when it comes to issues most Israelis probably care about. If your country is gripped in constant fear, anger, and right wing propaganda, with meaningless one sentence slogans thrown about, then the far right will gain hold. It's inevitable. Maybe one day we'll see a final solution for the West Bank.

It really isn't just Israel. It's all over the world. The left doesn't break the old paradigm, and believes basically what the right wing believes but doesn't actually want to go through with what those beliefs would cause one to do.

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Response to nauthiz (Reply #4)

Fri Dec 28, 2012, 11:47 AM

9. Zionism is definitely not a "right-wing concept"

The majority of early Zionists were left-wing Socialists.

And I did not use the term "lunatic left" - it was just used by the author of the Ha'aretz article.

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Response to oberliner (Reply #9)

Fri Dec 28, 2012, 01:47 PM

11. True that in it's birth Zionism was a Leftist/socialist concept

however these days in its actualization via the settlements it has become rightwing for many, all things change over time

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Response to oberliner (Original post)

Fri Dec 28, 2012, 03:17 PM

12. The success of Naftali Bennet along with Moshe Feiglin seems more a

barometer of Israeli society than any failure of the Left or Center Left

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