May 24, 2019

How and Why Israelis Vote

“Twenty years ago, in the post-Oslo 1990s, an Israeli voter knew where he or she stood.

The left had its narrative: give the Palestinians what they want and what they deserve—independence from Israel—and they will reciprocate with the only thing most Israelis want in return: to separate and to be left alone. And who knows? Maybe an end to occupation will drive a deeper kind of peace and reconciliation.

The right had its narrative: the land being proposed for independent Palestine is the heartland of Jewish history. It is also a necessary centerpiece of Israeli security, its rolling hills reaching nearly to the Mediterranean and protecting the country’s major population centers from any enemy effort to cut Israel in half in a future war. Israel (the right’s narrative continued) cannot afford, and the demands of historical justice do not require, that it abandon these West Bank highlands for the left’s fantasy of reconciliation with a deeply anti-Semitic and irredeemably violent Palestinian national movement—as was evidenced in those days by the handful of Palestinian suicide bombs detonating each year in Israel’s cities.”

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