Has Israel gone to the religious right? - Comment - Israel News | Haaretz Daily Newspaper
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    • mpdiamond
    • 26.12.12 | 16:41 (IST)

    Israel is a democratic state. The religious element in Israel has had an overly strong hand on Israeli social affairs from day one, as a result of what I believe to have been a mistaken but perhaps necessary (at the time Israel's survival was in jeapardy) compromise at the time of Israel's formation. What that did was give senior Rabbinical types much too much power over internal affairs such as marriage. The impact on the political scene however comes from a different direction, that being the system of proportional representation in Israel which has created a tendency for social groups such as the religious Jews, as well as the Muslims, to support individual parties which then end up with far too much influence given the political realities. A third factor affecting the outlook of the Israeli electorate is the experiences with the surrounding Arab countries and non-states over the past 65 years since Israel became a state. THose experiences have pushed the electorate from where it started- a largely socialistic, left wing, union oriented and peace oriented electorate, to what today would be regarded as a right wing, pragmatic, and more aggressive electorate which is leading to a higher level of support for right wing parties. This swing to the right is not permanent- this is, after all, a democracy and the experience of the Israelis will dictate future voting outcomes. But for now, what do you expect when a nascent country has to defend itself over and over again, has experienced more terrorism per capita than any country on earth, has given back territory multiple times without gaining real peace, and which continues to be under existential threat such that it must conscript its young people into its army in order to survive? Major swings over time in voter outcomes in democracies take place for reasons. The reasons here are obvious. And the origins of the majority of the swing are not religious based.

    from the article: Israel remains an 'island of stability' among hostile Islamist movements
    First published 19:32 21.12.12 | Last updated 19:32 21.12.12
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