How Did Religious Jews Become the Most Enthusiastic Supporters of the Occupation?

Violence and plunder were always anathema in Judaism. What went wrong?

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Palestinian workers cross illegally into Israel from the West Bank, in a 2020 photo. Every mention of Palestinian suffering is seen as harmful to the state.
Palestinian workers cross illegally into Israel from the West Bank, in a 2020 photo. Every mention of Palestinian suffering is seen as harmful to the state.Credit: Oded Balilty / AP
Mikhael Manekin
Mikhael Manekin
Mikhael Manekin
Mikhael Manekin

There is a growing realization in recent years that the occupation is not temporary, but a military subjugation that has lasted for more than half a century and whose end is not visible on the horizon. The prolongation of the occupation affects the freedom of millions of people and is dismantling the collective identity of an entire nation. And the more entrenched it becomes, the more it is perceived as a substantive feature of Israel, hence resistance to it is perceived as resistance to the very existence of the state. Every mention of the Palestinians’ suffering is seen as harmful to the state.

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