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Is Israel inching closer to fascism?

Talking to Al-Monitor, professor Zeev Sternhell warns that the values of democracy and liberalism, on which the State of Israel was founded, are being eroded by the nationalistic approach of the Israeli right.
Right-wing activists hold Israeli national flags during a demonstration calling on the Israeli government to take action against recent violence in Jerusalem July 1, 2015.  REUTERS/Ronen Zvulun  - RTX1INCU
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Maj. Gen. Yair Golan, deputy chief of staff of the Israel Defense Forces, spoke about trends in Israeli society reminiscent of the dark European era between the world wars at a May 4 event marking Holocaust Remembrance Day, the start of an emotional and special period in which Israelis remember the Holocaust, honor their war dead (May 11) and celebrate their independence (May 12). Almost at the same time, the prime minister of Israel once again pointed to the anti-Semitic phenomena in the world and the Middle East, saying they remind him of the dark era that preceded the 1930s in Europe.

Israeli society is not an amorphous place; the prime minister is the one who bears ultimate responsibility for the shape it is in. He himself demonizes his country’s minorities. He is the one who entrusted the education of Israeli children to a political party (right-wing HaBayit HaYehudi) that believes the biblical designation of “chosen people” justifies trampling the dignity and basic rights of millions of other people. And so, the words of Golan could be interpreted as an arrow directed at Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. No wonder Netanyahu claimed Golan’s remarks were “fundamentally incorrect.”

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