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Netanyahu versus Israel

The gatekeepers of Israel’s democracy are engaged in a dramatic battle against the camp of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for the future of the state and the society.
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A quiet war is being waged in Israel. No firearms are employed, even though the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) are involved. And none of Israel’s external enemies are involved. Nevertheless, both of the warring sides view this struggle as an existential one, a real fight for survival, which is being waged within the very heart of the Jewish state. It is a struggle of the Old Israel versus the New Israel. It is a war between Israel’s original Liberal-Zionist-secular statesmanship with the values on which it was established 70 years ago versus a more religious Israel, a more conservative and traditional mindset that is less liberal and also far less democratic. This newer Israel is now trying to exploit its electoral assets into the power to rule. A one-sentence summary: a war between everything that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu symbolizes, and everyone else.

Netanyahu’s first term of office, which began in 1996, ended traumatically. Netanyahu was deposed from power in 1999 by the old elites, the media and the public. In his years outside the system, Netanyahu understood that in order to remain in power and establish himself, he would need to take matters into his own hands. In other words: to forcefully take control of positions of power and all key positions from which his enemies could fight him. Netanyahu crafted a detailed program to realize this goal, in incremental stages. The plan was first launched hesitantly, step after step. But as time went on, the pace of its implementation quickened.

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