Skip to content

Bitterness, Cynicism Don’t Work Well

Here, or in Israel:

 A poll publicized in Haaretz last week found that more than half the Israelis who vote for left-leaning parties (54.4%, to be pedantic) “would leave the country if they could.” That’s twice the rate of right-wing voters.

According to the survey, it is the economy, rather than politics, that accounts most for the discontent of those who wish to leave. There is a paradox here. As a group, leftists are richer and better schooled than right-wingers. Yet we worry more about our future and, especially, our kids’ futures. That is part of the reason most of us confide to a pollster on the phone that, yeah, we may pack up and move out.

Emigration remains more notional than actual, though, kind of like Sean Penn threatening to move to Cuba, or whatever.  Still, it looks as though, in the absence of a positive message, the Israeli left is missing an opportunity:

So what does any of this mean? First, Israeli society is much more complicated than the usual media portrayal of “western” liberals trying to contain their country’s religious fanatics; in reality, many religious Zionists in Israel are as concerned with peace and security as their liberal counterparts. Second, while the Israeli right wing clearly isn’t chomping at the bit to divide Jerusalem or withdraw from the West Bank, many of its members are acting not out of mere zealotry, but out of sincere concern for the ability of Palestinians to deliver peace.

In truth, the weakness of Israeli liberals stems not from the strength of the Israeli right wing but from the weakness of Palestinian moderates, for whom it is very difficult to propose a suitable peace while retaining legitimacy in Palestinian politics. As is clear from the latter poll, many in Israel believe the Palestinians are simply unable to deliver on a land-for-peace deal.

Posted in Overseas.