The Ascendance of Israel's Radical Right

The Ascendance of Israel's Radical Right

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The Israeli people were stunned in 1984 when they learned of a barely averted plot to blow up five buses full of Arab passengers and an earlier attempt to blow up the Dome of the Rock, the holy Muslim mosque in Jerusalem. Even more shocking was the discovery that the terrorists in question were not a bizarre radical sect, but members of the Gush Emunim, "the Block of the Faithful," a fundamentalist group committed to establishing Jewish settlements in the West Bank. For the first time, Israelis had to confront the fact that the rise of the Radical Right--and the religious fundamentalism, extreme nationalism, and aggressive anti-Arab sentiment associated with it--was becoming a significant part of the nation's public life.
The first book to examine the origins, convictions, and political impact of the entire Radical Right, The Ascendance of Israel's Radical Right provides extraordinary insights into a political camp whose influence pervades Israeli politics and culture as well as Arab-Israeli relations. Sprinzak traces the Zionist roots of the Radical Right and its reemergence following the Six-Day War and the Camp David accords. He examines the increasing control of the Radical Right over the settlements in the West Bank, its penetration of more moderate parties such as Likud and the National Religious Party, and its reaction to the Intafada and the Persian Gulf Crisis. With in-depth portraits of the major movements--including the Tehiya, Tzomet, and Moledet parties, Gush Emunim, and the late Meir Kahane and his Kach party, and various underground or terrorist groups--he sheds new light on the people and events which produce such intense fervor and on their political beliefs--for instance, the views that Arabs should be "transferred" from the occupied territories and that Israel was founded to establish a safe home for the Jews, not to protect the human rights of the Palestinians. Sprinzak argues that approximately 20 to 25 percent of Israeli citizens share the convictions of the Radical Right, and that it is especially strong among the young. Indeed, as the message of this camp spreads throughout the country, Sprinzak predicts that the Radical Right's impact on Israeli politics and national security will only increase.
As The Ascendance of Israel's Radical Right shows, the Radical Right is not--as is often thought--a small lunatic fringe, but a major school of Israeli Zionism, whose ideas are propagated by sophisticated and thoughtful leaders with large public appeal. Understanding what the Radical Right has already achieved, and how it is currently shaping much of Israel's government agenda is important for every Israeli and Arab, as well as anyone who is concerned with the future of the Middle East.
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Product details

  • Hardback | 409 pages
  • 160.02 x 236.22 x 35.56mm | 839.14g
  • Oxford University Press Inc
  • New York, United States
  • English
  • 019505086X
  • 9780195050868

About Ehud Sprinzak

About the Author: Ehud Sprinzak has been teaching political science at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem since 1972. He is Israel's leading authority on extremist politics, violence, and terrorism.
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