Israel’s Rightward Drift

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Which way America will turn in November—Democrat or Republican, left or right—is still very up in the air. Israel, for its part, is in a clear rightward drift that only appears to be accelerating.

It turns out this week that the Israeli daily Maariv is getting bought out by Makor Rishon, a small right-wing paper. Maariv, something of an Israeli institution, first published back in February 1948 a few months before the modern state of Israel was declared, had been falling off badly in sales. Seventeen months ago the Israeli tycoon Nochi Dankner bought Maariv in an attempt to revive it—which failed.

Makor Rishon, which has a small, dedicated, opinionated readership, is owned by Shlomo Ben-Zvi, a British immigrant who lives in the Judea community of Efrat and is identified with the hawkish wing of Likud. It’s thought that Ben-Zvi, after completing the purchase of the centrist Maariv from Dankner, will merge the two papers, keep the Maariv brand name, but move the new, revised paper considerably to the right.

That will mean two of the four leading Israeli dailies that still have print editions—Maariv and Israel Hayom—will be right-of-center. Israel Hayom is a phenomenon in itself; first published five years ago and owned by American Jewish casino magnate (and Romney supporter) Sheldon Adelson, it’s handed out for free at street corners and train stations and quickly became Israel’s most popular daily, edging out left-of-center Yediot Aharonot and leaving the old, struggling Maariv and leftist Haaretz far behind.

On a personal note, it can be an exhilarating sight: Israelis on a train reading a paper that both reports the news fairly and gives top-notch conservative commentary on it.

The rise of Israel Hayom coincides with the 2009 election, and continuing high approval, of Likud prime minister Binyamin Netanyahu with his center-right coalition. The former, of course, did not cause the latter; but the two are complementary parts of the same phenomenon.

Also much-reported in Israel lately is the annual survey of a research outfit called the Israel Democracy Institute—some of the results of which are a leftist’s nightmare. The IDI found 50% of Israelis defining themselves as rightwing, 30% as centrist, and only 17% as leftwing. Just 22.5% said they expect a peace agreement to be signed with the Palestinians—reflecting a realistic appraisal of where things stand between Israel and the corrupt, dysfunctional, deeply anti-Israeli Palestinian Authority.

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  • PaulRevereNow

    After looking at the pictures in the link to Ynet News, I don't doubt that these rockets strike with the force of an artillery shell. Where do you go when your house is destroyed? And WHAT did the residents of Beersheba and Netivot do to deserve this? Israel is slowly drifting rightward? No surprise at all.

    • Roger

      That drive to survive eventually kicks in.

      • mlcblog

        Kind of like hunger meeting the backbone and causing a person to work for food somehow.

        • Roger


          Liberal progressives try to make sure no one ever experiences self reliance as a necessity.

  • Spinoneone

    Well, if Obama wins in November, Israel can't count on the U.S. for support. Thus, it would be a very good idea to make sure that the nation has all of the military supplies it might need for at least a 60 day battle. Israel certainly can't count on getting resupplied from the U.S. before January 2013, and, if 0 wins, not then either.

    • objectivefactsmatter

      "Israel certainly can't count on getting resupplied from the U.S. before January 2013, and, if 0 wins, not then either. "

      There truly is a silent majority regarding support for Israel versus Iran. At this point I think that Obama would have no other choice, even if he was able to drag his feet a little while "leading from behind" as usual (if leading at all).

  • Mladen Andrijasevic

     I cannot understand why the Israeli government does not make the effort to disseminate this paper by Matthias Küntzel delivered at Columbia University in 2008 to every foreign diplomat in Israel and every foreign correspondent. Why cannot they do a simple thing as that? The most absurd are the Israeli journalists who keep on discussing Iran without mentioning the Mahdi and the Twelvers.

    Matthias Küntzel – Antisemitism, Messianism and the Cult of Sacrifice:The Iranian Holy War

    • Stern

      Thanks for this excellent link. I agree, this paper should be required reading for all members of Western governments.

  • Stern

    Isn't it amusing (or should that be amazing) that as the Arab world drifts – or more correctly, explodes – towards their own right and religious leanings, the world applauds. Yet serious "commentators" in the Western world never fail to call Netanyahu and Likud "right wing" as if it's some kind of insult.

    • objectivefactsmatter

      "Isn't it amusing (or should that be amazing) that as the Arab world drifts – or more correctly, explodes – towards their own right and religious leanings, the world applauds. Yet serious "commentators" in the Western world never fail to call Netanyahu and Likud "right wing" as if it's some kind of insult."

      Because in the West, either explicitly or implicitly, Judeo Christian beliefs and morality are blamed for everything. Even Jihadi violence is blamed on "Christianity," which is based on Hebrew prophets and related texts.

      So there are no surprises here.

  • Asher

    Wake up People…it is time to stand up for Freedom. If you submit to tyranny…your children and generations to come will be subjected to far less than any of you ever experienced. I'm referring to standing up for and eminating true Conservative values and principles..not spoken words to get elected..and broken promises.

  • ziontruth

    The rightward drift began in October 2000, following the pre-1967 Arabs' joining of their post-1967 brothers in the rioting against the Jewish state. The Arabs' annihilationism has been the one potent engine behind the Israeli Jewish public's shift right.

    Netanyahu is still of the old guard, though. The anti-Zionists imagine him a right-wing fanatic, but he's a moderate that goes along with the Leftists' precepts as to "world opinion"—remember, he convinced his right-wing coalition members to support the destruction of Ulpana by telling them to "think of the International Court in the Hague." He is not yet the true Jewish leader the nation needs. Under his watch the rocket barrage on Jewish towns from Gaza has stayed unanswered. A true Jewish leader would give no heed to international "law"; he would give the order to begin carpet-bombing, as any sane nation caring for its peaceful existence would do.

    The rightward drift is significant, but its fruits are yet to be realized. You ain't seen nothing yet.

  • Atlas_Collins

    Who in America cares about the internal politics of a craphole little foreign country?

    I know I don't.

    • Roger

      Like Libya? I didn't.

      Yet our imperial president (dictator) swung into action without any congressional approval.
      And now our enemy al qaida has safe haven and oil revenues to fund it's actions.

      Notice all the muslim violence around Africa lately?

    • Drakken

      Because if Israel goes we are next, that is why.

    • Ghostwriter

      That's because you don't care period,Atlas_Collins.

    • objectivefactsmatter

      Israel is the prime example of America's ability to support justice outside its national borders. If you don't care about peace dominating over war, then you don't care about Israel. Or you are ignorant.

      Without American hegemony, the Hitlers of the world will keep coming and will cause far greater destruction as weapons of war become more effective.

      Successfully supporting Israel is a shining example of American justice and the fruits of its hegemony.

      This is obvious, unless you believe a pack of lies.

    • Indioviejo

      Your presence in this forum say the contrary, you are a liar.

    • @Castanza777

      NO Isreal, no Us, it is written. what Jesus told us of is all coming down as written, so Cursed is the nation that Curses Israel.It does not matter if the leaders act like children

  • Drakken

    It will be a great day when Israel qits screwing around with those savages in Gaza and pushes it into the sea and calls it day,what is the so called international community going to do? Take Israels birthday away?

    • objectivefactsmatter

      First the leadership in the USA and Israel must coordinate their explanations and justifications, offer deadlines and then destroy them completely for any failure to submit. Compromise is for reasonable rational enemies. They are neither. Some individual enemies might be salvageable but the culture must be destroyed.

  • WilliamJamesWard

    What can one say, it would be trendy to not exist at all and Israel become the largest ghost town
    on the planet, Heaven help you. All of the plight of Israel today was warned about a thousand
    times by conservatives who have had no illusions about leftist inversion of truth and the complete
    villany of Arafat. Today Israel must stop the charade of duped victim and put on the gloves,
    hardball is the game and complete victory over evil is the goal and nothing less can support
    a future peace. Expand the borders and defy the efete world of bullies………………..William

  • Lady_Dr.

    How refreshing, and what good news. The only real solution seems to be that of Dennis Miller (humorous in the tradition of Mark Twain) who suggested that someone drop 'the big Portobello' on a few of Israel's enemies.

  • Indioviejo

    Israel has courted friends since 1948 to little avail. Eventually, it must recognize they will never have a partner for peace unless it defeats them so completely as to have peace for at least 50 years. That's the way it is, so this is very welcomed news.