Ariel Center for Policy Research (ACPR)


ACPR Research Summary


Ideological Tyranny in the Guise of Democracy

Raya Epstein

Policy Paper No. 84, 1999

In the period of what is sarcastically called a "peace process", Israel finds itself a society divided and torn between the Left and the so-called "Right"; between those who claim to be enlightened liberals and those who are "nationalist", religious or "ultra-orthodox" (Haredi).

The first side speaks in the name of democracy and sees the purpose of its existence in defending democracy from the "Rightist fascists" and the religious clerical "fundamentalists", who endanger democracy's existence by virtue of their being defined as such. The opposing side tries, in the best case, to defend and justify itself and in the worst case, it internalizes the allegation of its own undemocratic nature. The Left links the undemocratic nature of the "Right" to its attachment to Judaism. The "Right" tries to prove that there is no structural contradiction between Judaism and democracy or failing that, accepts an absolute distinction between the two. Thus it is forced to choose between continuing to attach itself to Judaism while giving up democracy, or giving up Judaism in order to be acceptable from the democratic viewpoint.

The inevitable result of this division is that the "Right" can only be doomed to sweeping defeat in their powerless attempt to struggle against the constant, unceasing, brutal aggression on the part of those who hold the ministerial portfolio of Democracy. The first defeat took place with the victory of the Oslo Process which is leading to the establishment of a terrorist state in the heart of the Land of Israel. The next defeat appearing on the horizon and it will definitely take place if there is not a change of direction is abolition of the Zionist and Jewish character of the State of Israel. That is, transformation of Israel into "a state of all its citizens".

Recently, the trend, both in academic literature and in practice, towards portraying democracy as a comprehensive alternative to the Jewish and Zionist character of the State of Israel is becoming more and more apparent. Thus, anti-Zionist and, essentially anti-democratic circles use the concept "democracy" in order to destroy the character of the Jewish state which was established through an arduous and bitter struggle in the wake of the Holocaust. In contrast to other historical instances in which the manipulation of democratic tools led to the destruction of democracy, in the present Israeli circumstance, anti-democratic forces which portray themselves as the personification of democracy, employ democracy in a manner which not only brings on its own destruction but the destruction of the State of Israel as well. Thus, in an extremely consistent manner, the flight of Jews from Judaism in the Land of Israel, in direct, overt cooperation with the declared enemies of the Jewish people, finds its cruel expression.

          * This paper was written prior to the 1999 Israeli elections. 

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