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December 12, 1986 - Image 45

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1986-12-12

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

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solvable debate over Israel's
identity." Political debate in
Israel focussed less on con-
ventional issues such as eco-
nomic policy and social jus-
tice than on questions relat-
ing to the state's ideological
and political boundaries, its
security, the status of the
occupied territories and, he
adds, more recently the rela-
tionship between Jewishness
and democracy.
Asserting that the decline
of the Arab military threat
has unleashed "a flood of
petty political feuds and bi-
blical visionaries," the Arab
scholar warns that although
it is free from the threat of
war, "Israel will face a differ-
ent major threat if it fails to
maintain the minimum de-
gree of unity needed to keep
its democracy functioning."
The most visible polariza-
tion, he asserts, is along
ethnic lines, between the
Ashkenazi Jews of European
origin and the Sephardim
from North Africa and Asia,
although, he notes, all of the
major ideological currents the
divided Askenazi leaders ar-
ticulate find populist support
among the Sephardim.
The non-Labor elements,
according to el-Khazan, di-
vide into two major currents:
one comprising the messianic,
religious-based parties, in-
cluding the West Bank
settlers, and the other the
more conventional right-wing
parties.

For the Sephardim who
support the Likud, settling
Judea and Samaria is, ac-
cording to el-Khazan, perhaps
the least of their conerns.
"Before settling Palestinian
territory, they would like to
settle their own state and
gain more of the political and
economic pie," he avers.
Their aim, he asserts, is "to
carve out a place in a society
they perceive to be dominated
by a group — the
Ashkenazim — who disdain
them as much as they hate
the Arabs. They seek not to
settle Jewish biblical land
but to crown their own kings
of Israel and to dismantle the
'arrogant' Ashkenazi repub-
lic and its 'unjust' state."
As for Israeli youth, el-
Khazan discerns a trend to
the right among them. "Not
only is the political socializa-
tion of the younger genera-
tion different from that of
their elders," he claims, "but
their frame of reference is no
longer the past — the War of
Independence of 1948, or the
need to strengthen the coun-
try's security or to find ways
to integrate new immigrants.
"Rather, their benchmark
is the present. For them, Is-
rael is no longer a refuge
from European anti-Semitism
or a utopia for Jewish auto-
emancipation. Instead, it is
an independent country pro-
tected by a strong army and
in de facto possession of
Palestinian territories."

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