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Today, with hostility being shown from the Arabs, the Jews believe that they can live through these times if they continue to stick together with the Zionistic principles and values. Any change in the current political policies from the Israeli side, such as withdrawal from the occupied territories, is hard to imagine (Ram Uri, 1994).
The political culture in Israel is also facing another major contradiction of the role of religion in politics. The Israeli constitution holds all citizens equal as in the traditional liberal philosophy. Similarly, secular Zionist philosophy claims Israel to be a Jewish state where Jews are able to live their life in accordance to the values free from any discrimination. In the beginning, a balance had been reached between the state and religion. Where the state were to follow secular laws and build political institutions while overlooking religious realities and its bureaucracy. In recent years, the rightwing political parties along with the orthodox Jews, however, have become politically active asking for a more proactive role of religion in law-making. Colin (2008; pg 5) writes that the Israeli government, "decriminalized homosexuality and prevented discrimination on the shop floor. By 1997, such issues were permitted to be discussed on television and in 2000 the age of consent was lowered to sixteen. Both Islamist Arabs and ultra-orthodox Jews in Israel opposed activities such as the Gay Pride parade in Jerusalem."
Many scholars have argued that the aims and objectives of the Israeli establishment are in complete contradiction to the goals of the peace process that was established in the 1992 Oslo Accord. The same can be said about the other party too, which has time and again called for complete annihilation of Israel from the map of the world. With such hardliners taking control of policy making on both sides, any effort to bring about a change in the current political climate of Middle East will fail to materialize. The Israelis will continue to expand their settlements in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, as well as, the Golan heights. The use of brutal force and naked aggression will continue against the Palestinians. Any thing less than this will be seen not only as a derailment from the Zionist ideology but also betrayal of the Jewish people. The 6-day war gave a permanent license to the hawkish state elements to regroup and redefine their ideology and bring it in line with their political aims and objectives (Gordon Haim, 1995).
The opposition, though greatly outnumbered, argues that only a radical shift from current state policies will bring back to Zionist ideology into the realm of things; and that leadership, in the past four decades, has done very little to advance the ambitions of the Jewish people. Colin (2008; pg 10) writes, "A central aim of Zionism was to safeguard the existence of the Jewish people from physical extinction and persecution on the one hand, and assimilation and disintegration on the other. The establishment of a state of Israel in the Land of Israel in 1948 was the most prominent realization of Zionism. A probable majority of the world's Jews identify with Israel as a spiritual centre - unlike any other diaspora and their mother country. Still others would argue that Zionism was more than the transient desire for a state, but the ideal to build a perfect society."
The ideological defragmentation of the Israeli society is now evident and what once became its source of unification, the Zionist ideology, seems to have outlived its days and is currently being overstretched by the political and military establishment. The people of Israel have come a long way to realize that peace with their neighbors cannot be dictated by use of force; and that concrete steps, towards reconciliation and compromise, have got to be taken to bring about any radical political and social change.
Ateek Naim Stifan. Justice and Only Justice: A Palestinian Theology of Liberation. Maryknoll, NY: Orbis Books, 1989.
Boulding Elise, ed. Building Peace in the Middle East: Challenges for States and Civil Society. Boulder, CO: Lynne Rienner Publishers, 1994.
Buber Marin. I and Thou. Translated by Ronald Gregor Smith. New York: Scribner's, 1958.
Colin Shindler, a History of Modern Israel, Cambridge University Press, New York, paperback edition 2008, pp 1-50
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