Friday, August 10, 2007

Right Turn

The strength of the hard right in Israel has been growing for years. And the mushy middle keeps going along for the ride.

New poll numbers prove this. Recently, and after much hesitation, the Israeli army helped evict illegal Jewish settlers from homes they had seized in the heart of Hebron. The settlers made this a cause celbre. Twelve soldiers refused orders to participate in the eviction, and are facing charges in military court. Now polls reveal that 45% of the Israeli public thinks the government was wrong to order the evacuations. Worse, fully 33% support the soldiers who refused to obey orders ! (For them apparently this is a moral issue that transcends democratic decision making and the need for army discipline.)

As if to emphasis this, the settler's old-new patron, right winger Bibi Netanyau, is leading the pack of candidates vying to replace Ehud Olmert as Prime Minister. 51% of Israelis think that Bibi is suitable to be Prime Minister, and 26% of them think he is very suitable. This is the same guy who did everything in his power to sabotage the Oslo agreements while PM in the late 1990s, and then out-Thachered Margret Thacher by turning the Israeli economy into a neo-liberal paradise complete with the second least egalitarian income distribution on the western world. The next most popular figure is Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni with 40%. Defence Minister Ehud Barak trails at a 36% suitability rating.



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