Will Israel become a «Russian-speaking state»?


(Photo — poster of the party «Our Home Israel»)

Vladimir Putin, speaking during the recent visit of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to Russia, openly stated: «Russian and Israeli citizens are connected by family, kinship and friendly ties. This is a real network, a common family, I can say without exaggeration! Almost 2 million Russian-speaking citizens of Israel live in this country. We consider Israel a «Russian-speaking state». It is no secret that a significant part of the establishment of the two «Russian-speaking states» — Russia and Israel — is a «common family». As for Russia, everything has been understood for a long time, but it is interesting how this is now manifested in Israel. This can be judged, in particular, by the results of the recent parliamentary elections, about which we have already written.

It is well known that the main battle in these elections was between Netanyahu’s Likud party and its main rival, the Blue and White Alliance led by former Chief of Staff Benny Gantz. Likud is right-wing and ultra-nationalist, and Gantz is sometimes portrayed as an internationalist, which is not the case — he is also a Jewish-Israeli nationalist, just pragmatic and understands that Netanyahu’s confrontational and adventurous policies are leading Israel and the Jews into a dead end.

The second most important issue is the «third force» that could determine the final political outcome, considering that neither Likud (32 mandates) nor Blue and White (33 mandates) can govern alone. Of course, we would like to see such a force as the Israeli Arabs, who did well in these elections. Theoretically, this would be possible if Blue and White, the Joint List, the Democratic Camp and the Labor party of former Prime Minister Ehud Barak formed a coalition. However, even such a bloc would only have the support of 56 Knesset members, which is 4 or ideally 5 mandates short of a majority of 120. Not to mention the fact that not all of these parties would dare to form a coalition with the Arab List in order not to risk a split and the loss of support from Jewish voters.

Against this background, the influence of another «third party» — the «Russian» party — is growing. It is no secret that before every election, Netanyahu travels to Moscow to secure the support of «Russian Jews» and demonstrates meetings with Putin. But this time it may not be enough. The fact is that the interests of «Russian Jews» in Israeli politics are represented by their own party — «Our Home Israel», apparently named in analogy to the once ruling party «Our Home Russia» in another «Russian-speaking state». This party, led by Avigdor Lieberman, was for a long time an important part of Netanyahu’s coalition. And all was well for them until the interests of the «Russian Jews» clashed with the interests of the «real» Jews — the Orthodox Jews.

The latter, represented by a number of relatively small religious Zionist parties, including the radical ones, became significantly stronger precisely under Netanyahu’s rule, as we have written before. to the point where some of their representatives began to talk about turning Israel into a religious state, where judges would make decisions based on Halacha — Jewish religious law. And that became the stumbling block. Because if among the first immigrants from the USSR there were many romantic Zionists, some of whom joined the religious camp, then today the main contingent of «Russian Jews» in Israel are typical post-Soviet people with corresponding attitudes.

The main thing they don’t like about Israel is that there are too many Arabs and… too many Jews, or rather religious Jews. The latter annoy them because they wear their «medieval» clothes, impose their own rules, do not allow eating pork and live «normally» on Shabbat (Saturday), are exempt from military service (those who study Judaism in religious schools), and also «multiply at their expense», i.e. have many children and receive benefits for it. In short, the demands of the «Russians» on the real Jews in Israel are, strangely enough, not very different from their demands on the Arabs in France or the Turks in Germany.

The Soviet person is irritated by the fact that someone can celebrate, eat, and wear his own, religious holidays, food, and clothing instead of the «normal» ones, even if he is a Jew in a Jewish state. That is why Lieberman eventually left Netanyahu’s coalition, in which the religious parties began to set the tone.

Now, as a result of the elections, it turns out that Netanyahu cannot form a parliamentary majority with the religious parties. And it is here that Lieberman, who received only 8 out of 120 mandates, decided to go on the offensive. He would like to rejoin the coalition of ultra-nationalist and religious parties, but he no longer wants to go there. Instead, he is proposing that Netanyahu form a distinctly secular coalition with him and Blue and White. Whether the latter will agree to such a coalition, given the ultra-nationalist nature of Our Home Israel and Likud, is not obvious — an alliance with ultra-nationalists is as problematic for centrists from Blue and White as an alliance with Arabs. But if they agree, the basis of such an internally contradictory alliance can only be secularism. And this would mean that Netanyahu, in order to maintain nominal power, would have to «abandon» the religious circles with which he is connected not only by a long-standing political alliance but also by family ties, considering that his scandalous wife comes from them.

Thus, in the absence of sufficient power for religious Jews, Arabs or «Russians» may become the decisive factor in Israeli politics. The result of such a choice could be either that Israel embarks on the path of a peaceful process leading to the creation of two states for two peoples, or possibly their confederation, as recently proposed by Dalia Shendlina, or that it becomes a «Russian-speaking state» that will not only continue the confrontation with the Arabs, but will also begin it against the religious Jews.

2015 — 2023 ©. All rights reserved.