News Analysis: Barak's departure may restart Israel's left-wing (4)

13:12, January 20, 2011      

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LONG TERM SHIFT IN SOCIETY

Since Israel's occupation of the West Bank and Gaza in 1967, there has been a general tilting of Israeli society to the right, said Ahmed Saadi at the department of politics and government at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev.

Barak said in the briefing after his departure that Labor was going left, but according to Saadi, the problem is not whether Labor shifted to the left or not, but that "as a whole, Israeli society is moving to the right."

Parties and people with extreme right-wing opinions who were labeled as fascists and banned from taking part in elections in the 1970s had now become part of the mainstream of the Israeli society, Saadi said.

"If you remember during the 1970s there was a party called Kach led by Meir Kahane which Avigdor Lieberman joined for a few months, this party was prohibited from participating in the election, but now Lieberman is the foreign minister," he said.

"Israelis are increasingly aware that at least the notion of having a normal state or having a social democratic vision is disappearing," he said, adding that "now the nationalist, the patriotic, right-wing and even extreme right-wingers are those who are setting the agenda."

As to the reason for this transition, Saadi believes Israelis' mindset since 1967 has been affected by the oppression of the Palestinians and Israel's heavy focus on security.

Source: Xinhua
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