Why Israel Is Headed Even Further Right

Andrew Sullivan —  Oct 15 2012 @ 1:45pm

Dan Ephron looks at the growing depth of Bibi's coalition, which will be critical in Romney's promised new war in the Middle East:

Netanyahu can certainly take some credit for the right’s dominance. Under his leadership, terrorist attacks have fallen over the past four years and the economy has remained stable, even as much of the world has struggled to lift itself from a protracted recession. Both issues are supremely important to Israeli voters. But longer-term trends are also a factor.

The fastest-growing populations in Israel are the Orthodox and ultra-Orthodox Jews, and both groups lean heavily to the right. Though the data are scant, a large majority of Orthodox voters is believed to have cast ballots for parties that make up Netanyahu’s hardline coalition. Among the ultra-Orthodox, the figure is even higher. The two groups together now make up about 25 percent of Israel’s population. According to some projections, the number could rise to 40 percent within two decades. Since the core motivation for their political hawkishness is largely unchanging—a biblical injunction to maintain Israeli control over Judea and Samaria (their term for the West Bank)—it’s hard to imagine them ever shifting alliances. The upshot: with each passing year, the Israeli right grows stronger.

Ephron goes on to note that one of the only ways such party dominance in the country has been broken in the past was as the result of a war or Palestinian uprising.