TEL AVIV, ISRAEL An apocalyptic tone has crept into Israels
hitherto muted election season, with opposition leaders and others
sounding increasingly desperate warnings that a few more years of
rule by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahus heavily favored right
wing might well destroy the Jewish state.
The idea is that by holding onto the lands Palestinians want for
their state and continuing to settle them with Jews the Israeli
right is marching blindly toward a future in which Arabs could
outnumber Jews and ultimately take over.
Perhaps the most strident proponent of this message is former
Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni, who four years ago led peace talks
with the Palestinians and recently founded a new party whose primary
message is that the Zionist project is in danger. Netanyahu is
leading us toward the end of the Jewish state, she said in a
statement Friday. Israelis must choose between extremism and
Zionism. Israel is in great danger, and everyone must wake up now.
Outgoing opposition leader Shaul Mofaz, a former military chief
and defense minister, warns at campaign appearances that Arabs will
soon outnumber Jews in the Holy Land and that the main strategic
priority must be to partition the land to prevent the emergence of a
binational state. Leaders of the main center-left Labor Party say
much the same.
Netanyahus majority depends on his Likud party in coalition with
other nationalist and religious groups known as the right. Despite
all its complications, the political spectrum ultimately resembles
something of a two-party system.
The prime minister and his supporters have argued that Israel
must not act in haste, and many on the right oppose any territorial
concessions on the lands Israel captured in 1967 the West Bank,
east Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip, where the Palestinians want to
set up their state.
The author Amos Oz, who has long been viewed as an oracle of
sorts in Israel, called the governing coalition the most anti-
Zionist in the history of Israel for ignoring the demographic issue.
If there will not be two states here, neither will it (even) be a
binational state it will be an Arab state, he was quoted by Haaretz
as saying on Friday. They believe Jews can rule an Arab majority,
(but) no apartheid nation in the world survived without collapsing
in a few years.
Netanyahu himself has at times conceded the logic of the
argument: Israel proper has 6 million Jews living alongside almost 2
million Arab citizens; with the Palestinians of the West Bank and
Gaza thrown into the mix, the populations divide about evenly, and
the Arab birthrate is higher. …