This book looks at the theoretical issue of how a democracy can defend itself from those wishing to subvert or destroy it without being required to take measures that would impinge upon the basic principles of the democratic idea. It links social and institutional perspectives to the study, and includes a case study of the Israeli response to Jewish extremism and violence, which tests the theoretical framework outlined in the first chapter. There is an extensive diachronic scrutiny of the state's response to extremist political parties, violent organizations and the infrastructure of extremism and intolerance within Israeli society. The book emphasises the dynamics of the response and the factors that encourage or discourage the shift from less democratic and more democratic models of response.
the restraint and suppression of extremists without consideration of the cost of such actions.
Chapter 1 demonstrated the changes in the Israeli response to extremist parties and concluded with the optimistic assessment that, in terms of its governmental institutions, the State of Israel has indeed travelled a long and significant road. An extensive legal system has been created, intended to safeguard democracy from extremistpoliticalparties and, at the same time, impose numerous restrictions on authorities with the intention of ensuring the
short while after the amendment to the Knesset’s Basic Law, new clauses were added to Knesset Regulations with regard to the limitations on the legislature’s forbearance regarding racist and anti-democratic expressions; and seven years later the Parties Law was passed as well. The ‘immunising’ process of the Israeli democracy with regard to extremistpoliticalparties was completed in 1998 with the approval of article 28 of the Law of the Local Authorities (Elections). Article 39a of that amendment in effect applies the qualifications which appear in article 7a of the
The ‘defending democracy’ in Israel – a framework of analysis
insurgency. With this as background, the question is raised as to why, ironically, an undercover organisation, noted for methods which often encroached upon basic democratic liberties, was nevertheless allocated the task of countering extremism in place of the legislation-bound police. As in chapter 1 , this chapter also records the general developing tendency – the gradual transition from ‘militant’ routes of response to ‘immunised’ strategies. However, contrary to the development of this type of response to extremistpoliticalparties, the shift to ‘immunised
Attitudes towards subversive movements and violent organisations
materialise in Israel and that, in effect, the majority of the decisions reached by systems of security and enforcement are in response to a specific occurrence.
The emerging reality in Israel since its establishment indicates that in contrast to the policy regarding extremistpoliticalparties, which has undergone a perceptible process of ‘immunisation’, in relation to the policy of response towards radical and violent movements this process has proven to be more equivocal. However, one cannot overlook the far