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.
Attitudes towards subversive movements and violent organisations
The decision to shift the responsibility for dealing with Jewishextremism and violence from the army to the Shabak was another indication of the institutionalisation of the ‘extended criminal justice model’ as the dominant doctrine in the struggle against Jewish terror. Isser Harel, founder of the Shabak, began the process of segregating the GSS from the army, thus reinforcing its status as an autonomous non-military body. According to Harel, this made it easier to reconcile between security operational needs, on the one hand, and the legal constraints of a
The ‘defending democracy’ in Israel – a framework of analysis
construct of the ‘defending democracy’ to the reader as a broad, holistic and operational framework, embodying a number of different levels of analysis found in constant interaction among themselves, and enabling the transference of the construct to the scrutiny of other nations and states as well as comparative research.
The Israeli political context
In order to evaluate the changes in the Israeli response to Jewishextremism and violence, I begin by presenting the discussion of those particular political characteristics of
THIS CHAPTER HAS three principal objectives. First, on the basis of the findings of the first four chapters, it will provide a synopsis of the Israeli response to Jewishextremism and political violence. This will extend from the early days of the State’s existence until the beginning of the new millennium, with an emphasis on current developments. Such a historical perspective will enable us to assess the degree of success of the Israeli ‘defending democracy’ in moving from the ‘militant’ pole to the ‘immunised’ pole on the continuum of the
This chapter focuses on the historical campaign undertaken by the State of Israel against extremist parties, beginning with the ‘Socialist List’ in 1965 and concluding with the Yemin Yisrael (‘Israel's Right’) party in 1996. It discusses Rabbi Meir Kahane's party Kach, whose ideology, proposed patterns of action and leader's rhetoric have played a key role in shaping the normative legal defensive measures devised by the Israeli democracy. The chapter aims to trace the changes in measures taken by Israel in its struggle with extremist parties and to indicate the gradual transition from a ‘militant’ to an ‘immunized’ model of response.
This chapter focuses on civics education. By means of a historical and textual analysis of school curricula on the subject of civic studies in the State of Israel in the first decades of its existence, it tries to demonstrate that the State did not attempt to reinforce its democratic character but in fact took steps to weaken it. The education system of the newly born State set about the task of nation-building, to a great extent by means of underscoring particularistic nationalist qualities while banishing universalistic liberalist strains to the margins of the education curricula. In this fashion, the country inculcated among its future citizens dominant nationalist attitudes, which in many cases digressed into nationalist ethnocentrism. The chapter also looks on the State's response to the incidental ultra-nationalist repercussions of this policy.
This chapter, which aims to complete the investigation into the ‘immunized’ potential of the State of Israel, presents the reader with the connection between ‘civil society’ and the ‘immunizing’ process of the Israeli democracy. It suggests that ‘civil society’, because of its state-free status, carries the potential for playing a central role in the transition to the ‘immunized’ model. The chapter's conclusion underscores the awakening of the ‘pro-democratic civil society’ in Israel and profiles a number of notable successes which can be chalked up to its credit.