A record number of 33 parties representing the broad spectrum of
Israeli society participated in the elections for the 18th Knesset,
so the formal democratic system is still functioning. But the
foundation of Israeli democracy is eroding in the face of a rise in
support for fundamentally anti-democratic right-wing parties.
The center-left suffered a resounding defeat, with the right bloc
winning 65 seats in the Knesset to the center-left's 55, and
Avigdor Lieberman's anti-democratic Yisrael Beitenu party is now
the third-largest party, with 15 seats; while Labor, the historic
social democratic party, which established and led the country
during the first decades, came in only fourth, with 13 seats.
Yisrael Beitenu's anti-Arab campaign slogan, "Without loyalty there
is no citizenship," coined with the aid of American neocon
political strategist Arthur Finkelstein, recalls the worst of the
McCarthy era in the United States. We have come a long way from the
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