MembersIs a Civil War Really Possible in Israel?

It’s not just idle worrying. Israel has suffered civil war in the past, on numerous occasions.

By Aviel Schneider |
Israelis scuffle with Israeli police oofficers during a protest against Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu, at Habima Square Tel Aviv on October 10, 2020. Photo by Tomer Neuberg/Flash90 *** Local Caption *** שמאל משטרה תל אביב דיזינגוף הפגנה דגלים השחורים בנימין נתניהו ראש הממשלה Photo: Tomer Neuberg/Flash90

Fraternal or civil war is often on people’s lips these days. The fear of it hangs like a cloud over the history of modern Israel. The country is facing one of its greatest national crises since it was founded 72 years ago: It is the first time in the country’s history that charges have been brought against a sitting prime minister.

But Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has convinced his supporters that this is an attempted coup, and he has been highly critical of the country’s judicial system. The opposition is accusing Netanyahu of driving the country into a fratricidal war, and of causing great division among the electorate, turning everyone against each other. Hatred between those on the Lleft and those on the Right is on the rise, as is hostility between religious and non-religious Jews. In general, the mood of the people is heated as the media are constantly debating the issue.

In the summer of 2005, when Israel forcibly evacuated 8,000 Jewish settlers from the Gaza Strip, there was widespread talk of a possible civil war....

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