The Demise of Israel’s Zionist Socialists

Once the Jewish state’s pioneering light, the Israeli Labor Party has reached a shameful, post-Zionist end

| Topics: Elections
Israeli Labor Party reaches a shameful end.
Photo: Tomer Neuberg/Flash90

Israel’s Labor Party on Monday announced its merger with the far-left Meretz faction. This move marks the end of the historic Zionist socialist parties that achieved the remarkable–turning the Zionist dream into the reality of the modern Jewish state.

The Labor Party was formed in 1968 in a merger between the three socialist parties of the time: the dominant Mapai (workers’ party of Israel, led until 1963 by Israel’s first prime minister, David Ben-Gurion), Ahdut HaAvoda (laborers’ union situated further to the left of Mapai), and the short lived Rafi (Israeli workers’ list). All three parties were led by David Ben-Gurion at one point or another.

The Zionist Socialist hegemony lasted until the Likud party under Menachem Begin rose to power in 1977. 

Ever since, Labor has been in decline. Merging now with a clearly post-Zionist movement like Meretz signals that Labor’s demise is finally complete. 

Of course, the party leadership doesn’t see it this way. Labor head Amir Peretz and Meretz chief Nitzan Horowitz came to the decision after realizing that on their own, both parties risked failing to pass the electoral threshold when Israelis again go to the polls in March.

The crumbling of Zionist socialism has everything to do with the current post-modern mayhem resulting from socialist/Marxist idealism. Human relationships have been reduced to power struggles at all levels of society, from government all the way down to religion and family. 

The recent all-out attack on Jewish Home party leader Rafi Peretz shows how far this discourse has gone. In answering the question of how he would respond to finding out that one of his children was gay, Peretz said that he raised his children “in a natural and healthy way.”

Oh, the shrieks and screeches that followed. 

From headlines to editorials, one could almost believe that Peretz had committed the ultimate crime in suggesting that traditional Jewish values were worth keeping. 

This shows how toxic post-modernism is for Zionism, which is itself inherently Jewish. 

Such an extreme is relatively new. But Israelis, most of whom still cherish their Jewish identity, have been noticing the gradual acceptance of post-modern values by the Zionist Socialist Left. And they have registered their displeasure by increasingly voting for parties that are more clearly Zionist.

Having become so detached from the Israeli pulse, Labor staunchly maintained its new post-modern values, making it more and more difficult for most Israelis to continue identifying with the party. 

But its dwindling following notwithstanding, Labor remained unyielding. Instead of merging with a party more in line with its own heritage, like Blue and White, the once glorious Zionist Labor chose the way of ritual suicide by joining with a faction that, lip service aside, has forsaken Zionism altogether.


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