The secular and social-democratic leanings of Israel’s early decades dovetailed with western Europe’s. But the 1m migrants from the former Soviet Union, who arrived in the 1990s, have scant democratic tradition; many seek salvation in a strongman, a Jewish Putin, to rescue Israel from its enemies.A similar number of national-religious Jews, heavily represented in government, see Israel as part of the divine plan for the Messiah’s coming, and worry that democracy might get in the way. More often now, Israel finds it easier to deal with non-democratic regimes, in the region or in the Asia-Pacific, where politics intrudes less on business. All of that bodes ill for co-operation with the country’s European critics and perhaps its American ones too.
August 4, 2014 at 2:27 PM EDT