The Decline of the Israeli Left

01.14.10 | 2 min read | Text by Steven Aftergood

A recent book written by two Israeli writers and published in translation (pdf) by the DNI Open Source Center (OSC) traces what the authors see as the decline of Israel’s political left.

“The Left died the day the Six-Day War ended,” wrote Shmuel Hasfari and Eldad Yaniv.

“Until 1967, the Left actually managed some impressive deeds — it took control of the land, ploughed, sowed, harvested, founded the state, built the army, built its industry from scratch, fought Arabs, settled the land, built the nuclear reactor, brought millions of Jews here and absorbed them, and set up kibbutzim, moshavim, and agriculture…. What happened? How come that all that remains of the Zionist Left today is an anarchistic group that harasses the Border Police every Friday near the separation fence or at checkpoints and Women in Black?”

“This is not an academic work,” wrote Hasfari and Yaniv. “There are no footnotes and there is no bibliography. It is not a complete work, either. We have written here about some of the things that bother us a lot, matters that give us no peace of mind.  We ask you not to read this in one go since that is likely to be confusing. Taste it as you would a plate of appetizers, tapas. Take a little bit. Digest it and stop to think, argue, get angry, and if you want to, curse — feel free.”

“You can also put it in the bathroom. We will not be offended. On the contrary: There are no cell phones or text messages there, and you can think. Quietly. And read.”

The OSC translation has not been approved for public release, but a copy was obtained by Secrecy News.  Republication was permitted by the authors within the text.  See “The National Left (First Draft)” by Shmuel Hasfari and Eldad Yaniv, Open Source Center, December 31, 2009.