Abstract and Keywords
In a landmark article, Sammy Smooha, a prominent scholar of Israel’s regime, argued that as an ethnic democracy, Israel was unlikely to witness the emergence of “European-style” radical right-wing populism. The gist of the argument was that in ethnic democracies the state already occupies the ideological spaces that radical right-wing parties fill in liberal democracies, leaving such ideologies no room to evolve. In contrast to Smooha, this chapter considers ethnic democracies as fertile grounds for the growth of radical right politics. It maintains that such regimes facilitate the entrenchment of radical-right sentiments within significant parts of the population and political system, and consequently further facilitate the radicalization of radical-right parties that seek to distinguish themselves from other political actors. The chapter tests this argument via an analysis of the various ideological pillars of the Israeli radical right.
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