Yoni Leviatan
How to be Jewish: Be good. The end.
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Israel is a centrist country

Combine deep socialist roots with grave security concerns and you get citizens who buck the usual left-right divide

Some people think Israel is a right-wing country, including many Israelis. The fallacy in this thinking is there are no left-wing countries in the Middle East. If you believe in open borders you get eaten alive. You don’t have the privilege of being a leftist nation when your security is continuously threatened from all sides.

If there is no left, there can be no right. You don’t get one without the other. The existence of each one defines the existence of the other.

Are there leftists in Israel? Sure. Are there racists in Israel? Sure.

Which are the countries who’ve succeeded in eliminating all the leftists and racists? (The Nazis only did the former. To do the latter would’ve been suicide.)

Most Israelis, however, are centrists. Even the ones who think they’re right-wing are not really right-wing when you look at the totality of issues.

Yes, when it comes to security, Israel may be the most right-wing country on the earth – and most Israelis are perfectly fine with that.

Yalla, keep us alive.

But on virtually every other issue which embodies right-wing territory in most of the world, Israel is super-hard left.

Medical marijuana? Israel has the highest rate of tokers in the world. A holy land, indeed, where THC was discovered in none other than the sacred city of Jerusalem.

Gay rights? Soldiers serving proudly since 1993 in the gayest country on earth, home of the gayest city on earth (no, not Jerusalem).

Economics? Israel was a socialist country for the first half of its existence, and we’re not talking about today’s quasi-socialism-lite rah-rah “health care for everyone!” You’re not a socialist just because you believe in something the rest of the world considers a basic human right.

At best, that makes you late to the party.

Israel was a socialist-socialist country with a government-controlled economy passing out food rations until 1959. They continued to mess with the invisible hand of industry until Israelis grew tired of being a poor, third-world country and switched to a free-market economy.

Today, Israel is one of the most-secure, fastest-growing economies on earth, a world leader in almost anything futuristic: AI, robotics, cyber-security, self-driving cars and planes and anything else that moves. Find an industry without Israeli technology leading it and you’ll have found an industry on its way out.

But if you really want to figure out the Israeli DNA, all you have to do is inspect Israel’s modern-day roots from the turn of the 20th century. For decades, generations of Israelis were born on shared farming communities, growing up in shared housing with other children, eating every meal with every family and sharing everything they owned from their salaries to their underwear.

The Israeli Kibbutz is for sure the most successful iteration of communism ever. It was the communist utopia the Soviets never even dreamed of.

It may surprise some (in the UK Labour party) to hear, but among the Jews exist both hardcore capitalists and bleeding-heart communists. That is to say, a Jew is not a cardboard cutout. Some think one way and some think another.

But most Jews think in the middle.

Take Israel’s extreme security mindset, average it out with its far-left social policy and economic roots, and you’re left with a neurotically centrist country thriving right in many ways.

That is to say, most Israelis are independent thinkers. They’re not defined by a political ideology or a party platform of ideas telling everyone how to think alike.

Anyone who knows Israelis knows there is no telling them how to think alike. Most Israelis look at the issues in front of them and decide each one on its merits. On security, most Israelis believe in staying alive. On everything else, most Israelis are quite comfortable with “live and let live.”

Israel has always been a centrist country.

Come April 9 it will officially be one again.

About the Author
Yoni Leviatan is a British-born, American-raised, Israeli-blooded musician, content producer, marketer and presenter who loves to think out loud. Especially about Israel. Originally from Coral Springs, Florida, Yoni has been living in Tel Aviv since 2009, returning to the land of his parents and grandparents and ancestors before them. Click to watch his videos. Click to hear his music.
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