Roy Jankelowitz

Sovereign Israel: Between the West and the South

Delecration of State of Israel. Source: (Wikipedia): This photo is available from National Photo Collection of Israel, Photography dept. Government Press Office, under the digital ID D247-041.
Decleration of State of Israel (Wikipedia): This photo is available from the National Photo Collection of Israel, Photography dept. Government Press Office , under the digital ID D247-041.

In July 2023, the Non Profit Organization “Dor Moria” conducted a mass survey of Israelis. The purpose of the poll is to understand what Israelis think about whether Israel can become a «Middle Eastern Switzerland», observing neutrality and working with both sides of the geopolitical conflict: the Collective West and the Global South.

According to polls conducted by NPO “Dor Moria”, a significant part of the Israeli society supports the idea of ​​the country’s neutrality in international conflicts. 28% of those polled believe that Israel should adhere to neutrality, and among repatriates from the former USSR this share reaches 36%. Another 50% believe that Israel’s position should depend on the specifics of the conflict.

As for Israel’s readiness for a peaceful course in foreign policy, opinions are divided: 20% consider the country fully ready to implement such a course, 35% — partially ready, and 27% — not ready. The calculated “readiness coefficient” is 10 units, which allows us to judge the moderately positive attitude of society towards the peaceful course.

At the same time, the absolute majority of respondents (54%) believe that Israel must maintain neutrality in international conflicts to maintain relations with other countries and conduct an independent policy. These data testify to the request of a significant part of the Israeli society for a balanced and pragmatic approach to foreign policy that takes into account the country’s complex geopolitical situation.

This poll was conducted until October 7. Now, in June 2024, taking into account the geopolitical forces, “Dor Moria” is launching yet another survey. They want to study the opinion of Israelis regarding whether Israel, without violating the partnership with the United States, can strengthen its movement towards the Global South .


Symbolically, in June 2024, two events were taking place almost simultaneously, one of which brought together the leaders of the countries of the Collective West – the G-7 summit, and the other – the BRICS Games, which were held in Kazan (Russia). The American publication Politico commented on the meeting of the elite of the Collective West — the G7 summit, which began in Italy. According to the newspaper, “six lame ducks” and the prime minister of Italy, Giorgia Meloni, were present at it. Except for the Prime Minister of Italy Meloni, all other leaders at the summit are quite weak. Biden, most likely, will not win the upcoming elections, the positions of Scholz and Macron are greatly weakened by the results of the European Parliament elections. Sunak is «the walking dead», and the prime minister of Japan Kisida has «serious problems at home».

The BRICS 2024 Games, which took place from June 12 to June 23 in Kazan, brought together teams from Great Britain, Germany, France, the United States, Japan, and Israel. Along with Israel in the list of 90 participating countries there is also Palestine. These games became an alternative to the Olympic Games, which the Collective West considers as an instrument of political domination.

In the modern world there is a growing confrontation between two global forces – the Collective West and the Global South.

The Collective West includes the developed countries of North America and Europe, the Global South consists of the developing countries of Asia, Africa and Latin America. The countries of the Global South strive to increase their influence in international affairs and reform the world order «Pax Americana».

Public opinion and internal divisions in Israel

Israel, located at the junction of Asia and Africa, found itself at the epicenter of the confrontation between the Collective West and the Global South.

NPO «Dor Moria» has been studying public opinion and internal divisions in Israel for several years. Research conducted by NPO “Dor Moria” in 2023-2024 confirmed that the splits in Israeli society are a serious obstacle to internal political consensus.

Here are some examples:

Polls show a lack of consensus regarding the future of Israel after the end of the war with Hamas: 28% support the “Two States for two peoples” model, 25% — the annexation of the West Bank/territories of Judea and Samaria, as well as the Gaza Strip, 25% were unable to answer.

There are divisions based on age: 50% of the 65+ population support the “Two states for two nations” model, and among the 18-39 year olds — only 15%, 32% of the latter prefer annexation.

A split between secular Jews and Arabs (40% for the «Two states for two nations» model), on the one hand, and religious Jews (4-5% for this model, more than 50% for annexation), on the other.

Differences regarding the responsibility for the restoration of the Gaza sector after the liquidation of Hamas: 24% say that the UN, 25% — USA and EU, 26% — Arab countries and countries of the Persian Gulf.

In addition, there are significant differences in positions related to political ideology, level of education and region of residence.

In the context of the confrontation between the Collective West and the Global South, Israel faces the need to adapt to the changing global landscape and seek a new balance in its foreign policy. This situation is aggravated by deep internal divisions in Israeli society, which make it difficult to form a single strategy.

Threats to Israel between the West and the South

In the conditions of tectonic shifts in the world balance of forces, Israel was faced with a fateful choice. The traditional alliance with the Collective West, on the one hand, and the growing influence of the countries of the Global South, on the other, pose a difficult dilemma for the Jewish state. Whether Israel will be able to find its place in the new geopolitical configuration depends largely on its ability to ensure its long-term prosperity and security. Despite strong historical ties with the West, especially with the United States, recently there has been a certain cooling of relations between them. The US Democrats and the Biden Administration have repeatedly expressed their desire to replace the current Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for his desire to ensure a sovereign and independent policy.

Israel must not rely solely on the USA, America’s political system in in turmoil due to many factors that have contributed to this turmoil. Decades of stagnant living standards have caused voter frustration. Social media, along with the rise of a cable television network willing to promote falsehoods,has inflamed discourse. The decline of institutions — churches, labor unions, once-dominant local employers — has left Americans feeling unmoored. And aging political leaders have failed to groom strong successors.

Disagreements on the Palestinian issue, criticism of Israeli policy by part of the Western public, and also the growing polarization within the Western bloc itself put into question the lack of an alternative orientation to the West. USA also demonstrates deep divisions. This includes growing polarization between the Democratic and Republican parties, the strengthening of right-wing movements, and ongoing debates on key issues such as immigration, economic policy, and social justice.

In this context, the example of Ukraine serves as a warning against the dangers of excessive dependence on one center of power. Kyiv, having made a bet on an alternative integration with the West and breaking traditional ties with Russia, found itself at the epicenter of a geopolitical confrontation that cost the country huge human and economic losses. According to the World Bank, as a result of the conflict in Donbas, Ukraine has lost up to 20% of its economic potential, and its GDP per capita remains one of the lowest in Europe.

This bitter lesson shows that in the modern multipolar world, betting on unilateral alliances and ignoring the interests of neighbors can have catastrophic consequences. For Israel, which is in an equally complex geopolitical environment, it is vitally important to avoid such miscalculations and build a balanced, multi-vector foreign policy that takes into account the changing global context.

The Palestinian question or “the white man’s burden”

Israel’s experience in the “peace process” shows that within the framework of the existing paradigm of relations with the West, the achievement of lasting peace and the solution of the Palestinian problem remain difficult to achieve. Despite numerous attempts at peaceful negotiations and international mediation, the conflict remains unresolved, creating tension and instability in the region.

Israel, as an outpost of the Collective West, carried the “white man’s burden” on the territory of the Global South. This «burden» is the basic narrative of the Collective West in relation to the Global South, and it was he who justified the suppression and oppression of other nations under the guise of «enlightenment» and «development». Israel’s movement towards the Global South is a way of searching for new approaches and regulation formats that go beyond traditional Western-centric models.

Key players of the Global South, such as China and India, have long-standing ties with the Palestinians and enjoy significant authority in the Arab-Muslim world. At the same time, they are interested in developing relations with Israel as an important economic and technological partner. This creates a unique opportunity to build a new regional security architecture, where the interests of all parties, including the Palestinians, Israel and the Arab states, could find a balanced reflection. It is also necessary to participate in the potential expansion of interconfessional Jewish-Islamic dialogue. Dialogue, which existed for centuries and was broken in the 19-20 century.

The Abraham accords that normalized Israel’s relations with a number of Arab countries have already demonstrated the potential of such an approach. They showed that pragmatic cooperation based on common interests can bring dividends to all participants and contribute to the recovery of the regional atmosphere. The development of this process in connection with the more active involvement of Israel in the structure of the Global South could create qualitatively new opportunities for progress and in the Palestinian direction.

Absolutely, there are many obstacles and challenges on this path. Unregulated territorial disputes, the problem of Jewish settlements, the question of the status of Jerusalem, the threat of terrorism — all these factors will complicate the search for a compromise. It will take wisdom, political will and willingness to make painful concessions from all sides to untangle this complex knot of contradictions.

But it is precisely the cardinal change of the geopolitical context, the integration of Israel, both in the Collective West and in the Global South, that can create an impulse that was so lacking in the previous decades. Relying on the support and mediation efforts of new partners from among the developing countries, Israel and the Palestinians have a chance to start moving towards each other, gradually building relations on a new, more healthy and pragmatic basis.

On the way to a new regional order

Israel’s strategic reorientation towards the Global South, with the active support of society, can become an important step towards strengthening its position on the world stage and creating a more stable and prosperous future for all its citizens. In the end, the solution to the Palestinian problem is possible

Only on the path to building an inclusive and fair regional order that takes  into  account the interests and hopes of all regional players. Israel’s movement towards the Global South, the symbol of which could be the accession to the BRICS, represents an important step in this direction.

Israel can become an example of politics, providing a fair and sustainable regional order. That’s the only way to ensure long-term security and prosperity for all citizens of the country in rapidly changing global realities.

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About the Author
Hebrew University Masters Graduate in the sports journalism industry for Israel Sport with a passion for Political Science.
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