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The Triumph of Israel's Radical Right

The Triumph of Israel's Radical Right

Few issues dominate headlines, threaten global stability, and rouse passionate debate more than the enduring conflict between Israelis and Palestinians. For a country small enough in landmass to fit inside a Texas county, Israel can puzzle the sharpest of minds. In his new book, government professor Ami Pedahzur details Israeli political history and facts surrounding the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in a way few if any have.

Two decades ago, the idea that a "radical right" could capture and drive Israeli politics seemed improbable. While it was a boisterous faction and received heavy media coverage, it constituted a fringe element. Yet by 2009, Israel's radical right had not only entrenched itself in mainstream Israeli politics, it was dictating policy in a wide range of areas.

Quite simply, if we want to understand the seemingly intractable situation in Israel today, we need a comprehensive account of the radical right. In The Triumph of Israel's Radical Right, acclaimed scholar Ami Pedahzur provides an invaluable and authoritative analysis of its ascendance to the heights of Israeli politics. After analyzing what, exactly, they believe in, he explains how mainstream Israeli policies like "the law of return" have nurtured their nativism and authoritarian tendencies. He then traces the right's steady expansion and mutation, from the early days of the state to these days. Throughout, he focuses on the radical right's institutional networks and how the movement has been able to expand its influence over the policy making process. His closing chapter is grim yet realistic: he contends that a two state solution is no longer viable and that the vision of the radical rabbi Meir Kahane, who was a fringe figure while alive, has triumphed.


"The Triumph of Israel's Radical Right is a bold and personable book that establishes Ami Pedahzur as the late Ehud Sprinzak's successor as the premier scholar of political extremism in Israel." - Cas Mudde, University of Georgia, author of Populist Radical Right Parties in Europe

"Settlers, yes, but Ami Pedahzur brilliantly portrays the increasingly powerful radical right in Israel as much more than the settlers in the occupied territories. The Triumph of Israel's Radical Right portrays the evolution of the right from a group preoccupied with preventing the creation of a Palestinian state to an anti-democratic, nativist force that has made deep inroads into defining the character of the Israeli state." - Joel Migdal, University of Washington, co-author of The Palestinian People: A History

"If Israel's purposes are to serve as a 'light unto the nations' and to share with others the task of healing and repairing the world (Tikkun Olam), this book does a compelling job of explaining why these purposes are not being met. Ami Pedahzur does an estimable job of tracing the Israeli radical right from a marginal force to the dominant one in Israeli political life." - Leonard Weinberg, University of Nevada, Reno, author of Global Terrorism

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