If there are two titles that explain the panic of the intellectual “reflective classes” in Israel on the victory of Benjamin Netanyahu, they are those of Haaretz, the daily symbol of the cafes, such as the Tamar of Shenkin Street in Tel Aviv, refuge of intellectual bohemia, the newspaper mirror of the founding leftist élite, but also the paper most detested today by the Israeli majority.
At midnight, when it seemed that Benny Gantz was ahead of Benjamian Netanyahu, Haaretz celebrated 71 years of reborn democracy. At dawn, when it was clear that “Bibi” had again won, Haaretz wrote that it was the hour of dictatorship.
The Left once controlled everything in Israel: culture, health, army, parliament... Netanyahu is hated so much because he has been the first real rival of that hegemonic system, which continues to control but without winning the elections anymore.
Israeli society is changing, from the political weight of immigrant Jews from Arab countries to those from Russia. Ze’ev Jabotinsky, Menachem Begin, Yitzhak Shamir, Ariel Sharon and Netanyahu are the historical leaders of right-wing revisionism. It is an attempt to reform the Israeli society, to move from socialism to free market and to return to Jewish identity.
Netanyahu understood that the question of Jewish identity has become very important, crucial, not only for Israel, but also for the declining Judeo-Christian West. In the West, Israel is seen as an identity that is not collapsing, but that is becoming stronger, while in the West that identity is wavering dramatically - demographically, culturally and religiously. That why Israel makes people nervous in the West.
Netanyahu understood that culture is very important to the unity of a society. Israel is a country of immigrants, from Poland to India, and its people is kept together only by the Jewish identity, like the Hebrew language, which is a miracle of Zionism, and the religious tradition.
One big reason for Netanyahu's sixth victory is Western liberalism's betrayal of Israel. Take the new cartoon published by the New York Times, the blind Donald Trump guided by the dog Netanyahu. The Left in Israel had two souls: the old Israeli national left and the post-national left born in the '90s. The first was discredited by the collapse of the “peace process” and the Second Intifada, when Israel was almost on the brink of internal collapse (remember the terrible march of 2002). And only the cosmopolitan Left has remained.
Netanyahu's power lies today in the deep Israeli sentiment of distrust of the West that no longer sees reasons to defend the Israeli and Jewish cause. His victory is the Orientalization of Israel, after globalization has threatened national identities and populations need identity.
It is perhaps the fate of Israel, whose vital demographic lymph has come from the East. The “new Israelis” want to be Jews, unlike the original Zionism which was an escape from Judaism.