In order to win the battle for the soul of Israel, the Israeli center-left must redefine itself much in the way that the American Democratic Party redefined itself under the leadership of Bill Clinton and the British Labor Party did under the leadership of Tony Blair. What is also needed is a new—and pragmatic—peace-idea that addresses the legitimate and justified fears of most Israelis.
There must be, above all, a new social contract that will address the inter-tribal chasm paralyzing Israeli society. It is neither wise nor fair to continue to promise a utopian peace that is clearly out of reach. It is neither wise nor fair to continue to ignore past traumas or present threats. And it is neither wise nor fair to condescend to new Israelis and scoff at their traditional religious and ethnic identities. Only an inclusive liberal-democratic attitude, tolerant and realistic, can liberate Israel from the iron grip of ultra-nationalism and ultra-religiousness that makes use of the continuing political failure of the progressive Israeli public to darken the face of the nation. After the shock of these elections, Israel finds itself at a momentous crossroads. The danger of a deep moral deterioration is more real and more acute than ever. But the smart way to deal with this danger is not to heap more hate on Netanyahu, but to embrace and empathize with the people whose fears and difficulties he exploits so skillfully.
Ari Shavit, “Is Israel Losing Its Soul?”, Politico (20 March 2015) [http://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2015/03/israeli-elections-israel-future-116266.html]