Most Israelis Dislike Netanyahu But Back His Gaza War

(MENAFN- Asia Times) Eight months after Israel invaded the Gaza Strip, some critics observe that the Israeli military hasn't met either of its goals of destroying Hamas and rescuing all of the remaining 133 hostages Hamas is holding.

Yet two-thirds of Israelis still support their military's aggressive approach in Gaza – including limiting humanitarian aid to Palestinians.

While many Israelis support the military's war in Gaza, most Israelis have also lost confidence in Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's government and would like to see new Political leadership.

As someone who has studied Israeli politics for almost three decades , I believe it's important to understand what elements contribute to Israelis' collective mindset to explain these seemingly contradictory dynamics and views.

A familiar feeling of persecution

Hamas militants killed an estimated 1,200 people in Israel on October 7, 2023, and took 240 hostages back to Gaza.

The brutal October 7 murders and the extermination of entire communities in southern Israel left Israelis feeling shocked, vulnerable and insecure. The attacks reminded Israelis that the country faces existential threats, which they believe need to be eliminated in any way possible .

Jewish people have long been persecuted, dating from the biblical era to the Holocaust during World War II. Some scholars call the feeling of a constant, looming risk of persecution the “Masada syndrome .”

Masada, an ancient fortification in southern Israel, was where the ancient Kingdom of Israel waged a final battle against the Roman army in A.D. 73 . Masada was eventually destroyed and all its Jewish inhabitants committed suicide in order to avoid becoming enslaved by the Romans. Jews then lost their political independence for almost 2,000 years, until Israel was established in 1948.

The story of Masada is still taught and remembered in Israel as a constant reminder that Jewish people cannot ever fully rely on the mercy or help of other countries – and that Jewish identity and independence are always at risk of persecution. For a long time, the Israeli Defense Forces held induction ceremonies atop Masada, which is also a popular tourism site.


Asia Times

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