Maya Haber published an op-ed in the Forward today capturing a little of Partners for Progressive Israel’s new Strategic Plan.
In the early 1990s it felt as if the Israeli Left had won. In 1992, the first election I ever voted in, Meretz won 12 Knesset seats. A year later Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin signed the Oslo agreements. At that time, my IDF unit was working on a just and fair distribution of water resources between Israel, the Palestinians, Jordan and Syria. We believed the conflict was about to end.
The Right did not accept defeat.
The Left often argues that the Right murdered Rabin and with him our progressive future. But this a partial and biased narrative. The truth is that even before Rabin’s murder, the Right had devised a strategy to win back public opinion.
Funded by American Jewish conservatives, they established think tanks, like the Shalem College, the Institute for Zionist Strategies and the Kohelet Policy Forum, which present policy analyses and pump out right-wing talking points.
Simultaneously, Jewish American conservatives got into the business of funding right-wing media, leadership programs, pre-military academies and religious education groups. Today, when you enter an Israeli government building, most of the officials you meet are religious Zionists. American conservatives also paid for their economic, political and social education. A secular Israeli school principal is now much more likely to find lecturers on Jewish identity or values in a settlement than on a kibbutz.
After Rabin’s murder, the Right focused on building ideological infrastructures that offered alternative analysis and trained new leaders to take back the country. They were extremely successful.