Ultimately, Israel’s sane majority that wants peace and democracy rather than war and theocracy will wake up and break the destructive stranglehold of those who wish to make the country a theocracy.
Carlo Strenger - Published 17:36 04.03.11
Benjamin Netanyahu, very belatedly, has decided to confront the settlers on a limited scale, and their reaction has been violent. At some point an open conflict with the national-religious movement will be inevitable, because Israel will end the occupation either on its own initiative or through growing international pressure. For many years Israeli decision-makers have been worried about how this conflict will be played out.
To predict the course of this confrontation we should look at the extremes of the national-religious movement in a wider historical perspective. Active Messianism is, an incarnation of the much wider historical phenomenon of Millenarian movements in Christianity, Judaism and Islam. These were fuelled by the belief that the end of time was near, that the messianic period was close, and needed actively to be brought about. This was one of the theological foundations of the crusades; it plays an important role in Shiite theology, and it has of course played itself out in Judaism a number of times, most famously in the messianic frenzy around Shabbetai Zvi in the seventeenth century.