Neo Zionist right-wing populist discourse and activism in the Israel education system

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Abstract

Over the past decades, neo-Zionist discourse has gain prominence in Israel. This approach, which gives preference to the definition of Israel as a Jewish state over its definition as a democracy, is a specific version authoritarian populism. This paper explores how educational discourses, policies and curricular changes are being shaped by right-wing populist organization and politicians to strengthen New-Zionism, while delegitimising liberal-democratic values. The paper draws on three examples. The first focuses on the campaign to ban the activist groups ‘Breaking the Silence’ – a group of army veteran who collect testimonies on Israel’s misconducts in the occupied territories – from entering schools. The second example is the case of ‘Im Tirtzu’, a right-wing organization, and their campaign against left-wing influences in the academy. A third example focuses on the changes to the compulsory civic curriculum – an example to the ways in which education is used to perpetuate a particular notion of Jewish nationalism. These cases help reveal the reactions of academic institutions to such actions, and the partial acceptance they have gained in recent years. They also show how the boundaries of the political were redrawn and the role education policy and institutions play in delegitimizing left-wing critique.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)124-137
Number of pages14
JournalGlobalisation, Societies and Education
Volume20
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2022

Keywords

  • Israel
  • Populism
  • conservative social organizations
  • illiberal democracy
  • neo-nationalism

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education

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