Since its founding in 1948, Israel has been a contradiction. Culturally, Israel has much in common with the United States; it’s a young country, constantly assimilating new and diverse immigrants into its body politic. Politically, Israel has more in common with European nations; it has a parliamentary system with a hodgepodge of political parties that involves constant and often internecine political horse-trading. Religiously, Israel shares an awful lot in common with its unfriendly Muslim neighbors; it’s struggling to find the right balance between its religious identity and political ideals. This is the country that Benjamin Netanyahu appears set to lead for a fifth term as the longest-serving prime minister in modern Israeli history.
The men and women who founded the state of Israel were both idealists and refugees. Zionism, one of the worst-understood words in the English language, was simply the indigenous name for Jewish nationalism, a movement tha