Israel has always felt under siege, but its internal problems could be more damaging than any external threat. The rift is between the secular and the ultra-Orthodox, who believe any compromise with Arabs is unacceptable. Zealous immigrants are boosting the extreme right and militant settlers are pushing further into Palestinian territory. Last summer, a new social movement was born demanding an end to corruption, lower inflation and cuts to public services. Almost half a million Israelis took to the streets to protest. It was the biggest wave of demonstrations in the country’s history. Meanwhile, the occupation of the Palestinian territories and the apartheid system inflicted on Palestinians living in Israel continues. Israel proclaims itself to be a secular, democratic and Jewish state – but can it credibly live up to such claims?
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