There has rarely been a more propitious moment for hardline Zionists to press an uncompromising agenda. Benjamin Netanyahu’s coalition government faces little opposition. In taking maximalist positions, it has the full support of a nationalist populist president in the White House. Meanwhile, the Israeli prime minister’s brand of muscular identity politics hardly stands out at a time of resurgent nationalism across Europe and other parts of the world. He even enjoys tacit support from Arab neighbours, at least when it comes to containing Iran’s influence in the Middle East. Last week’s changes to the basic laws that govern Israel — in the absence of a constitution — can be seen in this context. The new laws have the effect of privileging Jewish identity over democratic values, thereby eroding one of the principles on which the Israeli state was founded. Jews will enjoy exclusive rights to national self-determination within Israel’s borders. Arabic will be downgraded from its status ...

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