What Israeli Conservatives Can Learn from Their American Counterparts https://mosaicmagazine.com/picks/israel-zionism/2022/08/what-israeli-conservatives-can-learn-from-their-american-counterparts/

August 9, 2022 | Peter Berkowitz
About the author: Peter Berkowitz is the Tad and Dianne Taube Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University. In 2019 and 2020, he served as Director of Policy Planning at the U.S. State Department. His writings are posted at www.PeterBerkowitz.com.

While the Israeli right dates back to the early days of Zionism, it is only recently that some its members have begun to think of themselves as conservatives—a word that remains rare on the pens and lips of journalists and politicians. Those Israelis who are trying to create a self-consciously conservative political orientation naturally look to the American example. Responding to a recent article on the subject (in Hebrew) by the Israeli intellectual Gadi Taub, Peter Berkowitz comments on how that model relates to the conditions of the Jewish state:

To make good on their aspiration to develop a self-conscious Israeli conservatism, maintains Taub, religious Zionist intellectuals must grasp that the Mizraḥi traditionalists, [that is, Jews of Middle Eastern origin with traditional, if not strictly Orthodox, attitudes toward religion, family, and nationhood], represent the “wide and sturdy base of that which deserves to be called conservatism in Israel.” . . . In this, Taub provides further confirmation of [the English political philosopher Edmund] Burke’s pertinence to Israeli conservatism. Like his heirs in the post-World War II conservative movement in America, Burke defended the moral outlook and everyday ways of ordinary people from the pretensions of those keen to use government to dictate morals and manage citizens’ lives.

Taub does not stress it, but individual freedom—basic civil and political liberties of the sort that flow from unalienable rights—is essential in a pluralistic democracy like Israel’s as well. By limiting state power, individual rights both safeguard minorities from oppressive expressions of majority will and protect the majority from managerial elites and judges and government bureaucrats determined on their own authority to override majority preferences and moral judgments to implement their class’s preferences and moral judgments.

Individual rights and the respect for human dignity which they reflect, moreover, have strong roots in Zionism, as attested to by the abundant appeals to fundamental rights in Israel’s Declaration of Independence.

Read more on RealClear Politics: https://www.realclearpolitics.com/articles/2022/08/07/the_conservative_puzzle_in_israel_148011.html