Allegedly, there are still Israelis who believe in a withdrawal from the territories, but there are fewer and fewer Israelis who believe it will ever happen; there are still Israelis who believe in peace, but most of them are unprepared to pay its price; there are still Israelis who believe in a secular country, but what they are willing to define as secular includes more and more things which the surprised onlooker would define as national-religious; they still believe, at least theoretically, in universal principles like equality, but the amount of exceptions they are willing to apply to these universal principles would blow our onlooker's eyebrows off to the top of the Himalayas.
If we define left as a commitment to universal principles and to an actual compromise (in other words, to a real compromise and not just to the idea of a compromise), we will discover that Israel's political map has a very big right, a big center-right (which includes parties like the Zionist Union, Yesh Atid and Kulanu) and a tiny "left" (Meretz and a certain part of the United Arab List - a list comprised in part of nationalistic and national-religious elements, the difference between them and the Jewish national-religious right being the direction rather than the outlook).
A lot has been said and written about the reasons for the Israeli left's collapse. Some are internal - an ongoing leadership crisis; and some are external - the combination between Palestinian terror and the rise of radical Islam. But whatever the reasons may be, the facts speak for themselves: The Israeli left has nearly disappeared.
The political outlook dominating Israel today, in the right and in the center, is essentially a right-wing outlook. It can be defined by the term coined by former Prime Minister and Defense Minister Ehud Barak, "A villa in the jungle." The world around us, from the Palestinians to the Swedes, is defined as a world driven by deep anti-Semitism. This assumption justifies completely ignoring everything "the world" has to offer (as it is interested in our demise) and operating an ongoing state of emergency.
The Israeli state of emergency (which is actually not an emergency, but the norm) gives sweeping legitimacy to exceptions: To the revocation of rights, to discrimination, to racism which apart from using the word "racism" does not bother to disguise itself. All these are defined here in "no choice" terms.
Whoever dares refer to such acts as "injustice" or "a mistake" indicates that he is "delusional" or, worse, an "Israel hater." The villa may act like a "jungle" quite often, but because it is "forced" to act that way (due to its neighbors), it remains enlightened, right and not guilty of any sin.
Considering the fact that this perception is part of an extremely wide consensus, the role played by the "left" in Israeli politics is surprising. Judging from the ongoing campaign against the left among the Israeli public, from the continuous warnings of its horrible dangers, one would think it is a powerful and influential camp.
Accusing someone of leftism is the worst political threat in Israel. Zionist Union Chairman Isaac Herzog and Yesh Atid Chairman Yair Lapid, for example, dedicate a significant amount of their energy to renouncing it, in a constant attempt to prove that they are not part of that imaginary and demonic essence. Identifying with it, they seem to think, would be a political suicide.
Since the beautiful days in which the hated Ma'arach (Labor Alignment Party) was in power have long gone, relatively marginal figures like Meretz Chairwoman Zehava Galon (who was recently accused of encouraging terror, no less) become a sort of alternative, as there cannot be no "left," and with the absence of a big left, a small left will do.
The Israeli right's battle against the imaginary left is part of an overall approach of shaking off responsibility. Politically, it's working. The problem is reality. And the reality is that there is no responsible adult in Israel. Oh boy.