Israel’s Unfinished Democracy

How the War in Gaza Could Lead to a New Constitutional Order

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As the international community ponders Gaza’s post-war future, Israelis are increasingly focused on what the ‘day after’ holds for their politics and society.

Photo by Yonatan Sindel/Flash90

In the months before Hamas’s heinous October 7 attacks, Israeli society was more polarized than ever before. Efforts by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s far-right government to ram through antidemocratic reforms had provoked the largest and most sustained protests the country had ever seen. By this past summer, polls indicated that 45 percent of the public thought that the country was on the brink of a violent civil war.

Since then, the attacks and the subsequent government decision to launch an all-out campaign against Hamas have united Israelis behind the war. Thus, they have shown overwhelming support for the twin goals of returning the hostages and toppling the terrorist regime in the Gaza Strip. Yet the polarization has hardly disappeared: even now, at the height of the fighting, the trust that Israelis place in the government is at an all-time low, and the rally-round-the-flag effect has been limited to support for the Israel Defense Forces and their mission to defeat Hamas. What does this mean for the country and its ability to shape a stable postwar order?


Read the complete column in the Foreign Affairs