Beyond Culture and Economy: Israel’s Security-driven Populism

Levi, Yonatan & Agmon, Shai. “Beyond culture and economy: Israel’s security-driven populism.” Contemporary Politics 27, no. 3 (2021).

Despite being largely overlooked in the literature, Israel provides a rare example of what a full decade of twenty-first century populism in power looks like. Based on an examination of rhetoric and policymaking between 2009 and 2019, this article brings the writing on the subject up to date and highlights the unique traits of Israeli populism. In so doing it establishes that Israeli populism has been mainstreamed to a remarkable extent and currently encompasses almost all right-wing parties in the country’s legislature. Moreover, it shows that the Israeli case embodies a variety of populism which has yet to be acknowledged in the literature – neither economic nor cultural in character, but rather based on national security issues. The concept of ‘security-driven populism’, introduced here, could prove useful to researchers studying other populist regimes that do not fit neatly into the ‘culture versus economy’ debate, which has dominated the field for years.

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