This study analyses the mainstreaming of radical right ideology in Israel. Focusing on the political discourse used to describe the current asylum issue in the country, the article claims that features of radical right ideology are not limited to the discourse of radical right parties, but increasingly pervade the mainstream. Through discourse analysis of parliamentary discussions over asylum, the study highlights the discursive strategies and linguistic properties used in the expression of radical right ideology. The findings reveal the distinct manner in which both party families express radical right ideology; while the radical right discourse is explicit, overall, the mainstream discourse is implicit, with traces of explicitness observed. The Israeli case reveals significant insights into the scope of radical right ideology and the manner in which, through language and discourse, its features make their way through the political spectrum.
After the 1948 war, the cease-fire lines between Israel and its neighbours remained porous. Palestinian refugees crossed the borders. Some returned to cultivate their fields; others crossed the border as thieves. Some intended to murder Israelis and wreak terror. Most of the refugees who made their way into Israel were not violent, but their presence frightened Jewish civilians living in frontier regions. Policy-makers and cultural agents of the social elite mobilized to mould the threatened population into Israelis who could display fortitude. The article analyzes the emotional regime the Israeli state sought to inculcate and the desirable and undesirable outcomes of this policy.