In conclusion, the articulation of the democratic dilemma in the Israeli judicial and political arena has been revealed to be much more than a theoretical or institutional discussion. During the course of the various debates, which ultimately recognized the need to disqualify political parties, defensive democracy has imposed itself as a new regime of truth delimiting what is legitimate and what is not in the matter of party representation in a democracy. This dominant discourse has not only led to the institutionalization of limits on political participation by legitimizing the passing of the amendments studied above, but has significantly transformed the accepted meaning of democracy, its identity and boundaries. The construction of a narrative according to which democracy would have to defend itself against enemies has conferred a meaning to democracy that largely differs from the original model of democracy, as defined by the Israeli discourse itself. By “defending itself,” the Israeli democracy has been transformed into a regime in which democratic rights have become a conditional attribute of the nation-state, ready to be sacrificed in the name of the latter’s survival and where allegedly suspicious citizens can be excluded from the polity. Under those circumstances, the room for substantial — rather than formal — pluralism has itself become considerably limited.
The article analyzes a relatively unknown, yet influential, contemporary fundamentalist theology of revenge as put forward in the religious writings of Meir Kahane (1932–1990), the notorious militant nationalist. We seek to provide a theological context for this militancy, so as to display the motivational logic behind this troubling trend in Jewish thought and practice. While the doctrine itself has emerged only quite recently, it draws on theological ideas that reach back to the medieval period. In the article we outline the early sources and discussions (Biblical, Rabbinic, medieval, etc.) that constitute the background of Kahane’s radical theology of revenge.