Yair Golan was the No. 2 general in the Israel Defense Forces from 2014 to 2017. He then became a member of Israel’s parliament for Meretz, the most progressive party on the Israeli political spectrum. In 2023, Golan helped lead the mass protests against conservative-led attempts to curb the power of Israel’s liberal-leaning judiciary.

When news broke of a Hamas invasion the morning of Oct. 7, Golan drove to the scene in his Toyota and rescued Israelis fleeing the music festival massacre, a daring mission that was widely covered in the Israeli media. Now, he is the favorite to lead the left-wing Zionist bloc in the next Israeli general election, whenever it happens. (The Labor Party primary is May 28.)

Democrats in Washington often seem to assume that if only conservative Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu could be removed from power, Israel would align more closely with dovish U.S. policy preferences in the Middle East. They misunderstand Israel. The hawkish impulses even at the progressive frontier of Israeli politics show the depth of the Jewish state’s consensus that its security situation is dire.

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