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Militarism and Israeli Society

Edited by Gabriel Sheffer and Oren Barak

Publication Year: 2010

Challenging the established view that the civilian sector in Israel has been predominant over its security sector since the state's independence in 1948, this volume critically and systematically reexamines the relationship between these sectors and provides a deeper, more nuanced view of their interactions. Individual chapters cast light on the formal and informal arrangements, connections, and dynamic relations that closely tie Israel's security sector to the country's culture, civil society, political system, economy, educational system, gender relations, and the media. Among the issues and events discussed are Israel's separation barrier, the impact of Israel's military confrontations with the Palestinians and other Middle Eastern states -- especially Lebanon -- and the impact of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. The Israeli case offers insights about the role of the military and security in democratic nations in contemporary times.

Published by: Indiana University Press

Series: An Israel Studies Book


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pp. v-vi

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pp. vii

The editors extend our sincere thanks to the Van Leer Jerusalem Insti-tute, and especially to its former director, Shimshon Zelniker, for their help that has facilitated the successful operation of the Workshop on Israeli Security and Society and the 2006 international conference. We thank Ilan Troen and Natan Aridan, the editors of Israel Studies, for ...

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pp. 1-12

Although “security” is probably the most central issue pertaining to the lives of all Israeli citizens, it is usually dealt with by politicians, academics, and media commentators using traditional and conventional theoretical and analytical tools. Thus, the study of the various aspects of the relationship between Israel’s “civil” and...

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1 The Study of Civil–Military Relations in Israel: A New Perspective

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pp. 25-52

Because of its theoretical and practical significance and implications, in recent decades civil–military relations in Israel have been the focus of extended debates among analysts from different academic disciplines.1 That more than a half-century after its establishment, Israel lacks clearly defined and internationally recognized borders; that it is still engaged in ...

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2 Military Knowledge and Weak Civilian Control in the Reality of Low Intensity Conflict—The Israeli Case

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pp. 53-77

The reality of wars and violent conflicts brings the military to the front of the stage and empowers its presence in public discourse. It also has influence over public opinion due to its expertise and professional re-sponsibility for exercising military power. Under such circumstances, the challenge of maintaining civilian control over the military increases ...

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3 Civil Society, the Military, and National Security: The Case of Israel’s Security Zone in South Lebanon

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pp. 78-105

Israel’s unilateral retreat from South Lebanon on May 23–24, 2000, represents a unique case of security policymaking in Israeli history. For the first and only time in its history, an ex-parliamentary grassroots movement played a key role in reshaping the national security agenda in...

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4 Intractable Conflict and the Media

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pp. 106-130

Growing recognition of media influence in society has led scholars of civil–military relations in Israel, as elsewhere, to pay increasing attention to the way the media interacts with the military, war, or “military affairs,” as the realm of national security has come...

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5 Tensions between Military Service and Jewish Orthodoxy inIsrael: Implications Imagined and Real

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pp. 131-155

Of the several recent transformations in the sociological profile of the Israel Defense Forces (IDF), arguably the most conspicuous is the growth in the number of male troops in field formations who adhere to Jewish Orthodox practice and now wear a kippah serugah (knitted skullcap). Signs of that development, although evident for some time, have of late ...

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6 From “Obligatory Militarism” to “Contractual Militarism”—Competing Models of Citizenship

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pp. 156-178

In the mid-1980s, following the 1973 War and the Lebanon War of 1982, scholars of Israeli society identified a decline in military motivation among Ashkenazi secular youth, mainly pupils from elite, secular high schools1 and kibbutz youngsters,2 formerly ...

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7 Shadow Lands: The Use of Land Resources for Security Needs in Israel

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pp. 179-201

From time to time in recent years, the media in Israel have reported on security infrastructures. These reports refer to such topics as “IDF Deployment and Readiness along the Lebanese Border,” “The Separation Fence,” “Evacuation of Camps in Urban Centers,” “Civilian Activity...

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8 “The Battle over Our Homes”: Reconstructing/Deconstructing Sovereign Practices around Israel’s Separation Barrier on the West Bank ·

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pp. 202-223

In June 2002, the Israeli government decided to construct a barrier that would separate Israel from the Occupied Territories in the West Bank. The decision followed massive pressure by the Israeli public that had been subjected to nonstop suicide bombing attacks by Palestinians during the Second Intifada. Soon, however, it became clear that such...

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9 The Debate over the Defense Budget in Israel

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pp. 224-248

Israel is a small country whose very existence has been repeatedly challenged by its neighbors. To confront these threats, it has invested large quantities of human and material resources in the development of a strong army ...

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10 Civilian Control over the Army in Israel and France

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pp. 249-269

The problem of civilian control over the armed forces is of major concern in all democracies. It is even of more concern in those countries that have a large army or are engaged in a protracted international conflict. This is particularly the case, or was the case, in countries such as the United States, Britain, France, and Israel. What ...

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11 The Making of Israel’s Political–Security Culture

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pp. 270-290

Complexity is the key feature of civil–military relations in Israel. Many scholars have tried, and will probably continue to try, to comprehend the exact nature of these relations. Given the fact that security still is at the top of the agenda in Israel, several interesting studies have of late joined the list of attempts at fathoming the state’s civil–military...

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12 The Discourses of “Psychology” and the “Normalization” of War in Contemporary Israel

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pp. 291-314

A former chief psychologist of IDF declares that in Israel, military service is as natural a life-course stage as are pregnancy and birth.1 A feature magazine article describes how a veteran of the 1973 war discovers and comes to terms with “his” post-traumatic syndrome, and how he is...

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13 Visual Representations of IDF Women Soldiers and “Civil-Militarism” in Israel

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pp. 315-339

In September 1949, during a period of “postwar” or “in-between” wars, the first Knesset discussed national military service and approved the Security Service Law (SSL).1 This law laid the foundations for a phenomenon that was very unusual for its time: the mandatory conscription...

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14 Contradictory Representation of the IDF in Cultural Texts of the 1980s

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pp. 340-356

The Israeli poet Haim Gouri related a conversation with an Egyptian intellectual, Dr. Hussein Fawzi, who told him that every intelligence officer must study poetry. Had Israeli Intelligence read the Egyptian poetry written after 1967, he told Gouri, Israel would not have been surprised by the outbreak of the 1973 War.1 This is probably an exaggeration: poetry,...

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15 Military and Society since 9/11: Retrospect and Prospect

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pp. 357-369

The militant Islamic, terrorist outrage in Mumbai in late November 2008 was immediately referred to by some commentators as “India’s 9/11.” This was because, inter alia, the attacks were on symbols of Indian capitalist cosmopolitanism, such as the Taj Mahal Hotel; there was targeting of...

Appendix A. Israeli Ministers of Defense since 1948

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pp. 370-371

Appendix B. Chiefs of Staff of the Israel iDefense Forces since 1948

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pp. 372-373

Appendix C. Important Dates

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pp. 374-379


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pp. 380-381


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pp. 382-397

E-ISBN-13: 9780253004208
E-ISBN-10: 0253004209
Print-ISBN-13: 9780253354419

Page Count: 396
Illustrations: 7 b&w illus.
Publication Year: 2010

Series Title: An Israel Studies Book