How Israel Makes National Security Policy
Publication Year: 2012
In Zion's Dilemmas, a former deputy national security advisor to the State of Israel details the history and, in many cases, the chronic inadequacies in the making of Israeli national security policy. Chuck Freilich identifies profound, ongoing problems that he ascribes to a series of factors: a hostile and highly volatile regional environment, Israel's proportional representation electoral system, and structural peculiarities of the Israeli government and bureaucracy.
Freilich uses his insider understanding and substantial archival and interview research to describe how Israel has made strategic decisions and to present a first of its kind model of national security decision-making in Israel. He analyzes the major events of the last thirty years, from Camp David I to the 1982 invasion of Lebanon, through Camp David II, the Gaza Disengagement Plan of 2000, and the second Lebanon war of 2006.
In these and other cases he identifies opportunities forgone, failures that resulted from a flawed decision-making process, and the entanglement of Israeli leaders in an inconsistent, highly politicized, and sometimes improvisational planning process. The cabinet is dysfunctional and Israel does not have an effective statutory forum for its decision-making-most of which is thus conducted in informal settings. In many cases policy objectives and options are poorly formulated. For all these problems, however, the Israeli decision-making process does have some strengths, among them the ability to make rapid and flexible responses, generally pragmatic decision-making, effective planning within the defense establishment, and the skills and motivation of those involved. Freilich concludes with cogent and timely recommendations for reform.
Published by: Cornell University Press
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Title Page, Copyright
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Preface and Ac know ledg ments
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Israel’s history, its travails and accomplishments, especially in the area of national security, have been a lifelong passion. Having been born in the United States in the post– World War II era, following the Holocaust, I have always felt extraordinarily privileged to have been able to enjoy the mag-nifi cent freedoms and opportunities America affords and for which I bear ...
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ORBAT Order of Battle (i.e., size and structure of military formations)...
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Benjamin (Fuad) Ben- Eliezer Brigadier General; Defense Minister, Rafael (Raful) Eitan Lt. General; Chief of Staff, 1978– 1983; Mordechai (Motta) Gur Lt. General; Chief of Staff, 1974– 1978; Benjamin (Bibi) Netanyahu Finance Minister, 1997, 1998– 1999, and Ariel (Arik) Sharon Major General; Defense Minister, 1981– 1983; ...
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A country that sees itself living on the lip of a volcano, or inside the eerie halls of Yad Vashem,* does not plan for the future and does not Ever since Israel’s establishment it has confronted an external environment characterized by nearly overwhelming and unremitting hostility, punctu-ated in recent de cades by periods of opportunity and hope. Repeated ...
chapter oneConstraints and Players
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The External Environment, Proportional Repre sen ta tion System, The messiah arrived, gathered in Israel’s exiles, triumphed over all the peoples around, conquered the Land of Israel . . . and then had to take Israel is a nation without a memory. Memory, for most of us, is a luxury of societies that have the time to study their past, because their ...
chapter twoThe Decision- Making Pro cess
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The Report’s fi ndings raise concerns regarding the quality of the I have never understood what hides behind the linguistic code word “staff work.” . . . Should we assume a huge room with an oval table? And if we do it in a corner, with a low table, coffee and cookies, is this not staff work? Staff work is done through tens of daily phone calls and ...
II. THE CASE STUDIES
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It is not true that Israel’s cabinets never make the right decisions. They often Part II presents the seven case studies. Each study is structured around the fi ve pathologies held to be characteristic of Israeli decision making, as de-scribed in the preceding chapter. As could be expected, the intensity with which the pathologies were manifested varies by case. Some prove stronger ...
chapter threeCamp David I: Making Peacewith Egypt, 1977– 1979
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This case study focuses on the period from the initial diplomatic contacts prior to Egyptian president Anwar Sadat’s visit to Israel in November 1977 and the Camp David Summit in September 1978. Six more months of inten-sive negotiations would be required before the peace treaty was concluded, but the major principles had been worked out by the summit’s end....
chapter fourThe Makings of a Young Lion
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When the Americans went to the moon, it was not just the moon that was their goal. The goal was . . . the scientifi c and technological development along the way. Maybe if we just produced chocolates it would be cheaper. . . . But it would not provide any real scientifi c “Israel,” it seems, is simply the fi rst word in “Israel Aircraft ...
chapter fiveThe Invasion of Lebanon, 1982
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All of Sharon’s reports to the cabinet were submitted under duress. . . . Sharon drew maps for us with all sorts of unacceptable situations, so that if we had refused to approve some move he proposed, we would have been responsible for numerous casualties. . . . This did not leave ground. Even so, he complained that we were persecuting him with ...
chapter sixLeaving Lebanon
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...[A unilateral withdrawal from Lebanon would] “endanger Israel’s security, endanger the security of the residents of the north and On March 6, 2000, the Barak cabinet decided that Israel would withdraw from Lebanon unilaterally, if negotiations then under way with Syria, which was in de facto control of Lebanon, failed to yield an agreed with-...
chapter sevenCamp David II
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Tell the Palestinians discreetly that we Israelis are built for a settle-ment “in one fell swoop,” all the issues, all the subjects, all the pain. As a people and society we are not built for agreements in stages, in When Premier Ehud Barak took offi ce in 1999 he inherited a mixed bag. Six years after the Oslo Agreement launched Israeli- Palestinian negotiations, ...
chapter eightDisengaging from Gaza, 2005
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After years of trying to reach a negotiated settlement we came to the conclusion, during the summer of 2003, that there was no partner, that we were playing solitaire and if that was the case, that we had to deal Disengagement was a missed opportunity of historic proportions. . . . One does not do something without looking two steps forward, but ...
chapter nineBack Again
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Since the goals of the war were never defi ned and because no one clarifi ed what the army was and was not capable of doing, they began chasing an unattainable achievement. Instead of sticking to the IDF’s What was missing [during the war] was a more effective mechanism for the preparation of systematic position papers, analyses and ...
III. FINAL THOUGHTS
If a minister in any other country was to tell the cabinet that “only a miracle can save us,” this would be a sign of impending doom. In Israel, on the other hand, this is merely a statement of policy. The miracle will have to happen— Empires like Britain were established almost without thought and then col-...
Conclusions and Recommendations
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In a few years people will not be able to understand how it was possible [to function] without what we are now creating [the INSC]. The country needs a governmental organ which has neither sectoral nor other interests and which can view things from a national and The role of a staff body is to think coldly in [our] hot hallways. Most ...
appendix 1The INSC Law, 2008
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...1. The cabinet and premier will have a National Security Staff, operated a. Coordination of national security staff work for the cabinet, MCoD, b. Recommending to the premier topics for meetings of the MCoD and other ministerial committees, as well as the participants and their hi-c. Preparation of cabinet and subcabinet meetings and— in addition to ...
261appendix 2Recommendations of the WinogradCommission and the Shahak Committee
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Recommendation: The INSC must be restructured in order to enable a funda-1. The roles of the INSC must be defi ned clearly and include, inter alia, preparation of long- term, integrative staff work on politico- military af-fairs, and the pre sen ta tion to the premier and cabinet committees of po-sitions on all relevant issues under consideration by them. To this, the ...
List of Interviews
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Page Count: 384
Publication Year: 2012
Series Title: Cornell studies in security affairs