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

Israel's unilateral withdrawal from south Lebanon in May 2000 was a unique case in which a public campaign led by a grass-roots movement shaped the government's policymaking on national security. That this withdrawal was decided and implemented despite the IDF's reservation and adherence to the quarter-century old concept of a 'security zone' in south Lebanon, further underlines the unprecedented nature of this case in a state where the military institution is a key player in determining the state's security policies. The article explains this case by examining the origins of the 'security zone' concept and the causes for its sustenance and decline along with the changing nature of civil–military relations in Israel since the late 1970s. The article suggests that civil society succeeded in its campaign against the 'security zone' because the concept had been obsolete long before, yet this success must be understood within the context of shifting perceptions and values in the Israeli society toward security and individual sacrifice.