The Suez War had long term ramifications for Israel’s status in the Middle East and for its relations with the U.S., Europe, and the USSR. This article is a first segment in the examination of the interplay between military and diplomatic means deployed by Israel in its quest to consolidate the gains of the 1948 war and secure its sovereignty. It provides a detailed analysis of the Israeli cabinet deliberations as it reached the decision to authorize war. The article examines the cabinet’s opinions on the language of the motion to go to war, the list of casus belli offered, the secret agreement with France and Britain which precipitated the war, considerations of possible complications, the theory of war and peace, the likelihood of regime change in Egypt, and the preparedness of the home front. It raises the question of the relevance of the comparative size and strength of a nation as it ponders the option of launching a war.