Democratic Societies and Their Armed Forces: Israel in Comparative Context

Routledge
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These papers are an edited selection from the BESA conference of 1998. They present an overview of transformations in societal-military relations in the western world, and the specific manifestations in Israel.
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Additional Information

Publisher
Routledge
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Published on
Feb 1, 2013
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Pages
312
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ISBN
9781136330070
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Language
English
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Genres
History / Military / General
Political Science / Security (National & International)
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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This book analyzes the way Israel has coped with nine wars of attrition from the 1950s to the recent Second Lebanon War (2006), questioning the belief that Western democracy cannot sustain prolonged wars of attrition.

Challenging Israel with attrition has been compatible with the 'Arab way of war', which emphasizes staying power, and with the belief that democracies cannot tolerate wars of attrition, either economically or psychologically. Israel for its part developed a self-image of incapacity to sustain prolonged wars, committing itself to a traditional offensive approach to blitzkrieg, whenever possible. The book offers an account of nine wars of attrition that Israel was involved in over almost 60 years, from Palestinian infiltration and fedayeen activities against Israel in the early 1950s, through to the Second Lebanon War in 2006. The author uses these cases to challenge the myth that Israel cannot afford to become involved in a draining war of attrition.

Focusing on central aspects typical of Western democracies engaged in wars of attrition – operational effectiveness; the societal staying power; the economic burden of the war; moral dilemmas; and conflict management problems - the book challenges the myth that Israel cannot afford to become involved in a draining war of attrition, while at the same time highlighting the fact that in its wars of attrition Israel has not always succeeded in avoiding undesired escalation.

This book will be of much interest to students of strategic studies, Israeli history, Middle Eastern politics, and security studies in general.

Avi Kober is a member of the Department of Political Studies at Bar Ilan University, Israel and is a Senior Research associate with the BESA Center for Strategic Studies.

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NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • The first definitive history of the Mossad, Shin Bet, and the IDF’s targeted killing programs, hailed by The New York Times as “an exceptional work, a humane book about an incendiary subject.”

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The Talmud says: “If someone comes to kill you, rise up and kill him first.” This instinct to take every measure, even the most aggressive, to defend the Jewish people is hardwired into Israel’s DNA. From the very beginning of its statehood in 1948, protecting the nation from harm has been the responsibility of its intelligence community and armed services, and there is one weapon in their vast arsenal that they have relied upon to thwart the most serious threats: Targeted assassinations have been used countless times, on enemies large and small, sometimes in response to attacks against the Israeli people and sometimes preemptively.

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