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  You are in: Home > Middle East Studies > Defence and Diplomacy in Israel’s National Security Experience  

Defence and Diplomacy in Israel’s National Security Experience
Tactics, Partnerships, and Motives

David Rodman

David Rodman has written numerous articles, review essays, and book reviews on various aspects of the Arab–Israeli conflict for professional journals, including Middle Eastern Studies, The Journal of Strategic Studies, MERIA Journal, Israel Affairs, Defence Studies, and Air & Space Power Chronicles. He has also contributed chapters to From War to Peace?, Review Essays in Israel Studies: Books on Israel, Vol. 5, and Between War and Peace: Dilemmas of Israeli Security.

Examines Israel’s national security experience since its establishment in 1948
Provides an inclusive yet concise examination of Israel’s national security policy
Surveys the central concepts behind the state’s national security doctrine

This work defines the central concepts of Israel’s national security doctrine as deterrence, geography, manpower, quantity versus quality, offensive maneuver warfare, conventional versus unconventional threats, self-reliance, great power patronage, and peripheral partnerships.

The author describes and explains how these concepts have influenced the war fighting experience of the Israel Defense Forces, including the air force and the navy. Special attention is paid to Israel’s relationships with the United States, Turkey, and India as they relate to the Jewish state’s national security, and in particular offers a new interpretation of what really drives these relationships; the motives behind Israeli foreign policy and Israeli arms export policy; and whether Israel’s national security doctrine ought to include a capability to threaten the existence of hostile Arab (and Islamic) governments.

Sections of this book have been used to teach a class on strategic studies at the National Defense University in Washington, DC.


INTRODUCTION The Basics of Israeli National Security

1 THE ISRAELI WAY OF WAR: The Operations and Tactics of the Israel Defense Forces

2 DOMINATING THE SKY: The Role of the Israel Air Force

3 COMMANDING THE SEA: The Role of the Israel Navy

4 SECURITY VERSUS AUTONOMY: The American–Israeli Relationship in War

5 PERIPHERAL PARTNERSHIPS: The Israeli–Turkish and Israeli–Indian Relationships

6 REALIST OR JEWISH (I): The Motives Behind Israeli Foreign Policy

7 REALIST OR JEWISH (II): The Motives Behind Israeli Arms Exports

8 DAVID’S SLING, GOLIATH’S HEAD: Targeting Arab (and Islamist) Governments

CONCLUSION Continuity and Change in Israel’s National Security Experience

Select Bibliography


“In a short, insightful book about Israel’s strategic thinking, Rodman proves a clear overview of Israel’s national security… [The author] reviews the appropriate paradigm for the analysis of Israel’s external strategy, and Israel’s rare attempts to adopt far-reaching goals such as targeting hostile governments.” Middle East Quarterly

“As Israel and Hezbollah disengage in Lebanon and the international community grudgingly attempts to enforce a cease-fire, the Israeli political and military elites will, no doubt, embark on some significant introspection. Not least, they will wonder why they ostensibly failed to neutralize the threat posed by Hezbollah, even with the support of both the US and the UK. Written in 2005, Rodman’s book elucidates upon a number of issues pertaining to asymmetrical warfare and general threats from nonstate actors, an especially relevant subject within the context of the recent violence in Lebanon. In particular, the author states that, should Israel find itself fighting in another regional war, it would be likely to attack its enemies’ targets with air, sea and land-based ordnance before engaging in ‘ offensive manoeuvre warfare’ (p. 14) … Well-written and well-researched.” Israel Affairs

“While Defense and Diplomacy in Israel's National Security Experience was written in 2005, it reads as if it was intended as an alternative to the flimsy analysis of the newspaper and television coverage of the 2006 Lebanon hostilities. The television and news analysis of Israeli tactics in that war tended to view each new action taken by the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) from the standpoint of world opinion, or at best, from the standpoint of a single tactical premise and not from an overall strategic objective. Rodman’s book, instructs the reader to view IDF tactics from both the historical and long-term perspective.

David Rodman’s book provides a well organized, well written, and thorough analysis of Israel’s military for a period of sixty years. More importantly, it provides an objective basis for understanding Israel’s military reaction to recent, and present, provocations. Because the threats to Israel must be viewed as existential, as opposed to the threats posed recently to the United States, Israel’s response must be viewed in the context reflected in this tightly written and cogent work.” Journal of Global Change and Governance

“This book of essays examines a wide range of topics from the role of the Air Force in Israel’s National Security strategy, to Israel’s bilateral relationship with Turkey and the US, to Israel’s arms export policy and the factors motivating its foreign policy. However, these, and a number of other issues, are all linked together by their centrality to Israel’s complex, and at times contradictory, national security requirements. Given the challenges facing the Jewish state this work is very timely, all the more so because the author brings a deep knowledge to the subject. All in all a highly informative work that makes an important contribution to the literature on Israeli strategy and involvement in the international arena.” Efraim Karsh, Head Mediterranean Studies Programme, King’s College, University of London

“David Rodman has written a much-needed update and reconsideration of Israel’s national security strategy and practices. Comprehensive and original, this book is useful reading on an important and controversial subject.” Barry Rubin


Publication Details

Hardback ISBN:
Page Extent / Format:
172 pp. / 229 x 152 mm
Release Date:

February 2005

  Illustrated:   No
Hardback Price:
£37.50 / $52.50

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