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Israeli National SecurityA New Strategy for an Era of Change$
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Charles D. Freilich

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780190602932

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: March 2018

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780190602932.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2020. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 02 December 2020

Israel’s Classic Defense Doctrine

Israel’s Classic Defense Doctrine

Chapter:
(p.14) 1 Israel’s Classic Defense Doctrine
Source:
Israeli National Security
Author(s):

Charles D. Freilich

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/oso/9780190602932.003.0002

Chapter 1 presents the “Ben-Gurion doctrine,” formulated in the 1950s, the closest Israel has to a formal defense doctrine, which still informs its strategic thinking today. The doctrine viewed the Arab-Israeli conflict as uniquely long, bitter, all-encompassing, and existential and considered Israel’s geography a strategic nightmare, making it a vulnerable state with indefensible borders. It stressed the fundamental strategic asymmetries with the Arabs, including territorial and population size, economic resources, staying power, military objectives and capabilities, and diplomatic support. The strategic response it proposed called for “a nation in arms” and was based on “three pillars,” deterrence, early warning, and military decision, and on a defensive strategy to be executed offensively, by transferring the battle to enemy territory. It further emphasized the pursuit of peace as a foremost strategic objective, the need for great power alliances but strategic autonomy, and the importance of nation-building.

Keywords:   Israel, national security, Ben-Gurion, strategy, doctrine, peace, territory, deterrence, early warning, military decision

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