Israeli State­craft: Nation­al Secu­ri­ty Chal­lenges and Responses

Yehezkel Dror
  • Review
By – December 28, 2011
In this impor­tant con­tri­bu­tion to the study of state­craft the author seeks to pro­vide a mono­graph­ic analy­sis and eval­u­a­tion of Israeli state­craft with the help of…concepts and frames.” Yehezkel Dror is a pro­fes­sor of polit­i­cal sci­ence at the Hebrew Uni­ver­si­ty and a for­mer staff mem­ber of the RAND Cor­po­ra­tion. He has been an advi­sor to sev­er­al Israeli gov­ern­ments and he uses his exten­sive expe­ri­ence to detail both the his­to­ry of Israeli state­craft and his advice for how the coun­try might improve. This book is in part based on per­son­al obser­va­tion which pro­vides insights not oth­er­wise avail­able,” writes Dror.

State­craft, as defined here, is the sense of coher­ent, long-term, and broad­band polit­i­cal-secu­ri­ty par­a­digms, assess­ments, frames of appreciation…dealing with issues of much impor­tance to nation­al secu­ri­ty.” In this sense it includes both the his­toric lega­cy of the Jew­ish peo­ple as well as major threats to Israel’s secu­ri­ty, such as Iran’s devel­op­ment of nuclear weapons, and broad his­tor­i­cal-reli­gious trends in the region. In this book, which serves as a sort of primer to under­stand­ing Israel’s posi­tion, numer­ous sce­nar­ios and secu­ri­ty issues are detailed in var­i­ous short lists (forty-four in all) of con­tin­gen­cies, respons­es, and mod­els. For instance, one list exam­ines state­craft errors” which include inad­e­quate inte­gra­tion of the Arab minor­i­ty into Israeli soci­ety” and great dif­fi­cul­ties with the Unit­ed Nations and its bod­ies.

The book is accu­rate, orig­i­nal, and a unique con­tri­bu­tion to this wide-rang­ing sub­ject. How­ev­er, it suf­fers from a chop­py style of writ­ing and a fast-paced approach that forces the read­er, who is expect­ed to have pri­or knowl­edge of the sub­ject, to move quick­ly between var­i­ous types of the­o­ries and real life sce­nar­ios affect­ing the coun­try. The author argues per­sua­sive­ly for reforms to the way Israel views inter­na­tion­al bod­ies, sug­gest­ing that Israel work more close­ly with them. Dror also sug­gests that Israel’s defense estab­lish­ment has had too much influ­ence over Israel’s state­craft. Acknowl­edge­ments, bib­li­og­ra­phy, index, notes.
Seth J. Frantz­man received his Ph.D. from the Hebrew Uni­ver­si­ty of Jerusalem where he cur­rent­ly holds a Post-Doc­tor­al Fel­low­ship. He is a colum­nist for the Jerusalem Post and Fel­low at the Jerusalem Insti­tute of Mar­ket Studies.

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