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National Security and Democracy in Israel

Avner Yaniv, editor
ISBN: 978-1-55587-324-0
ISBN: 978-1-55587-394-3
1993/257 pages/LC: 92-21085
IDI Policy Studies

"A concise and neatly woven portrait. . . . presents a composite picture of the complexities and should be recommended for any serious student of Israel."—Digest of Middle East Studies


The Arab-Israeli conflict in general and the Palestinian intifada in particular have given rise to a wave of critical reappraisals of the Israeli experience—reappraisals that increasingly have come from those who can only be described as mainstream Israelis. Situated within this emerging tradition of scholarly criticism, this book addresses a variety of problems that arise from the fact that Israel has been, since its inception, a democracy under siege.

The authors offer analyses of Israel's concept of national security, its civil-military relations, Jewish-Arab relations within the boundaries of Israel, the challenge of maintaining a progressive interpretation of the rule of law against the background of a tense security situation, the problem of maintaining freedom of the press in these circumstances, the domestic implications of Israel's opaque nuclear posture, and, finally, the "saving graces" of an imperfect democracy.


The late Avner Yaniv was most recently vice president and professor of political science at the University of Haifa. He also taught in the IDF's National Defense College and was a frequent visiting professor of government and national security studies at Georgetown University. His publications include Dilemmas of Security: Politics, Strategy and the Israeli Experience in Lebanon and Deterrence Without the Bomb: The Politics of Israeli Strategy.


  • Introduction—A. Yaniv.
  • The Israeli Concept of National Security—D. Horowitz.
  • Civilian Components in the National Security Doctrine—M. Lissak.
  • A Question of Survival: The Military and Politics Under Seige—A. Yaniv.
  • Part of the Problem or Part of the Solution: National Security and the Arab Minority—S. Smooha.
  • Vox Populi: Public Opinion and National Security—A. Arian.
  • National Security and the Rule of Law: A Critique of the Landau Commission's Report—M. Kremnitzer.
  • The Press and National Security—P. Lahav.
  • The Debate that Never Was: Nuclear Weapons and Israeli Democracy—A. Cohen.
  • An Imperfect Democracy?—A. Yaniv.