Summary of Israeli National Security

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Israelis are bombarded by news coverage of terror attacks and surrounded by hostile neighbors, so it’s no surprise that many feel they live under constant threat. In this intriguing overview, Charles Freilich urges Israelis to take a deep breath and welcome a new reality – namely, that they, and their nation, are safer now than ever before. While Freilich serves up a sweeping overview of Israel’s military history, his primary message is that Israel needs to strike a lasting peace with the Palestinians. Much of the world is baffled by Israel’s hard-nosed policy on West Bank settlements, he argues, and the Palestinians have outmaneuvered Israel in the court of public opinion. Thus, the best way for Israel to continue to prosper is to adopt a more conciliatory stance to the Palestinians, and to pursue an ultimate goal of a two-state solution. While Freilich tends to repeat points more often than necessary, the former security adviser to Israel offers a lively and trenchant prescription to Israel’s present-day challenges. While always politically neutral, getAbstract recommends this analysis to readers interested in Israel’s past, present and future.

About the Author

Charles D. Freilich is a former Israeli deputy national security adviser and a senior fellow at Harvard’s Belfer Center, where he specializes in Israeli national security strategy, US-Middle East policy and Middle Eastern affairs.



Stability Is the Dominant Theme

Since its shaky and uncertain inception, the Israeli state has faced no shortage of serious threats to its survival. Israel occupies territory in a distinctly inhospitable region. Surrounding Arab states have, consistently, vowed to destroy the nation. Amplifying the angst, Israel’s turf is comparatively small, geographically, and unprotected by natural geographic borders. Even so, over the decades, the country has managed to pile one victory atop another. The Israelis have not only formed a strong Jewish state, they have outlasted their enemies’ desire to destroy their nation. Indeed, today, Israel finds itself in the best strategic position in its history. The country’s prosperity and stability are more robust than ever, while its adversaries are weaker than ever. 

Despite hostile neighbors and its precarious location in a chaotic region, Israel has executed a national security strategy that has achieved the state’s goals in dramatic fashion. While Hamas, Hezbollah and Iran loom as foes, for the moment, the menace they pose does not threaten Israel’s very existence. In fact...

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