Like many other countries, Israel is rethinking its security. Although it was the prime beneficiary of changes in the strategic environment over the past decade, systemic transformations have also brought new uncertainties and challenges that complicate Israel’s policy choices with regard to strategic aims, procurement policy, personnel development, readiness levels, and order of battle. What is more, Israeli defense and foreign policies must be formulated within a society whose institutions are riven, in virtually every case, between “new thinking” and inherited patterns of belief and behavior rooted in hard experience.
During a three-month research stay in Israel, I had the opportunity to raise various security issues with a wide range of Israeli politicians, defense and foreign policy officials, journalists, academics, businessmen, and policy analysts at leading universities and research centers. The views presented here owe much to the insights and information generously shared by these individuals, who for the time being must remain anonymous, and whose assessments are tentatively offered as part of a larger study of how Israelis see their long-term future.