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September 29, 2016 / 26 Elul, 5776
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Understanding Israel’s National-Security Policy

Needed changes in Israel's decision making process have simply not kept up with the growing complexities and synergies of Israel's always-hostile external environment.

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Louis Rene Beres

Louis Rene Beres



Freilich introduces his comprehensive and formidable book with an epigraph from New York Times columnist, Thomas Friedman: “A country that sees itself living on the lip of a volcano, or inside the eerie halls of Yad Vashem, does not plan for the future, and does not think about bold initiatives. It only holds on for dear life.”

Thankfully, the entire argument of Zion’s Dilemmas impressively proves Friedman’s empty witticism to be not only glib and insensitive but also incontestably wrong. Israel, as we can learn from Freilich, actually does far more than merely “hold on for dear life.” True, its survival plans for the future are often fraught with “pathologies,” and, yes, the boldness of its initiatives are not always complemented by commensurately thoughtful policies, but, still, somehow, it has managed to survive against all odds.

A miracle, maybe. More than likely, however, it is “by wise counsel” and even by a “multitude of councilors,” that Israel will ultimately be able to ensure an enduring victory.

Louis Rene Beres

About the Author: Louis René Beres (Ph.D., Princeton, 1971) is professor of political science and international law at Purdue University and the author of many books and articles dealing with international relations and strategic studies.


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