Now in Bookstores: Israel's Way of War

In his second book, Ehud Eilam lays out a strategic and operational analysis of the way Israel had conducted its wars and confrontations between the years 1948-2014

Now in Bookstores: Israel's Way of War

Since its establishment in 1948, Israel had to handle high, hybrid and low intently wars. This book examines how Israel dealt with all those diverse confrontations by evaluating their political, strategic and mostly military factors, such as combat patterns of the IDF.

Israel had several basic strategic challenges that had to do with high-intensity wars, such as lack of strategic depth and asymmetry between it and the Arabs, which required an adequate combat doctrine. At the same time, Israel had to deal with low-intensity wars, which had a linkage to high-intensity wars such as by the way they were conducted.

Since the early 80’, Israel dealt with hybrid foes in four wars: the PLO in June – September 1982, the Hezbollah in July – August 2006, and the Hamas in December 2008 – January 2009 and July – August 2014. Those confrontations are analyzed in this book according to their theater of operations, the 1982 and 2006 wars in Lebanon and the 1956, 1967, 2008-2009 and 2014 clashes in the Gaza Strip.

Another aspect of the book is the similarity between Israel and Western states, mostly those of the United States and Britain, in fighting high and low-intensity wars. Special attention is devoted to compare the Vietnam War and Israel’s war against Hezbollah in Lebanon in the 90’.

"Dr. Eilam’s book is a cogent, valuable, fact-based analysis of Israel’s wars. Besides his breadth of knowledge and easy-to-follow style, his neutrality is evident, a welcome change from a lot of the polemics surrounding this topic. This is definitely a worthwhile read."

     - Sara Miller, Queen's College, New York

"This Book is a masterpiece! It is required reading for all students of international relations and security studies."

     - John M Nomikos, Director, Research Institute for European and American Studies (RIEAS), Athens, Greece

"This book is about the wars in the Middle East, 1948-2014. Anyone with an interest in today's war against Terror organizations, will find a comprehensive account and a stimulating comparative analysis of Low-intensive-war scenes over the last 30 years."

     - Prof. Zeev Drori, Col. (Ret.), Kinneret College, Israel

"Dr. Ehud Eilam has written a brilliant book on the nature of modern warfare. He ranges from counter-insurgency in Gaza to the hybrid war fought between Israel and Hizbollah in 2006, among other subjects. If you are interested in the future of Israel, the Middle East or of warfare in general, this is a must read."

     - Dr. Thomas Parker, Ph.D., George Washington University

"As a primary lesson of the War of Independence (1948-9), the IDF was built and organized so as to beat its Arab mobile state-armies counterparts, achieving decision through rapid encirclement and creating deterrence by threatening Arab capitals and regimes, forcing them to submit to Israel’s terms. Pursuance of this strategy afforded the IDF impressive victories in 1956, 1967 and especially in 1973, a war in which it was caught by surprise and unprepared. In addition, the IDF has been forced to fight extended wars of attrition against Arab terrorism, in various forms. As opposed to the wars fought against Arab armies, the anti-terrors campaigns were designed to minimize losses while extracting a heavy toll from its perpetrators. Hence, they became protracted attritional fights,in contradiction to the IDF’s fundamental mission, e.g. to win wars by quickly achieving a decision. The paradox stemming from the conflicting requirements made of the IDF have had and continue to have far-reaching ramifications on its fighting capacity and achievements in the wars it fought for a decision on the one hand, and the campaigns conducted for current security, on the other.

"By placing this very paradox at the heart of his research, Ehud Eilam’s has raised a unique and significant contribution to the literature on IDF fighting. He examines the IDF’s fighting from 1948 through 2014 in three primary theaters of operations: the Gaza strip, Lebanon and the west Bank, while comparing the IDF’s efforts to those of the American’s efforts against terror and guerilla in Vietnam and in Libya in 2011. In his research, Eilam demonstrates how the paradox faced by the IDF since its inception has begun to characterize other western armies over the past two decades. The significance of Eilam’s work is further demonstrated in his decision to include a chapter discussing lessons from IDF doctrine and strategy relevant to conflicts between western armies and various potential adversaries."

     - Dr. Hanan Shai, Lecturer at the IDF’s Military Colleges and in the International Relations and Political Science departments of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and Bar-Ilan University


This is Ehud Eilam's second book. His first, "The Next War between Israel and Egypt", examined a high-intensity war between two of the strongest militaries in the Middle East – Israel and Egypt. Read more about it here.

Israel’s way of War - A strategic and operational analysis, 1948–2014 by Ehud Eilam (Jefferson NC: McFarland 2016)


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