National security has been at the forefront of the Israeli experience for seven decades, with threats ranging from terrorism, to vast rocket and missile arsenals, and even existential nuclear dangers. Yet, despite its overwhelming preoccupation with foreign and defense affairs, Israel does not have a formal national security strategy.
In Israeli National Security, Chuck Freilich presents an authoritative analysis of the military, diplomatic, demographic, and societal challenges Israel faces today, to propose a comprehensive and long-term Israeli national security strategy. The heart of the new strategy places greater emphasis on restraint, defense, and diplomacy as means of addressing the challenges Israel faces, along with the military capacity to deter and, if necessary, defeat Israel’s adversaries, while also maintaining the resolve of its society. By bringing Israel’s most critical debates about the Palestinians, demography, Iran, Hezbollah, Hamas, US relations, and nuclear strategy into sharp focus, the strategy Freilich proposes addresses the primary challenges Israel must address in order to chart its national course.
The most comprehensive study of Israel’s national security to date, this book presents the first-ever public proposal for a comprehensive Israeli national security strategy and prescribes an actionable course forward.
The US-Israeli relationship, both at the governmental level and the Jewish community, is a considerable focus in the book, which weighs four critical questions in this regard: to what extent the price of an extraordinary bilateral relationship has been a loss of Israel's independence, whether Israel could even survive today without the United States, where the relationship is heading and what is or should be doing about it.
"A must read, an exhaustive and ground-breaking study of Israel’s national security. Building on an extensive analysis of the threats Israel faces today, and its capabilities for dealing with them, Freilich proposes a comprehensive new national security strategy. It will inform public and expert debate for many years to come."
Dan Meridor, former cabinet minister
"Israeli National Security is a mine of information and original insights, with highly significant and hitherto unpublished data that place it in a category of its own. A must for both professionals and laymen, friends and adversaries, its non-confrontational and easy style coax the reader through, never stopping. The last two chapters – proposed strategies and policy recommendations – provide a unique compass for the future."
Efraim Halevy, Former Director of Mossad and National Security Advisor
"Israel lives in a dangerous neighborhood. Its leaders have always believed that Israel must be able to defend itself by itself. Being weak in the Middle East is a prescription for not surviving. But being strong requires not just military power but a healthy economy, an involved citizenry, and weighty allies. Freilich has written an important new book – it outlines Israel’s challenges, domestic, regional and international, and offers a coherent and compelling set of policy recommendations. For Freilich, Israel must not be self-satisfied or willing to cede the initiative to those who threaten it. His analysis, recommendations and broad conclusions should be read by all who are interested in Israel’s future and heeded by Israel’s leaders."
Dennis Ross, Former US Special Mideast Peace Envoy, Counselor at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy
"The current Israeli security environment is unusually complex, and one cannot ask for a better guide through its tangles than Freilich. With great clarity, he lays out the political and military changes and the choices facing Israel. Any scholar or person interested in the region will learn from this book, as I did."
Professor Robert Jervis, Columbia University, former president of the American Political Science Association, author of How Statesmen Think: The Psychology of International Politics
"The existential threats that the young Jewish state faced in 1948 were reflected in the defense doctrine articulated by Israel’s founder, Ben-Gurion. In this book, Freilich provides what is probably the most comprehensive, thorough and up-to-date analysis of Israel's defense doctrine today. The book’s conclusions and recommendations indicate the need for a fundamental review of Israel's defense doctrine. Important and highly recommended!"
Maj. Gen. (res.) Ido Nehushtan, Former Commander of the Israeli Air Force and Head of the IDF Planning Directorate