The Association of Civil-Military Studies in Israel – Issue no. 3

Review of articles from Israel on civil-military relations

June - September 2021


We are glad to present the English edition of our quarterly report designed to provide an update on the evolving knowledge in the association’s field of interest. The report is based on analysis of journals as well as websites of research and governance organizations in Israel and abroad. We believe that members of the association will be able to find in the report updated information that will assist them in developing research.

This edition includes articles published from June – September 2021, and the next edition will include October to December 2021. The report contains abstracts and references to articles, research reports, and books published during this period. It encompasses most of the articles written by researchers in Israel as well as a selection of sources from around the world. In total, the current review includes 38 articles and books, and it was compiled and edited by Dr. Itamar Rickover and Ms. Liraz Reinuss.

This review was conducted with the support and collaboration of Ariel University and will be is distributed to research institutes and universities abroad that engage in the association’s fields of interest.

This file can also be found on our website

We would appreciate any comments on additional information and important fields of interest that should be added and developed. For this purpose, we can be contacted hear


Prof. Uzi Ben Shalom
Chairman of the Association of Civil-Military Studies in Israel

Dr. Itamar Rickover
Director of the Association of Civil-Military Studies in Israel

What is the Association of Civil-Military Studies in Israel?

The Association of Civil-Military Studies in Israel was established in 2012. All members of the association are researchers who engage in academic research on civil-military relations, and they belong to different disciplines: communications researchers and political scientists, sociologists and anthropologists, historians and economists, legal experts, educators, and psychologists. The association’s researchers have very diverse political outlooks and strategic approaches; nevertheless, the common element that joins us in one community is the recognition that there is a need for maximally objective research of the activities of security institutions, their interface with other government institutions, and their control by society.

Heading the association’s goals are the promotion, presentation, and analysis of interdisciplinary studies focusing on varied points of view concerning civil-military relations in Israel: the connections between the military and society, the interface between the civil echelons and the military echelons, the relations between the military and other security organs, and the various social and organizational aspects of the military. Moreover, the association also acts to disseminate the accumulated knowledge in Israel and in other countries, among academic entities, the military, security institutions, and the public at large.

Chairman of the association: Prof. Uzi Ben Shalom

Director of the association: Dr. Itamar Rickover

Previous chairmen: Prof. Yoram Peri, Prof. Ze’ev Drory, Dr. Reuven Gal (founder).


The association, together with the Maarachot Press, publishes a biannual journal entitled “The Israeli Journal of Society, Military, and National Security”. The first issue was published in January 2021. It can be accessed here.

The association’s website:


Members of the association’s management (in alphabetical order): Dr. Avi Bitzur, Prof. Eyal Ben-Ari, Dr. Ofra Ben-Yishai, Prof. Uzi Ben Shalom, Dr. Reuven Gal, Prof. Ze’ev Drory, Prof. Ayelet Harel-Shalev, Mr. Roni Or Tiarjan, Prof. Stuart Cohen, Prof. Udi Lebel, Dr. Eyal Levin, Prof. Ehud Menipaz, Prof. Hillel Nossek, Dr. Carmit Padan, Prof. Yoram Peri, Dr. Itamar Rickover, Dr. Eitan Shamir, Prof. Gabi Sheffer, Dr. Idit Shafran-Gittleman, Dr. Dov Tamari.

Legal counsel: Adv. Eyal Nun. Accountant: Chen Noy.

To join the association please contact the director, Dr. Itamar Rickover,

at 054-3098055, e-mail:

Military and society

Tzvi Tzameret, Ze’ev Drory, and Yechiam Weitz (2021).

. Jerusalem: Rubin Mass.

Israel’s fifth decade, 1988-1998, was one of the saddest in its history but also one of its most formative. Grave events that will be remembered for generations occurred in this decade. It began with the First Intifada, continued with the Gulf War and hundreds of terrorist attacks in Israel and Lebanon, and reached its climax with the despicable murder of Prime Minister Itzhak Rabin, which shook the foundations of the country and of society. At the same time, it was a formative decade in which the Israeli economy grew and large parts of the market were privatized; basic laws that changed the face of Israel’s law system were enacted; new human rights standards were set, particularly regarding women’s and children’s rights; the Oslo Accords and the Israel-Jordan Peace Treaty were signed; dozens of countries formed diplomatic ties with Israel (including China and India); Israel established itself as a hi-tech country and became involved in space projects; about one million immigrants arrived from the Soviet Union and tens of thousands from Ethiopia. By the end of the fifth decade the image of the country had undoubtedly changed. All these – and other topics pertaining to this period – are discussed in the book in the papers of top researchers.

Link to abstract of the book

Asaf Wininger (2021).

Jerusalem: Knesset Research and Information Center.

This document was written at the request of Member of Knesset Ofir Sofer and it will present select data on the state religious school system. As requested, data on the following topics are presented: the number of students and their proportion of all students in the school system; unique groups (immigrants and gifted students); academic achievements (eligibility for a matriculation certificate and for outstanding matriculation); proportion of enlistment in the IDF and encouraging civic engagement; inspection of the size of the schools; inspection of students’ transition from the elementary school stage to junior high school.

Link to the article

Inbal Orpaz and David Siman Tov (2021).

Tel Aviv: Institute for National Security Studies.

The military action during Operation Guardian of the Walls was complemented by social media activity, which reflected developments in the Gaza Strip and in Israeli cities that have a mixed Jewish and Arab populace for a variety of audiences: Israeli, Palestinian, Arab, and global. While it is at times hard to assess the impact of achievements in the social media arena, its effects appear to include increasing fear among the public and organized participation in violent incidents, as well as influencing global public opinion toward Israel and contributing to the increase in manifestations of antisemitism around the world. This article surveys four arenas in the digital campaign that accompanied Guardian of the Walls and analyzes the efforts to exert influence. The goal is to improve Israel’s preparations for the next digital campaign, examining aspects related to improving public readiness, which is the target of social media efforts and disinformation campaigns.

Link to the article

Asaf Malchi (2021).

Jerusalem: Israel Democracy Institute.

Military service is a constitutive major experience in the life of many young Israelis, and quite a few prepare for it in advance. Among other things, they develop many expectations and hopes of the various roles offered in the IDF, which they assume will result in different types of benefits and gains when they resume their life as civilians. This is all the more true of those on the margins of Israeli society.

The book focuses on two unique marginalized groups – young Ethiopian Jews and ultra-Orthodox men. The contribution of military service to the social and economic mobility of people from these two groups was explored through a series of personal encounters and interviews with young people from these groups before and after their military service, who truthfully approached challenging questions concerning the national, civil, social, and economic place and designation of the IDF in the twenty first century. The book illuminates social-community processes and spheres related to the motivations and expectations of military service among young people from these social peripheries, as well as their ability to make the most of it consequently following their “experiences”.

Reviewing the book brings to the surface complex social and national issues and summons in-depth and innovative consideration of the essential question regarding the future role and place of the IDF in Israeli statehood for those in the social periphery and for Israeli society as a whole.

Link to abstract of the book

Udi Lebel & Dana Masad (2021).

Religions12 (9), 750.‏ ‏

Life Scripts and Counter Scripts are used to illustrate the struggle by Israel’s Nationalist-Ultra-Orthodox Rabbinical authorities within the Zionist-religious community against military service for women. Following years in which the army had been out of bounds for the normative life scripts of the community’s women, the enlistment of women was relatively legitimized and normalized (although still far from becoming mainstream). These women identified an epistemic community that enabled them to establish life scripts offering community logics by which military service is perceived as empowering and offering positive capital and meaning. Conversely, leaders of conservative organizations within the Zionist-religious community, identifying the enlistment of women as a threat to the essentially religious-chauvinistic community order, embarked upon an internal campaign aimed at preventing it. This campaign can be seen as an attempt to establish a ‘counter script’ to the women’s enlistment script. It does not attempt to convince based on religious logics but by refuting beliefs formed as part of the script the women imagined would become their reality after they enlist. The paper analyzes a specific discourse arena taking part in the campaign—that of online videos distributed on YouTube and social media, aiming to influence attitudes. We conclude that, despite attempts to establish counter-scripts, by definition, these initiatives consist of an admission of weakness by the religious-rabbinical authority, as its very need to distribute these videos points to a double-bind and an ‘own-goal’ of sorts for the conservative authorities within religious-nationalist society.

Link to the article

Yagil Levy (2021).

British Journal of Middle Eastern Studies, 1-21.‏

This article aims at challenging the widely accepted argument that Israel has failed to enforce the law on Jewish communities in the West Bank. It argues instead that, since the 2000s, there has been a gradual creation of two armies within the Israel Defense Forces: alongside the ‘official’ army, a ‘policing’ force has emerged in the Israeli-controlled West Bank. Although it is ostensibly subordinate to formal political authority, it has become a quasi-militia force, relied on by both standing forces and local militias, executing a policy which often oversteps official procedures. Its main unofficial task is to entrench Israel’s grip on the West Bank in the form of informal annexation, without resorting to an internationally unacceptable formal annexation. Thus, this army operates in a grey manner, in a duality of official and unofficial forms of action, while claims about failure in law enforcement are what legitimize the duality of this structure.

Link to the article

Omri Herzog & Idan Yaron (2021).

Journal of Visual Literacy, 1-19.‏

This article offers a reading of visually and ethically disturbing images, published over the past two decades, that have earned far-reaching exposure: photographs of male and female soldiers grin as they observe horrific sights. In most cases, these images, uploaded to social media, sparked a heated international debate. Perhaps more than other visual elements in these photos, it was the female soldiers’ smiles against the backdrop of atrocities that gained a greater presence in the eye of the media storm that had ensued, earning far more attention than the smiles of the soldiers’ male counterparts. Indeed, this visual imagery directly indicates the construction of femininity and masculinity within militaristic-cultural contexts and dictates its own ideological perceptions and moral judgments. A reading of the smile’s meanings in this context raises issues connected to the anthropology of physical gestures and the theory of photography, as well as to current ideological-ethical issues. This article comprises three pivotal interpretations, and while each framework construes the meaning of the smile in its own way, gendered visual literacy underlies all of them. By using this case study in order to point to visual literacy’s seminal role in critical interpretation, we aim to demonstrate the cruciality of feminist visual literacy in a multi-dimensional analysis of visual imagery.

Link to the article

Shai Shorer, Rachel Dekel & Orit Nuttman-Shwartz (2021).

Death Studies, 1-9.‏

Military widows’ remarriages and their consequences have scarcely been studied. We examined how legal changes enacted on behalf of remarried war widows, who regained their official rights after many years without them, impacted their life experience. Based upon 29 qualitative interviews, we found that the reinstatement of official recognition of widowhood validated participants’ personal longitudinal grief but also revived painful loss-related feelings, which were expressed in interpersonal spheres. Policy changes allowed some widows a higher measure of independence, alongside upsetting the current couple’s power balance. Social and clinical implications of such interruptions in the longitudinal grief course are discussed.

Link to the article

Motti Klang (2021).
Beyn Hazirot, Issue 16.

The effectiveness of groups has crucial significance in the IDF, as it does in organizations in general. This field study, based on the social network analysis approach, presents evidence of the influence of social cohesion on the effectiveness of groups. In this way, the study provides work tools for the officers and commanders of the Behavioral Science Department, in order to evaluate the social cohesion of the groups they lead and take action to improve their effectiveness.

Link to the article

The military organization and the military profession

Shaul Bronfeld (2021).

Bein Haktavim: Contemporary Issues in Operational Art, 33; Military leadership.

How should the IDF military leader learn strategy? The article examines learning by senior commanders in the IDF from a critical perspective, including how they learn about strategic thinking from the extensive academic literature in the fields of strategic management and business administration. Bronfeld stresses the problems this involves, which in his opinion overshadow the benefits of learning from these fields. He posits that the problematic aspects are a result of the business interests that affect these fields (the “strategy industry”, as he calls it), the lack of conceptual and methodological clarity that characterizes them, and the considerable difference between military and business organizations, which limits our ability to convert conceptions and concepts from the business sphere to the military sphere.

Link to the article

Uri Bar-Joseph (2021).

Hevel Modi’in: Kinneret Zmora Bitan.

When the Yom Kippur War began, the Israeli Air Force was considered the best in the world. In the years prior to the war it received about half Israel’s defense budget, removed from service most of the outdated planes with which it had achieved victory in June 1967, and doubled the number of its fighter planes. Its pilots had rich operational experience and were world champions in downing planes. It was clear to everyone that if war were to break out the Air Force would not only vanquish its Arab rivals but also pave the way for the ground forces. These expectations were dashed. In the initial harrowing days of the war, the Air Force provided only partial assistance to the ground forces and did not manage to realize its full abilities and to contribute significantly to achieving victory almost until the end of the war. The question of why this happened has not been fully answered to this day. It remains a “black hole” in the history of the war.

Link to abstract of the book

Uzi Ben Shalom, Niv Gold, Corrine Berger, Nehemia Stern, Avishai Anthonovsky & Dvir Peleg (2021).

Israel Affairs, 1-18.‏

This article analyses the experiences of IDF soldiers involved in subterranean operations in Gaza. While tunnel warfare is a central element in warfare, few sociological studies have focused on this element of combat. In-depth interviews reveal the day-to-day experiences of the specialised combat engineering units tasked with subterranean operations during the past two decades. The themes identified are: ‘Operational activity in tunnels as an experience’, ‘Courage and danger’, ‘Selection and classification of manpower’ and ‘Accumulating experience’. An awareness for generational differences in the narratives allows an analytical model based on four different models for organising forces for operations in tunnels.

Link to the article

Ehud Eilam. (2021).

Comparative Strategy40 (3), 245-253.‏

In recent decades there has been a clear decline in both the scale and how deep the Israeli military had penetrated into enemy territory. The article first examines how Israel managed to gain impressive victories in high intensity wars, mostly in 1967, by carrying out large scale ground offensives. Then the article argues that in fighting non state actors (Hezbollah/Hamas) in the 1990s, and in the 2006, 2008-2009 and 2014 wars, Israel relied too much on air power and not on a major ground offensive. The reasons for this approach were fear of the political ramifications. Israel also strongly wished to avoid heavy casualties, of both Israelis and Arab noncombatants.

Link to the article

Eitan Shamir. (2021).
Intelligence and National Security, 1-18.‏

The purpose of this paper is to reassess the widespread accepted criticism of Moshe Dayan’s functioning as defense minister towards and during the 5 Yom Kippur War. Now that most of the archival documents have been opened to public view, we can better assess his performance during the war. This reassessment changes the picture: Dayan did not collapse, and the professional opinions he expressed were generally sound when accounting for the information available to him; however, there is no doubt that he allowed his subordinates to see his disturbed emotions and shook their confidence – a failure of leadership.

Link to the article

Yagil Levy. (2021).
Critical Military Studies, 1-20

This article is conceptually motivated. By drawing on cases from the U.S. and Israeli militaries, it aims at demonstrating the existence of two separate systems of legitimacy of military violence – extra-military and intra-military – and mapping the gaps between them. It conceptualizes the legitimacy of violence and then maps seven conditions under which gaps are created between the two systems, as follows: the uniqueness of military culture, the extent to which the military does not mirror society, field command’s broadening improvisation and interpretation, ambiguous political directives, the extent to which the military leverages a legitimacy dispute, troops’ resistance, and the diachronic systems of legitimacy. The appearance of these gaps is more likely to present with weakening of civilian control and the break-up of military hierarchy.

Link to the article

Corrine Berger, Uzi Ben-Shalom, Niv Gold & Avishai Antonovsky (2021).

Military medicine.‏

Tunnel operations produce unique psychophysiological activation that is correlated with cognitive impairment and lower performance. This study introduces a new concept: subterranean operational potential (SOP) and assesses its psychophysiological correlates for performance prediction in underground spaces. 138 soldiers of elite infantry battalions, with/without previous experience, who participated in a simulation of tunnel warfare. Physical, psychological, cognitive style, and performance measures were collected. SOP has three sub-components: performance, leadership, and orientation. Leadership and performance both were negatively correlated with perceived stress. Claustrophobia was negatively correlated with leadership. The cognitive style was positively correlated with performance. Saliva cortisol levels were significantly higher before the simulation. Inexperienced and experienced differed in the change in before-after saliva cortisol levels.

Link to the article

Eitan Shamir (2021).

Journal of Strategic Studies, 1-24.‏

This paper to uncovers how leaders practice emergent strategy as a core strategic philosophy. The article uses the case of general and statesman Moshe Dayan as a principal case study to uncover leadership and management practices of emergent strategy. Following a discussion on the emergent versus deliberate strategy schools, I show why Moshe Dayan as a leader can be considered as an archetype of the emergent approach worth studying. I then present six leadership principles that enabled him to practice the emergent approach. The article concludes with discussion of the limitations and value of the emergent approach for leaders today.

Link to the article

Donna L. Schuman, Christine Highfill, Amy Johnson, Stephanie Henderson & Pavleta Ognyanova (2021).
Journal of Empirical Research on Human Research Ethics, 15562646211038161.‏

Researchers using online ethnographic methods to study military communities must employ higher standards of ethical practice. Military populations may face significant risk if reidentified in research. These requirements are especially salient for online data collection. This review questions how and to what extent military online ethnographers are addressing ethics considerations. We charted evidence from seven military studies using an online ethnographic method. Findings reveal that most online military ethnographers did not utilize sufficient ethical safeguards in their studies. Additionally, they did not document or transparently disclose the ethical steps they may have taken. This study argues implementing ethical safeguards is especially important for protecting vulnerable military populations. We present a strategy for evaluating ethics practices in online ethnographic research and provide best practices for military online ethnographers.

Link to the article

Dudi Fuchs (2021).
Beyn Hazirot, Issue 16.

Much has been written about the difference between training and actual battle. Training tends to take place in defined time spans, with a sense of limited desire for friction, while taking no risks, over-estimating friendly forces, and under-estimating the enemy. All this is far from the reality in the battlefield, which on many dimensions requires opposite conceptions (Ravid, 1996; Cherniak, 2012). Major stressors often emerge in battle due to the sense of uncertainty, surprise, intensity of the fire, and exposure to extreme sights in cases of injury and death (Gal, 1988), which are usually not evident during training. Differences between that which occurs in training and in battle are evident, for instance, in the ratio of fire (Marshall, 1947), which demonstrates how, in contrast to the impression formed during training when everyone participates in the act of battle, in actual fighting the proportion of the participants is only about one fifth (!) of the overall force.

This article will describe a unique simulator-based training model developed in the Nachal Brigade, which attempts to bridge the discrepancy between training and the battlefield by creating a scenario that produces pressure and uncertainty, while emphasizing the development of the commanders and their more effective responses to challenges. We shall start by presenting the theoretical body of knowledge on simulation training, which constituted the foundation of the model. Then we shall present the training model itself. Finally, we shall show how this training model influenced the commanders participating in the training.

Link to the article

Naama Yaakov (2021).

Beyn Hazirot, Issue 16.

As part of the contemporary challenges of the information era and the Fourth Revolution, the IDF is dealing with concepts of networking organizations and digital transformation. This leads to questions concerning the ability to respond in a rapid and multidisciplinary manner to new challenges that emerge frequently in the current and future battlefield. Despite the many discussions of flexible and expeditious actions, the angle of the organizational structure is one that has not been sufficiently highlighted. Attempts at adapting the structure to the challenges usually encounter difficulties that concern breaching the boundaries of the existing ideas and premises with regard to structures, rooted as they are in the reasoning of the industrial era and the mechanistic theory.

In this article I shall try to lay the foundations for a renewed analysis of the organizational structure in the era of the Fourth Revolution. The article will open with a review of terms related to the organizational structure in the context of recent organizational theories and will propose a model for observing the different types of organizational structures. In the next chapter, each type of organizational configurations will be described with respect to the model and to the classical definitions of organizational structures. At first, the “shared space” type will be described, then the “communities” type, and finally the “shared platform” type.

Link to the article

Yizhaq Benbenisty (2021).
Beyn Hazirot, Issue 16.

The attempt to understand the future is probably as dated as the history of humankind. In the period following the Second World War and in light of the Cold War and the threat of an atomic war, a discipline emerged that purported to portray possible future scenarios, in an attempt to influence ongoing developments. This discipline evolved over time and developed many qualitative and quantitative methodologies for assessing and characterizing future scenarios. The IDF too has tried to tackle these processes. The present article reviews the development of the futurism discipline as well as several of its methodologies, and presents two processes with a futuristic orientation that have been implemented in the IDF in recent years.

Link to the article

Liraz Sapir and Keren Mazuz (2021).
Beyn Hazirot, Issue 16.

Over the years, much attention has been focused on how technological systems shape and change the battlefield and it is clear that armies invest many resources in the research and development of new technologies with the aim of generating their military advantage and superiority in various contexts. The transition to digital technology is affecting the entire military organization and influencing it in many respects. In general, the concept of “transformation” as a military outlook is associated with various changes in the system, with the aim of becoming a newer and more effective force (Freilich, 2006; McGregor, 2001). Military transformation is defined as a continuous process with no end point: it is shaped on an ongoing basis in response to current threats.

In this article we shall argue that the digital transformation in the IDF is not merely technological but rather accompanied by the need for a cultural and perceptual transformation – which is at times even more meaningful than the technological change; we shall examine this through the process of forming the smart territorial brigade in the Shomron Brigade in 2019. This case study constitutes a basis for learning about change processes in organizational and behavioral contexts; the meanings that arise from these processes as indicating the emergence of a new manner of operation that is being developed and incorporated in the IDF in various operational contexts, as well as learning about the role of the behavioral science officer in this context. The article is based on the writers’ joint accompaniment of the transformation process.

Link to the article

Military, Government, and Other Defense Organizations

Yoram Evron (2021).
Maarachot, 491.

The competition between the superpowers of the United States and China is a mix of the military and economic dimensions, with the technological dimension in between. For this purpose, China has harnessed both its defense and civil industry in order to achieve its political goals. Israel, which has ties with both superpowers, must become familiar with the Chinese system and its complexities, and particularly the relations between its military and civil sector, in order to dispel the concerns of both parties.

Link to the article

Avner Barnea (2021). 

Rowman & Littlefield.

‏The disciplines of strategic intelligence at the governmental level and competitive business intelligence constitute accepted methods of decision-supporting to prevent mistakes and strategic surprise. This research discovered that many researchers in the intelligence field feel that intelligence methodology in both contexts has reached a “glass ceiling.” Thus far, research has focused separately on national intelligence and intelligence in business, without any attempt to benchmark from one field to the other. This book shows that it is possible to use experience gained in the business field to improve intelligence practices in national security, and vice versa through mutual learning. The book’s main innovation is its proposition that mutual learning can be employed in the context of a model distinguishes between concentrated and diffused surprises to provide a breakthrough in the intelligence field, thereby facilitating better prediction of the surprise development.

Link to abstract of the book

Donatas Palavenis (2021).

Israel Affairs, 1-15.‏

This article investigates the context and development of the Israel Defence Industries (IDI) during the period 1930–2018. During this timeframe, the IDI was forced to transform several times with the Israel Ministry of Defence acting as the main facilitator. Well established links among government institutions, academia, investors and the IDI contribute to armament quality and innovations which supports market expansion. Nevertheless, US support remains an important enabler in facilitating the IDI developments. Nowadays, the IDI is an important player in Israeli economics that contributes to the exports and facilitates developments in other sectors.

Link to the article

Tai Ming Cheung (2021).

Journal of Strategic Studies, 1-27.

‏Gaining a decisive technological edge is a never-ending pursuit for defence establishments. Intensifying geo-strategic and geo-economic rivalry among major powers, especially the U.S and China, and the global technological revolution occurring in the civilian and military domains, promise to reshape the nature and distribution of global power. This article provides a conceptual framework for a series investigating the state of global defence innovation in the twenty-first century. The series examines defence innovation in small countries with advanced defence innovation capabilities (Israel, Singapore), closed authoritarian powers (North Korea, Russia), large catch-up states (China and India) and advanced large powers (U.S.).Link to the article

Link to the article

Richard A Bitzinger (2021).
Journal of Strategic Studies, 1-28.‏

Both Israel and Singapore engage in military-technological innovation in areas deemed critical to strategic sovereignty. Both countries have consistently championed high levels of funding for military R&D and for maintaining and nurturing indigenous defense industries. Both countries have, to a varying degree, also strongly supported the cultivation of local S&T, including the spin-on of commercial high-technology breakthroughs into the defense sector. Israel has been more successful when it comes to military-technological innovation, mostly because it has to: its strategic situation is much more tenuous than Singapore’s. Singapore, on the other hand, faces much less of an existential threat, and so its military-technological innovation activities are more one of desire than necessity

Link to the article

Military culture, personnel, and human resources

Ayala Eliyahu (2021).

Knesset Research and Information Center.

This document has been submitted to the Immigration, Absorption, and Diaspora committee, and it deals with housing assistance for lone soldiers. The document will present data on lone soldiers and the housing solutions offered them by the IDF, the living conditions in the housing solutions, their cost and funding. Furthermore, data on the financial aid provided to lone soldiers for the purpose of housing will be presented, as well as on housing solutions offered by non-profit associations. In conclusion, points for discussion arising from the review will be presented.

Link to the article

Nehemia Stern (2021).
Israel Affairs, 1-16.‏

How does the Israel Defence Forces cultivate the image of a ‘hero’ within its combat ranks? By analysing a series of online educational videos on combat heritage, this article will demonstrate how the IDF’s current heroic imagination is grounded in a subversion of the ‘Strategic Corporal’ paradigm. Within this paradigm, junior ranking soldiers are seen as increasing the chaos inherent in asymmetrical conflicts. By contrast, this article will argue that a focus on the learned elements of professionalism and training are seen as creating the conditions wherein every man (or woman) can become a ‘hero’.

Link to the article

Meir Elran, Sasson Hadad, Tomer Fadlon and Ofer Shelah (2021).
Tel Aviv: Institute for National Security Studies, 1503.

Endorsing the position of the IDF Chief of Staff, Israel’s Prime Minister and the Ministers of Defense and Finance decided recently to postpone implementation of a previous government decision to shorten compulsory IDF service for men. Accordingly, compulsory IDF service for men will continue to be 32 months. This weighty decision opposes the recommendations of several professional commissions and earlier decisions by the government and the Knesset to gradually shorten men’s compulsory service to 24 months. Moreover, human resources development planning for young people in Israel should be based on an integrated national, social, and economic approach that addresses a variety of needs, including those of the IDF. The appropriate model for IDF compulsory service for men should form a balance between 28-30 months of compulsory service and strengthened IDF core systems comprising standing army soldiers serving shorter terms. There should be a differential model of compulsory service, which shortens the duration of service in units with a personnel surplus, and a system of longer and better-paid positions for those serving in essential roles.

Link to the article

Zeev Lerer (2021).
Jerusalem: Van Leer Institute.

The “Kaba” (Hebrew acronym for “Quality Group”), the major and primary selection instrument affecting the military service of enlistees, was formed and shaped in the 1950s. Over the years, rumors, myths, and urban legends developed around it but it remained unclear and mysterious, a type of “black box”. The ethnic code – Selection practices and ethnic identities in the IDF is a book that purports to expose the contents of this black box. It is based on a doctoral thesis that discussed IDF soldiers from the 1950s to the late 1990s. Drawing from analysis of documents, the book describes decision making processes concerning the “Kaba” instrument and reveals a range of data that indicate the differences between enlistees of Ashkenazi and Mizrahi descent regarding their “Kaba” scores, the origins of these differences, and mainly their impact on ethnic stratification in the IDF. Zeev Lerer’s book offers a critical sociological view on the question of how practices of inequality operate in a modern organization, as well as how they are facilitated. The author describes the cultural and political oppression of Jews whose families originated from Arab countries precisely within an institution that promised them equality, partnership, and national honor.

Link to abstract of the book

Dotan Druck (2021).

The RUSI Journal, 1-11.‏

Changes to conflicts involving the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) and its design in the Gideon and Tnufa (Momentum) multi-year plans necessitate a profound examination of how army reserves will be employed in aspects such as order of battle, organisation, fighting and support equipment, training, competence, and readiness for fighting scenarios and situations. In practice, the IDF’s operational concept for the reserves in emergency and war situations seems to have changed years ago, but it should be clearly defined and explained to all relevant entities, and in particular to the reserves themselves. Dotan Druck argues that the current concept is no longer ‘the regulars will hold’, as it originally was, but now ‘the reserves will hold’ or ‘the reserves will allow the regulars to decide’.

Link to the article

Oshri Bar-Gil (2021).

Dado Center for Interdisciplinary Military Studies.

It is currently evident that we do our best to make an effort and strive for any type of innovation, but in the process, we often encounter outdated mechanisms and exhausting bureaucratic systems. Does mere “talk of innovation” slow down the pace of innovation? In his article, Bar-Gil indicates the IDF’s concept of innovation, whereby the new is always preferable. He claims, for example, that commanders may strive to stand out as innovators, so much so that they may think more about the innovation itself rather than about its benefit, and suggests observing the “illusion of innovation”, while he also offers several organizational solutions.

Link to the article

Michal Frankel, Ariel Forer, Tal Atlas and Itay Katko (2021).

Maarachot, 491.

The COVID-19 crisis taught us that even if it appears that IDF actions were undertaken with no advance preparation, they were based on the available human resources. In order to enable this, however, IDF commanders must encourage the integration and development of values that allow the formation of an optimal culture and remove organizational barriers when necessary.

Link to the article

Ayelet Berkovich and Shahar Eldar (2021).
Beyn Hazirot, Issue 16.


In the last decade we have witnessed a shift in the traditional labor structure and the emergence of new employment forms characterized by flexible employee-employer relations and switching employers, as well as career changes, sometimes even manifold. In the IDF similar processes are evident, which are affecting aspects of commitment to the organization and to one single profession throughout one’s military career. These include the distinction between an initial career and a main career, the transition from a budgetary pension plan to a cumulative pension plan, and processes of cutback and dismissal. Where in the past military service was characterized by long-range service and high employment security, at present components of vagueness and transience occupy a more significant place.

These changes are leading to a shift in the psychological contract of the standing forces, requiring up-to-date treatment of issues pertaining to military quality and preservation of high standard personnel. This article will describe the development process of a job counseling mechanism within the military framework, while addressing the various issues and dilemmas encountered by the counseling team, and thoughts regarding further expansion of the project will be presented.

Link to the article

Yair Noam, Yuval Solomon, Tzlil Barabi, and Hadas Alon (2021).

Beyn Hazirot, Issue 16.

In the early 1950s, when the IDF received a more official form, the selection system upon entering mandatory service was also established, designed to perform a crude classification of recruits. The classification was on a hierarchical basis, and it divided military personnel by rank: soldiers, junior command, and officers. This classification was developed in order to facilitate best planning, recruitment, and placement of candidates in the various settings, and to construct each setting according to the three ranks necessary for its functioning. These categories became known as “quality groups” – low, medium, and high. The measure used to determine the categories was called “Kaba” (a Hebrew acronym for “quality group”). This classification was also used to determine one’s professional suitability for various roles. In this way a single measure was formed – the “Kaba” – which serves to classify thousands of potential recruits by type of service (enlisted, NCO, officer) and by the jobs they are to perform during their military service. The “Kaba” measure is based on the universal selection approach whereby a uniform structure is used to predict the individual’s success at work, beyond the specific roles occupied (Halpern-Porat, 2018).

In the first decade of the 2000s, in addition to environmental changes in the IDF (social and organizational), an alternative selection approach was proposed, one based on differential roles and employment suitability. This approach assumes that different abilities, inclinations, and skills are needed in order to perform different roles and that these abilities, inclinations, and skills are normally split among the potential recruits. Using this approach, it is possible to match the profile of skills and inclinations necessary to occupy a role with the actual profile of an individual’s skills and inclinations, in order to attain the best possible performance (Halpern-Porat, 2018). Employment selection in the IDF (the “Meah” Day – a Hebrew acronym for selection, location, matching) is built on these conceptions and is applied at present only to potential female recruits. Despite the progress made in the approach to selection, towards a differential approach and multiple dimensions, as part of the multi-year selection program led by the Personnel Planning and Utilization Brigade of the Adjutant General Branch, there is clearly still a way to go with regard to equality between the sexes.

Link to the article

Meidad Avidar and Caroline Levi Zeira (2021).

Beyn Hazirot, Issue 16.

Our world is changing at a quicker pace than in the past in many spheres. Among others, it is possible to note frequent technological changes, for instance rapid development of the fields of artificial intelligence, robotics, and information technology. These changes influence and are influenced by the rapid globalization of information, commodities, and people, as well as by the development of international and subnational organizations that are a threat to the nation/state orientation of the world as shaped in the modern era.

The social and technological changes reflect on the nature of military confrontations in Israel and around the world, which are becoming (in some cases) more technological and encompassing gradually more non-state organizations. The might of the IDF is increasingly activated in a form that combines forces from different corps and divisions. The shifts in the nature of the confrontations and particularly the frequent changes in the challenges encountered by the IDF increasingly emphasize that the current power building processes have not been adapted and do not prepare the IDF forces to best handle the challenges posed by non-state forces, as well as not facilitating best utilization of the current technological abilities. The purpose of the present article is to further illuminate how meaningful power building processes necessary at this time can be maintained, as well as the role of the behavioral science officer in urging and supporting these changes.

Link to the article

Sarit Alfia-Dimant and Sarit Tuby (2021).
Beyn Hazirot, Issue 16.

The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) has encompassed from its initiation a range of employment forms: the standing army comprised of officers (as the main military core from whence derives its ethos and service concept) and NCOs, IDF employed civilians, as well as external employment of civilians through private companies or private contractors (with no employer-employee relations). In recent years we are witnessing a change in the operating logic, reflecting new cognitive paradigms that are affecting the organizational premises, with an emphasis on identifying the commander population, distinguishing between different populations, and as a result detecting actual and desirable commander development processes and what integrative systemic processes are required in order to generate joint work processes for the purpose of promoting organizational tasks and increasing organizational effectiveness.

This article focuses on IDF employed civilians in management and leadership ranks. Its purpose is to present the current state of affairs with regard to IDF employed civilians from two main perspectives: the organizational-systemic perspective and the perspective of IDF employed civilians in management roles, while presenting their perceptions and experiences both as workers in a military organization and as managers within it. In this article we shall examine the point of encounter between the definitions and perceptions of the system and of its various elements and the perceptions and experiences of individuals (as stated, IDF employed civilians in management roles). All these will make it possible to form a perceptual and practical foundation with regard to IDF employed civilians – from both employment and development aspects.

Link to the article

Full list of references

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