The Association of Civil-Military Studies in Israel – Issue no. 4

Review of articles from Israel on civil-military relations

October - December 2021


We are glad to present the second English edition of a biannual 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.

The fourth edition includes articles published from October – December 2021, and the next edition will include January to March 2022. 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 44 articles and books, and it was compiled and edited by Ms. Liraz Reinuss, Ms. Oshrat Tzipori and Dr. Itamar Rickover.

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, Dr. 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

Itamar Rickover, Ofra Ben-Ishai, and Ayala Keissar-Sugarman (2021)
Religions, 12(11), 921.

In recent years, Israel has witnessed two significant processes that challenge the dominant republican discourse that prioritizes military over national-civic service (known as The Israeli national-civilian service—NCS) in terms of contributing the constitution of citizenship and of the material and symbolic convertibility offered to service candidates. The first is related to the expanding range of roles offered in the NCS. The second, related process, which is our current focus, occurs among young religious women from the urban upper-middle class who respond to this expansion by seeking to serve in technological roles, given their high qualifications. Combined, these processes transform the status of the NCS and accelerate the de-monopolization of military service.

To examine the contribution of religious young women to the change in the status of service in Israel, we conducted a narrative analysis of interviews with service candidates. Our analysis revealed their strategic use of four different discourses: the neo-liberal economic discourse, the liberal rights and self-realization discourse, the ethnonational discourse, and the religious gender discourse. The way the participants negotiated the four discourses to justify their selection of either military or national-civic service structured their agency as actors transforming the power equation between the two types of service.

Link to article

Meir Elran, Ofer Shelah, Kobi Michael, Carmit Padan, and Zipi Israeli (2021).
Tel Aviv: Institute for National Security Studies, Issue 1523.

Several recent accumulating events may reflect growing gaps between public attitudes regarding how the IDF is managed and how the army presents itself. These may explain the decline in public confidence in the army, so vital to the civil-military relationship. How can the IDF preserve its status as the people’s army over time?


Link to article

Elisheva Rosman (2021).
Israel Democracy Institute.

The IDF has always been perceived in Israel as the people’s army, comprised of all parts of the nation, defending it in full, and forming a link between its various sectors. But does the IDF indeed manage to fulfill its mission of connecting? A new study explores whether serving together enables the different groups to fully accept and become familiar with each other, or whether each remains entrenched despite the joint service.


Link to article

Uzi Ben Shalom, Rinat Moshe, Roni Mash, and Amit Dvir (2021).
Society, Military, and National Security, Issue 2.

This paper provides visual analysis of a representation sample of terror attacks (TA) which occurred in Israel during 2015-2016, a period which is labeled “The Intifada of Individuals”. The aim of the study is to explore the “Black Box” of face-to-face belligerent encounters. The “New Wars” approach require analytical and methodological tools that could be used for sociological interpretation of close quarter violence. Our research may add a new direction to this purpose by using available materials that military sociologists can retrieve and employ when they use the “Macro” level framework in their study of “Micro” level actions. We suggest that the current abundance of audiovisual devices allows a new perspective of belligerent friction typical of New Wars. Our methodology includes a combination of video and audio materials from open source. The collection of the data was augmented by automatic data mining software that collected additional videos in social networks. Our analysis untangles the complexities of belligerency by minimizing the overall occurrences to the actions of the antagonist, the disrupter and the crowd. The results point to the utility of microsociology analysis in the understanding the violence of TA and overcoming the manipulation of the events by media, government and terrorists.


Link to article

Ofir Kabilo (2021).
Society, Military, and National Security, Issue 2.

The reserves have been a central pillar in the security concept of the State of Israel from the inception of the state to today. In the year 2000 the reserves underwent changes and transformations that were influenced by a number of factors, both internal military factors and external ones. The legislation of the Reserves Law of 2008 was completed after a long process in the IDF and the Knesset, and was influenced by events such as the Second Lebanon War and the protest by reserve soldiers.

The article examines whether the legislative process that led to the Reserves Law of 2008 reveals the influence of civilian groups on its content, and the ramification of this influence on the activity of the army. I shall illustrate the influence of civilian groups on the enactment of the Reserves Law by means of the idea proposed by Stuart Cohen which he called an "Coup in Reverse" (Cohen, 2005, 8-21). The article illustrates the idea of "Coup in Reverse" on the basis of the activity of the "Amuta for Reserve Soldiers " in the legislative process that led to the enactment of the Reserves Law.


Link to article

Meir Elran, Ephraim Lavie, Meni Itzhaki, and Mohammed S. Wattad (2021).

Tel Aviv: Institute of National Security Studies.

Shooting in residential neighborhoods, massive street fights, and more than 100 murders so far this year: in 2021 the Israeli public has come to recognize that violence in the Arab sector is a national problem that affects the population as a whole, and must be addressed in fundamental fashion. Yet how can this phenomenon be successfully uprooted? INSS researchers propose a comprehensive framework designed to improve significantly the response to this threatening problem


Link to article

Shlomo Black (2021).
Tel Aviv: Institute for National Security Studies, Issue 1529.

In August 2021 the Knesset committee approved a bill designed to escape the existing dead end on the issue of haredi (ultra-Orthodox) enlistment in the IDF. However, the wording of the proposal, the lack of clarity within the IDF on the matter, and the absence of willingness to change among the ultra-Orthodox themselves do not guarantee that the problem will be resolved. It appears that even if the proposal is accepted, the integration of the ultra-Orthodox community into the state institutions, the IDF, and the labor market will not change. This article analyzes the forecast and suggests alternative ways of resolving the legal and social conundrum.


Link to article

Israel’s public discourse reflects society’s ability to deny the military violence implemented in its name. The violence carried out by government forces is perceived as legitimate but the ideology that justifies this violence seeks to conceal the violent act per se and to disguise the violent nature of military actions. This insight is true particularly when the violence is aimed at enemy citizens in acts of military policing, in a way that involves loss of human life and humanitarian abuses. Hence it is necessary, and even socially mandated, to investigate the legitimization of the violence. Although this need is assumedly obvious, investigation of the legitimacy of using violence – whether the fundamental justification for establishing a power structure based on utilizing violence or the justification for actual organized employment of physical force against the enemy – is not evident in Israeli research. This book seeks to help deal with this research lacuna and to encourage a public debate on issues raised by the utilization of violence. The book is comprised of three parts: a conceptualization of the legitimization of violence, the process of managing the legitimization of the violence on the level of the forces and on the level of the military organization, and social and political negotiation of the legitimization of violence and of its various interpretations. The book includes articles from a variety of perspectives and disciplines that together enable a glimpse behind the scenes of the process of legitimizing military violence in Israeli society.


Link to abstract of the book

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

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 which 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

Avner Cohen (2021).

Society, Military, and National Security, Issue 2.

The Israeli nuclear case is different and unique than any other nuclear weapons nation.  At the core of that uniqueness is the dual fact that Israel is viewed (for decades) as the sixth nation to develop, produce and possesses nuclear arsenal (by the eve of the 1967 war Israel “improvised” its first nuclear explosive devices) while Israel is also the only state among the nine nuclear weapons that refuses to confirm or deny its nuclear status. The Israeli nuclear anomaly, often referred as Israel’s nuclear opacity policy, is extraordinary both for its long duration (over half a century) as well as the degree of its persistence. That uniqueness has created a most unique Israeli model of nuclear governance.


This paper focuses on narrating Israel’s nuclear history from the perspective of civil-military relations and the evolution of its unique governance system.  The paper argues that Israel’s opacity has yielded tangible implications for nuclear governance and command and control, issues that hardly ever discussed in public. 


Link to the article

Anat Waldman, Roni Tiargan Orr and Reuven Gal (2021).

Society, Military, and National Security, Issue 2.

Israel is one of the only countries in the Western world that still maintain compulsory military service. Consequently, there is a considerable concern about the level of motivation to enlist to the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) and serve in different service paths. Changes in the Israeli society, such as the rise of liberal ideology at the expense of national-collectivist ideology, as well as the efforts to preserve enlistment motivation, have led to changes in the recruitment policy of the army, including paying more attention to the youths' personal preferences regarding their assignments to specific service paths and roles. In light of these developments, the present study examines the motivational components and propensities of enlistment candidates (males and females) to enlist to the IDF and to serve in specific service paths. The findings reflect considerable diversity in the motivational components and demonstrate their association with the candidate’s preferred service paths. Special attention is given to the real meaning of "personal preference" in this process. The findings of this study could be utilized by the IDF manpower authorities in order to improve the recruitment and assignment processes, as well as to provide new directions in understanding enlistment propensities and motivation, both in Israel and worldwide.

Link to the article

Tal-Saban, Miri, Asher Ornoy, and Shula Parush (2021).
Military Psychology, 1-8.‏

Developmental coordination disorder (DCD) is a disorder affecting motor coordination which negatively impacts academic and daily activities in various environments. The military is a highly structured environment with limited freedom, placing high demand on motor coordination, organizational ability, time management, and social skills. All these present challenges to young adults with DCD. Our study aimed to describe and assess the functioning of young adults with DCD in the Israel Defense Forces. Participants included three groups of young adults recruited via the Israel Army Health Survey upon discharge from active service: probable DCD (135), suspected borderline DCD (149), and control (145). Participants completed the Adolescents & Adults Coordination Questionnaire and the Army Questionnaire. The probable-DCD group reported significantly more difficulties in their military service than did the other groups: more unit reassignments, more accidents during field operations, and more complaints related to discipline and professional behavior. Significant differences emerged between both DCD groups and the control group in “understanding of learning materials,” “forgetting belongings,” and “success in the army.” The participants with probable DCD and suspected borderline DCD were able to integrate into the army, but the probable-DCD group performed significantly worse than the others and reported more difficulties participating in the army. These results highlight the importance of being aware of soldiers with probable DCD, in order to assign them duties that fit their abilities.


Link to the article

Ben-Avraham, Rina, et al. (2021).

Military Psychology, 1-13.‏

Periods of stressful events, such as those experienced during combat training in the military, may lead to psychological distress and reduced quality of life (QoL). Mental resilience, the capacity to overcome negative effects of setbacks on performance, may help protect one from the adversities associated with basic combat training. Among the factors contributing to mental resilience is cognitive control, the mechanism which helps maintain our goal directed behavior. Here we examined the feasibility of a mobile cognitive control training (CCT) app to engage young adults during their basic military training with the intention of improving resilience, mental health and QoL. 153 participants were randomly assigned to complete 2-3 weeks of either mobile CCT (n = 74) or active control training (ACT, mobile games; n = 79). Resilience, QoL, mood and self-efficacy were assessed at baseline and post-intervention. Participants completed, on average, 7.28 ± 3.03 training sessions (out of the planned 14), indicating relatively low feasibility of CCT during basic combat training period and inconsistent engagement with training. In addition, there was lack of improvement in the training tasks (‘target engagement’). Accordingly, no significant time by group interactions were found on any of the outcome measures, potentially due to the limited feasibility. We conclude that short-term mobile CCT has low feasibility during basic combat training and discuss the results of this study considering factors that might have contributed to the lack of feasibility of the training protocol.

Link to the article

Colonel G. (2021).
DCJ, Issue 36: Women


The 2021 IDF senior command suffers from female under-representation. This is a loss for the organization, as it is missing the leadership capabilities necessary for maintaining organizational excellence, in addition to suffering from a lack of diversity among the senior command staff, which generates less optimal learning and decision forming processes. A considerable part of the reasons that women are excluded or choose to exclude themselves are becoming relevant for men in the young generation as well, such that attending to them will create better grounds for an effective discourse on preserving capabilities. The head of the “Information Artists” center at Unit 8200 stresses that his male commander colleagues are culturally blind to the female perspective and to organizational practices that exclude women and is seeking to raise awareness and to indicate simple steps that can be taken and embraced in order to deal with this shameful situation.

Link to the article

Dana Preisler-Swery (2021).
DCJ, Issue 35: The third sphere.

The IDF has been operating for about a decade in the campaign between the wars, where the focus of the campaign seems to be undergoing a shift in recent years from aiming to deflect the intensifying forces of Hezbollah and Hamas in the primary sphere to coping with the Iranian challenge and Iran’s regional aspirations. The current author argues that judicious coping with this challenge requires a change in the CBW and the need to combine the previously customary manners of action with the developing context of regional strategic competition between Israel and Iran. Hence, there is a need to form a competitive strategy versus Iran that will include compatible manners of action and thought, leading both to rethinking the space between the wars in the IDF and meeting the challenge of “winning” this competition.

Link to the article

Colonel Y. (2021).
Intelligence in Theory and Practice, Issue 7.

In recent years entities within the intelligence community are seeking to become digital organizations oriented towards information and artificial intelligence. The processes of digital transformation that are occurring in them are producing extensive change in fundamental functions of the intelligence community, operational-intelligence operational output, and its relevance. In this article I shall seek to examine three major issues. The first part will focus on my main insights regarding the process of digital transformation in an operational intelligence organization, based on the personal learning journey I have undergone as the person who led the process of digital transformation in Israeli Military Intelligence over the past year. This learning journey included a discourse with many actors in the public and private sector, in Israel and overseas, who shared insights from their own digital journeys. The second part will address the main challenges and risks encountered by intelligence organizations when attempting to realize a process of digital transformation with the goal of becoming information- and knowledge-oriented digital organizations. The third part will address the potential for jointness between organizations belonging to the intelligence community in the context of digital transformation. I shall focus on insights in the organizational-procedural sphere, touching on the relevant technological levels when necessary and centering on one major question – How can organizations in the intelligence community generate significant and new added value by utilizing digital transformation to form improved intra-organizational and cross-organizational jointness?

Link to the article

A. (2021).
Intelligence in Theory and Practice, Issue 7.

This article deals with the plans made by the intelligence community to handle cyber threats, including the strategic partnership between the IDF/Cyber-Communications and Defense Division and the GSS/Division Against Cyber Threats, a partnership that is the “spearhead” of the security deployment against threats in this domain. The article reviews the challenges of defense and resistance against the growing cyber threat and the developing of inter-community organizations and partnerships between the two organs with regard to the hierarchy of inter-organizational relations (coordination, assistance, jointness, collaboration, and partnership).


Link to the article

Eilam, Ehud (2021).
Israel Affairs, 1-8.

The Israeli navy prepares to confront Arab non-state actors, mostly Hamas and Hezbollah. Hezbollah might attack Israel’s sea lanes in the Mediterranean Sea, while both Hamas and Hezbollah might strike Israel’s natural gas rigs and the Israeli coastline, where most of the Jewish state’s population and infrastructure are located. The Israeli navy will support ground forces by gathering intelligence and by striking targets. Yet, the Israeli navy does not have significant firepower so the IAF will assist in this matter. The Israeli navy also lacks the ability to conduct vast amphibious operations. The IDF can invest in this field since such a maneuver can be a game changer.

Link to the article

Military, Government, and Other Defense Organizations

Ben Aharon, Eldad (2021).

Studies in Conflict & Terrorism, 1-24.‏

What influence does the digital diplomacy of the post 9/11 world have on our understanding of counter-terrorism (CT) diplomacy during the Cold War? This article explores this question and the intersection between intelligence, counterterrorism diplomacy and the digital transformation long overlooked by scholars of Israeli–Turkish relations, Cold War history and terrorism studies. Diplomacy in crisis situations usually operates in an uncertain reality triggered by conflict. Turkey’s domestic crises, specifically its energy crisis between 1978 and 1980, served to shift the country’s foreign policy toward the more anti-Israeli stance of the Arab nations and their demands that Turkey boycott Israel in return for supplying Turkey’s energy needs. This came in the context of a regional wave of contentious politics in the Middle East after the 1979 Iranian revolution, when Israel had just lost three decades of massive investment in Iran under the Shah. I argue that knowing the Turkish military junta’s primary goals centered on the fight against the far left and right political violence at home and on Armenian terror attacks against Turkish diplomats abroad, Israeli diplomats employed a very selective CT policy focusing on the cooperation between Armenian Secret Army for the Liberation of Armenia and the Palestine Liberation Organization. Public diplomacy was key to conveying this message, and attempts to plant information about the Armenian-Palestinian cooperation in Turkish news outlets and national television were made. Israel’s goal was to influence Turkey’s public emotions and convey to Turkey’s military junta that Jerusalem was a true ally, working to confront the mutual regional threat of Armenian-Palestinian terrorists arising from Lebanese training camps. This case study highlights the paradox that Ministries of Foreign Affairs and diplomats enjoyed an unparalleled monopoly of power during the Cold War over the use of means of public diplomacy, while at the time having very limited capacity, and a frequent need for third party mediators to engage with foreign public audiences. It is thus unlikely that the conveyed messages would have been as visible and disseminated as easily as they could be in the post 9/11 via means of digital diplomacy.

Link to the article

Riemer, Ofek (2021).

Contemporary Security Policy, 1-30.‏

Why do states deliberately disclose hard-earned intelligence? For political and operational reasons, Official Public Intelligence Disclosure (OPID) is often considered counterintuitive and ill-advised. However, as this practice proliferates in international affairs in recent years, extant scholarship emphasizes domestic political incentives for its employment. Drawing on interviews with policy, defense, and media figures in Israel, this article generates alternative perspectives. First, in keeping with the dictates of contemporary information and media environment, states engage in OPID as a performative act designed to enhance diplomacy and shape international agenda. Second, in the age of limited wars, instead of being amassed purely for large-scale escalation, selective disclosure of intelligence can be weaponized against adversaries whose operations and very survival depend on secrecy, so as to shape their behavior below the threshold of war. The article advances our understanding of the innovative ways in which intelligence can be strategically employed in the information age.

Link to the article

Yaakov Amidror (2021).

DCJ, Issue 35: The third sphere.

Israeli military endeavors to prevent Iran from establishing a “terrorist army” similar to Hezbollah in Syria and to slow down Hezbollah’s power building in Lebanon are essential in order to retain a military sphere of action against the Iranian nuclear enterprise. Israel must persevere with this, even at the cost of a war with Hezbollah or a direct military confrontation with Iran. Israel’s political efforts versus Russia and the US must focus on retaining its scope of action in Syria, and according to public information also in Iraq against Iran and its satellites and against Iran’s nuclear enterprise. The failure of Israel’s military and political efforts and Iran’s success in establishing a “ring of fire” around Israel might deter Israeli decision makers from operating against the transformation of Iran into a country with military nuclear power and make it difficult for Israel to protect itself from a threat to its very existence.


Link to the article

Lieutenant Colonel H., Major Oshri Bar-Gil and Major (res.) T. (2021).

DCJ, Issue 35: The third sphere.

As a result of Israel’s advanced level of technological development and the major place of the digital sphere, a cyber attack might cause significant damages on the national level – in both the civil and military domain. As we have been seeing recently, the cyber dimension is being utilized to create operative-functional achievements in addition to cognitive achievements, in order to enhance the effect of the damage and the duration of its influence. This point of departure makes it necessary to find suitable response mechanisms that will reduce exposure to the threat and diminish the rival’s achievements in campaigns with the joint goal of diminishing functioning and impacting consciousness. The writers review the development of the cyber campaign waged by Iran and its satellites, present different outlooks and efforts involved in coping with the threat, and also provide systemic recommendations for policy makers in this field.

Link to the article

Amos Gilead and Itay Haiminis (2021).
DCJ, Issue 35: The third sphere.

Iran could become Israel’s only existential threat. Israel must prevent Iran from attaining operational military nuclear capacity and at the same time, prepare for a confrontation in Lebanon aimed at vanquishing Hezbollah and establishing a moderate local government. These goals are strongly linked because Israel needs a decisive military capacity if Hezbollah should decide to operate against it in the event of an attack in Iran. Moreover, considering the progression of power building efforts by Hezbollah, the likelihood that a scenario of a multi-arena military confrontation will materialize is growing. In addition, strategic freedom of action is necessary in order to increase the military sphere of action in the Middle East, achieved by strengthening the alliance with the US and expanding collaboration with anti-Iranian power elements in the region. In order to persevere in these efforts, it is necessary to avoid confrontations that will deflect resources from the conflict with Iran.

Link to the article

Rave Galili (2021).

DCJ, Issue 35: The third sphere.

We don’t need a war siren to understand that there is a war going on. That there is an enemy. This is a preventive war. In face of the ongoing erosion in the IDF’s power of deterrence, concurrent with our rivals’ enhanced precise and high standard weapons (“tiebreakers”), Israel has begun to engage in a “preventive war”, though not consciously choosing to do so. This article examines the CBW from a critical perspective, through the aggregate benefit deriving from the results of the campaign on the strategic level. In addition, it proposes another conceptualization of “power projection” and “armed persuasion” through which the worthwhileness of the actions taken should be examined. The article argues that despite the “cost of security” and of readiness for war, the CBW is a totality and is greater than the sum of its parts. Namely, the operational response developed in the CBW versus Iran and the “terrorist armies” makes it possible to act with operational-intelligence superiority on several fronts concurrently, with calculated precise risk taking that prevents escalation. So long as the leaders succeed in managing it thoughtfully and not arrogantly (it will never change), leaving “safety margins” and using the “sphere of vagueness”, this is the most effective campaign, one that makes optimal use of the IDF and defense system’s advantages considering the strategic and political constraints.

Link to the article

Moshe Albo and Oded Azner (2021).
DCJ, Issue 35: The third sphere.

The major contention of this article is that the “no-loss victory” conception has been undergoing a fundamental revision in recent years in Hezbollah, following the joining of several processes and potentials that have established new combat principles and formed an operative and conceptual capacity with regard to the campaign against Israel. We claim that the combat principles formed during the civil war in Syria and shaped based on the systemic change in the region and around the world led to a shift in the organization’s systemic logic from a strategy of no-loss victory, in the absorption-deterrence-attrition triangle coined by Baron and Valensi, to a strategy of victory by realizing tangible operative achievements and establishing a new strategic balance versus Israel, in a triangle consisting of attack, deterrence, defense, and erosion.

Link to the article

Cohen-Almagor, Raphael (2021).

Israel Affairs, 1-30.‏

Israeli PM Ehud Olmert (2006–9) offered the Palestinians the most comprehensive peace deal they had ever received. Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas said he would reply ‘soon’ and never did. This interview records Olmert’s thoughts on the Israeli-Palestinian peace process and his own attempts to end the bitter conflict.

Link to the article

Ori Wertman (2021).

Strategic Assessment, 24(4).

While military measures are the most prevalent means for confronting security threats, non-military means such as diplomacy and striving for peace offer an alternative recourse for countries as they seek to overcome existential threats. Using a theoretical perspective from the field of security studies, this article presents a different approach to Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin’s decision to promote the Oslo Accords and contends that it was essentially a security move to counter the threat of a bi-national state. Using securitization theory, which explores the process of how issues transform into security threats, the article analyzes how Israel chose a peace process to tackle an existential threat to its future as a Jewish and democratic state. Although the Oslo Accords are widely perceived as a peace process between Israel and the Palestinians, the article argues that the desire to create a demographic separation between Israel and the Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza Strip and thus ensure Israel’s future as a Jewish and democratic state, was the main consideration driving the agreement. Departing from the literature that discusses Israel’s national security through an analytical lens, the article can constitute a suitable point of departure for examining decision making processes relating to Israel’s national security using theoretical tools.

Link to the article

Meir Elran and Kobi Michael (2021).

Strategic Assessment, 24(4).

Relations between the political and military leaderships in democratic countries are a frequent subject of academic research and often cause for suspicion. This is likewise the case in Israel, where security issues are at the core of state business. Since Israel was founded, relations between the leaders of the two echelons have traditionally maintained a reasonable balance between controversies and agreement. In recent years, this balance has appeared to be at risk, due mostly to politicization caused by the substitution of personal and party considerations for statesmanlike and objective reasoning. The prevailing political instability is another reason why this matter must be addressed. The article examines the elements that have caused this disturbing deviation, and proposes measures for restoring the traditional balance for the sake of strengthening the democratic regime in Israel.


Link to the article

Omri Gefen (2021).

Intelligence in Theory and Practice, Issue 7.

For quite a few years the intelligence community has been on a journey to strengthen jointness, both within the organizations and among them. As the arena becomes more complex due to the increasing weight of organizations and not only countries as the object of intelligence efforts, and considering the globalization of threats and the intensification of challenges and opportunities due to changes in technology, the community is overwhelmingly recognizing the significance of inter-organizational jointness. The “magna carta” that regulated relations between components of the community in many areas is no longer truly relevant. Despite the progress made, however, the current state regarding jointness is not optimal. Judging by national security, there is still a long way to go. In order to understand the disparity and with the aim of formulating proper courses of action for reducing it, the main barriers that prevent creating effective jointness must be analyzed.

Link to the article

Moshe Shochet (2021).

Intelligence in Theory and Practice, Issue 7.

Crises, dramatic events, and extreme changes are significant accelerators of deep processes and shifts in organizational, management, and professional world views. The Second Intifada occupied this function. The radical test of the Israeli defense system and the campaign for its resolution became turning points in the development of jointness in society. Naturally, any systemic effort on the state level, certainly in a time of tribulations, requires high levels of collaboration, coordination, and united goals. Indeed, when the Intifada began the community was equipped with healthy processes of cooperation and coordination mechanisms. This, however, was not sufficient. The campaign against Palestinian terrorism required a much deeper change. There was need to adapt and adjust to the new circumstances, which eroded and erased previous patterns, eliminated strict definitions and boundaries, and generated much more integrative professional and operational conceptions within the organizations and between them. Jointness in a complex reality is not a matter of choice or preference but rather an exigency capable of saving lives. This article tries to examine, 20 years in retrospect, which lessons of the jointness formed in that campaign are relevant for the current challenging reality.

Link to the article

Victor Israel (2021).
Intelligence in Theory and Practice, Issue 7.

The Ministry of Intelligence has taken upon itself to develop knowledge for different areas of life (economics, society, science and technology, environment, security, health, and international relations) as well as knowledge on the region, necessary for developing collaborations, identifying civil challenges, and providing supportive intelligence under the “horizon scanning” and “civil national intelligence” organizations. In this article I shall examine and suggest developing the Ministry of Intelligence around two concepts, as part of national “joint centers”. One is civil national intelligence (including the horizon scanning mechanism), where this new intelligence service will be developed from the beginning in a “combined” approach within “joint centers”. The second foundation will focus on promoting jointness between the intelligence organizations (Mossad, GSS, and Israeli Military Intelligence) in defined power building fields agreed with the organizations, such as training, development of the intelligence profession, etc., within the framework of establishing designated joint centers rather than as a supreme authority.

Link to the article

Ben Levi, Raphael. (2021).
Comparative Strategy, 40(6), 563-584.‏

Though Israel has an established doctrine of using overt force to prevent regional adversaries from attaining nuclear capabilities, it has not been applied in the case of Iran. Saving overt strikes, however, Israel’s approach to the Iranian nuclear program has changed a number of times, fluctuating between a forward-leaning aggressive stance and a less prominent role in support of international efforts. This article systematically addresses the ideational factors underlying Israel’s changing strategies, focusing on the interplay between two competing schools of thought in Israeli security strategy and highlighting insights from interviews with high-level officials and recently published memoirs.

Link to the article

Hitman, Gadi, and Chen Kertcher (2021).

Ethnopolitics, 1-17.

Using contemporary theories on Status Quo and Revisionist actors, the study provides an alternative explanation to the Israeli−Hamas conflict. Israel is a status quo actor that enjoys high values in terms of economic and military power. It has low value in terms of brokerage in international institutions. Hamas is a radical revisionist actor that follows other radical revisionist Islamic actors. However, it fails on both axes to change its equation with Israel. This situation encourages a split within Hamas, between radical revisionists and positionalist revisionists who emphasize compromises with Israel to improve the economy in Gaza and local military capacity.

Link to the article

Military culture, personnel, and human resources

Adam Tzachi (2021).
Society, Military, and National Security, Issue 2.

This paper proposes a historiography of the representation of combat stress (formerly known as ‘shell shock’) in Israeli cinema, from the state's first days until the second decade of the 21st century. The paper examines the reciprocal connections between the historical occurrences in Israel, the consequent evolving of trauma discourse and the representation of combat stress in Israeli cinema and television. This evolvement is defined by four eras: The silencing era, from the state's early days until the Yom Kippur war, in which both the Israeli society and the Israeli screen repressed the post traumatic condition; the combat stress recognition era, in the 1980s, which included a wave of films dealing with shell shock. The split era, during the 1990s, in which the narrative cinema completely avoided dealing with shell shock whereas the documentary cinema represented the phenomenon in a number of films; and finally the Combat Stress dominance era, since the beginning of the current millennium, in which narrative and documentary cinema, as well as the television, are flooded with Combat Stress-centered content.


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Ben-Ari, Eyal, Elisheva Rosman, and Eitan Shamir. (2021).

This article develops an analytical model of force composition that combines the advantages of conscription with those of an all-volunteer force. Using Israel as a hypothesis-generating case study, it argues that mandatory military service has undergone changes centered on five key organizing principles: selective conscription, early discharges, elongated lengths of service, forms of voluntary service and differing pay-scales, and other material and non-material incentives for conscripts. These principles are “grafted” onto conscription creating a hybrid, “volunteer-ized” model. The utility of the theoretical model lies in explaining how these principles facilitate mobilizing a needed number or recruits, providing an adequate level of military expertise, as well as maintaining the legitimacy of the armed forces by meeting domestic social, economic, and political expectations about its composition and the use of personnel at its disposal. The system is adaptive and flexible, as shown through the comparisons throughout the paper.

Link to the article

Zipi Israeli and Ruth Pines (2021).

Tel Aviv: Institute for National Security Studies

The specific issue of the cognitive campaign in the digital age arose in connection with the events of May 2020, especially during Operation Guardian of the Walls, albeit it is a larger issue of increasing importance, given the nature of Israel’s military conflicts today. This issue combines various elements, including the perception of victory in a military conflict, the changing theaters in military conflicts, and the increasing relative importance of the cognitive, media, and social media arenas. Has the perception of victory become solely cognitive? Does victory belong to those who declare it? Is it possible to talk about victory without relating to the cognitive element? Feelings and perceptions regarding these aspects play a central role in shaping Israeli reality. This article discusses these perceptions from the perspective of the Israeli public, based on findings from a public opinion study conducted by the Institute for National Security Studies (INSS) in October 2021. The study was carried out among a representative sample of the adult population of Israel (age 18 and older) and included some 800 participants. Its main findings are presented here.

Link to the article

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