The Association of Civil-Military Studies in Israel

Review of articles from Israel on civil-military relations

January-May 2021


We are glad to present the first 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 first edition includes articles published from January to May 2021, and the next edition will include June 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 addition, a list of doctoral dissertations (in the association’s fields of interest) completed in Israel during 2020 is included. In total, the current review includes 42 articles and books, and it was compiled and edited by Ms. Liraz Reinuss and Mr Amir Ram.

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.

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

Yagil Levy (2021).

The Israeli Journal of Society, Military, and National Security, 1, 9-30.

This article has a conceptual goal: to create a necessary division between the public discourse in Israel, where the army is designated a “people’s army”, and the academic discourse, and to present an appropriate academic conceptualization of the army. This is in essence a citizen army, a conscript army, rather than a “people’s army”, which is the symbolic rather than conceptual signifier of the army. The article will be devoted to clarifying the concept of the “citizen army”, distinguishing it from armies that are not based on mandatory conscription. The citizen army has several main features: the country’s citizens serve in the army as citizens; the boundaries between the military and society are unclear; the army is expected to serve as a “school for the nation”; soldiers are organized by the state rather than by the market; soldiers are disciplined as citizens; the citizen army is controlled by the citizens. With the transition to a volunteer army and elimination of mandatory conscription, these features are changing.

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Asaf Malchi (January 2021).

The Israel Democracy Institute, Policy study no. 156.

In recent years, weighty arguments have been brought against mandatory conscription to the IDF, including the economic inefficiency caused by recruiting unsuitable populations to the service and the harm done to values of liberty and individual freedom. Calls for an essential change in this model are emerging in the context of the continuous drop in the number of men who fall under this mandate and enlist in the IDF in practice.

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Ze’ev Drory & Hillel Nossek (2021).

The Israeli Journal of Society, Military, and National Security, 1, 51-80.

The main issue that the article seeks to examine is whether the media is continuing to mobilize each time a military operation is launched and to postpone its criticism, or is a change evident since the Second Lebanon War in how IDF operations are covered, in the direction of more criticism and less mobilizing in favor of government and army policies. The case of military operations in the Gaza Strip is unique due to their low intensity resulting from the features of the combat forces and the territory they command, on one hand, as well as from the disputes within Israel on the question of whether the solution should be military or political. In order to examine this question, three military operations held in the Gaza Strip in the last decade, were selected: “Cast Lead” (2008), “Pillar of Defense” (2012), and “Protective Edge” (2014), as were five media outlets: Ha’aretz, Yisrael Hayom, Yediot Aharonoth, Ma’ariv, and the Walla website. Three coverage settings were defined in the study, by the type of criticism voiced against government decisions and military operations: the mobilized setting (“poodles”), the confirmatory criticism coverage setting (“barking dogs”), and the fundamental criticism setting (“biting dogs”). The research findings indicate that the pattern of media conduct known from previous wars and operations has persevered. While Yediot Aharonoth, Ma’ariv, and the Walla website retain the well-known practice of mobilizing in support until such time as politicians and military personnel voice criticism, two newspapers deviate from this model – Ha’aretz, which criticizes the military operations as an independent initiative, and Yisrael Hayom, which operates in the classical model of mobilized media throughout the operations.

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Or Barak (2021).

Strategic Assessment – Research Forum, 24(2).

This article traces the relatively late evolution of the Hebrew term “decision” in its military context in Israeli society and examines the ensuing conceptual confusion. It also points out the many original and borrowed meanings that have been attributed to this term over the years in military contexts and elaborates on the dangers inherent in this trend, especially obfuscation of the meaning of “victory”. This conceptual failure is expressed not only in the IDF’s language but also, and more critically, in IDF doctrine. Hence, resolving the confusion created between the term “decision” and the term “victory” can help not only by restoring the meaning of “victory” to its rightful place in the military context, but also by clarifying Israel’s security concept.

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Sam R. Bell, K. Chad Clay, Ghashia Kiyani & Amanda Murdie (2021).

Armed Forces & Society.

Do civil–military relations influence human rights practices? Building on principal–agent theory, we argue that civilian–military relations, instead of having an effect on mean levels of repression, will be associated with the dispersion in human rights practices. States where there is less control of the military or more conflict between civilian and military leadership will see a wider range of human rights practices. We test our hypotheses quantitatively on a global sample of countries, using updated data on civil–military relations and find evidence that civil–military conflict and lack of control increase the variance in human right practices.

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Gadi Zerach, Yossi Levi-Belz, Brandon J. Griffin & Shira Maguen (2021).

Journal of Anxiety Disorders, 79, 102378.

Following exposure to events that transgress moral beliefs and expectations rooted in cultural, organizational, and group-based ethical rules, veterans can experience psychological, social, and spiritual problems referred to as Moral Injury (MI). We examined patterns of exposure to potentially morally injurious events (PMIEs) among Israeli veterans as well as psychological and functional correlates of exposure.

A sample of 381 Israeli veterans volunteered to complete a cross-sectional electronic survey between 2017−2018. Latent Class Analysis (LCA) was used to identify classes characterized by unique patterns of exposure to PMIEs and compare differences in psychological and functional problems.

Three subgroups were identified: Moral Injury (12.1 %), Betrayal-Only (20.8 %), and Minimal Exposure (67.1 %). Whereas those in the betrayal-only class reported more traditional posttraumatic symptoms and those in the moral injury class reported more moral injury symptoms (i.e., guilt-related cognitions), some psychological problems were shared by veterans assigned to the moral injury and betrayal-only classes (e.g., entrapment). Importantly, while both those in the betrayal-only and moral injury classes had lower forgiveness relative to those in the minimal exposure class, those in the betrayal-only class received more familial support than did those in the moral injury class. The study’s findings offer an overview of the complex associations between patterns of exposure to PMIEs and associated outcomes. Clinicians treating veterans coping with combat trauma should be aware of the unique and shared symptoms reported by those with moral injury and betrayal exposures.

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Nitzan Rothem (2021).
Critical Military Studies, 1-20.

This article juxtaposes the procedures and narratives by which US and Israeli political cultures mediate situations of prisoners of war (POWs) during protracted wars. In protracted wars, repatriation is independent of reconciliation processes, with no international contracts governing the ethics of asymmetric prisoner exchange. Empirically, this article examines political cultures by analyzing news reports of Bowe Bergdahl (USA) and Gilad Shalit (Israel), who were imprisoned and repatriated during the US war in Afghanistan, and the Israel/Palestine conflict, respectively. Theoretically, this article (1) Situates POW affairs as highlighting a contradiction between two ideals: casualty aversion and self-sacrifice. (2) Relates POW affairs to scholarship on military-to-civilian transitions, and harnesses van Gennep’s phases of separation, liminality and reintegration, to analyze transitions as experiences of collectives, and not of soldiers. The analysis shows that US media accounts depict both the war in Afghanistan and the three phases of transition as controlled by individuals’ actions. Israeli accounts, by contrast, employ passive terminology when mediating both conflicts and POW affairs. Both political cultures develop temporal pattens to regulate the mutual obligations pertaining to soldiers, publics and states: a lingering military trial in the USA, and a new conceptualization of abduction in Israel. Arguing that temporality and morality are interlinked due to the open duration of current conflicts, this article suggests a definition of protracted wars that highlights this reciprocity between open-endedness, disrupted ceremonies, and moral changes: from rescuing soldiers to questioning the convention of obligatory rescue.

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Aharon (Roni) Kampinski (May 2021).

Ramat Gan: Bar Ilan University Press.

The book “Zevulun Hammer – A political biography” relates the story of Zevulun Hammer, the head of the Mafdal who also served in several ministerial roles in Israeli governments. Through archival and journalistic sources, the reader is exposed to Hammer’s leadership patterns, which were complex and unique, in the context of the sociopolitical circumstances that accompanied and are still accompanying Israeli society in general and religious Zionism in particular. The book discusses various aspects of Hammer’s life, including the many political and military areas such as establishing settlements in Judea and Samaria, the peace agreement with Egypt, the First Lebanon War, the First Intifada, the Oslo Accords, and the assassination of Rabin. This book seeks to analyze the political route taken by Zevulun Hammer (1936-1998), one of the most prominent leaders of the national religious party, Mafdal. Zevulun Hammer’s story is not only the story of the man, rather it is the story of the intermediate generation of religious Zionism: a leadership generation of the national religious movement that rebelled against the previous generation but found itself, two decades later, in the same place as its predecessors. This was a generation that sought to change the normal course of events but was ultimately compelled to make do with preserving the interests of religious Zionism, when it looked like they were being eroded by political power struggles; a generation that tried to raise the banner of Greater Israel but modified its views when the political circumstances allowed a political breakthrough; a generation that sought to fortify strict religious perceptions but in time appeared even more liberal than the previous generation; a generation that strove for leadership but was ultimately compelled to make do with a sectorial party.

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Nissim Leon (2021).

In: Research Anthology on Religious Impacts on Society

This chapter examines the phenomenon of deferments of army enlistment in Israel of haredi (ultra-Orthodox) men studying in yeshivas. The author claims that counter-nationalist argument enables us to understand the progress that the haredi scholar-society has made from a sectorial entity that kept itself removed from the nation-state, and viewed the state as an undesired political fact, to an entity that maintains its own counter-nationalism. This social cultural religious entity regards itself as a symbiotic or active partner in the national endeavor, specifically through the insular haredi ethos. The author employs the term counter-nationalism to describe an approach that takes a critical view of nationalism, but has in effect adapted it to the structure of the discourse, organization, and aims of the hegemonic national ideology. This perspective raises the possibility that the ultra-Orthodox are beginning to view themselves as maintaining a complementary partnership with the Israeli culture, and to a considerable extent have even constructed a similar cultural structure, a sort of mirror-image of the militaristic one. Moreover, this study even suggests that the haredi mainstream seeks recognition for itself as the spiritual elite troops of the State of Israel.

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Ryan Shandler, Michael L. Gross & Daphna Canetti (January 2021).

Contemporary Security Policy, 42.2, 135-162

To what extent does the public support the use of cyber weapons? We propose that public exposure to the destructive potential of cyber-attacks will dispel the clear cross-national preference for cyber strikes. To test this, we conducted two survey experiments (n = 2,585) that examine support for cyber versus conventional military strikes in the United States, United Kingdom, and Israel. In study 1, we exposed respondents to television news reports depicting various forms of terror attacks, and then measured the subsequent support for retaliatory options. Findings indicate that the high public support for deploying cyber weapons dissipated entirely among respondents exposed to lethal cyber-attacks. In study 2, we probed this vanishing support, finding that exposure to destructive cyber-attacks undercuts the perception of cyber as a less lethal domain, therefore diminishing its appeal. We conclude by discussing how the fragile public preference for cyber weapons encourages military escalation in the short-term.

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Yaira Hamama-Raz,  Shaked Shir & Michal Mahat-Shamir (2021).

Death Studies, 45.5, 380-389.

The death of a partner may be stressful for unmarried intimate partners as they lack legal status vis-à-vis the partner, and, thus, lack sufficient cultural support. This qualitative study examined the meaning attributed to the loss by 12 Israeli bereaved intimate partners of fallen soldiers. Through applying a constructivist-narrative methodology, we derived three clusters from interviews with the intimate partners: (a) The relationships never ended – “an unfinished business,” (b) The need to conceal the relationships – “a hidden wound,” and (c) The relationship guides their lives – “a compass.” Practical implications were discussed.

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Dan Porat (2021).
Israel Studies, 26.2, 152-172.

Since the 1990s, a new form of commemoration has emerged in Israel: picture books for young children in which family members honor fallen soldiers and victims of terrorism. The article analyzes nine such books and discusses the reason for the development of this genre. A blurring of lines between battle zone and home front during two Intifadas and two Gulf Wars exposed small children directly to national mourning and the loss of many civilian victims, young and old, Jewish and non-Jewish, whose commemoration was privatized and described in a feminized language more fitting for their tender age. While these commemorative picture books represent victims able to express emotions and feelings, they preserve the traditional view of them as heroes who have sacrificed their lives for their country.

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Dirk C. Wendtorf, (2021).

Journal of Modern Jewish Studies, 20.1, 44-69.

Among the fifty thousand Jewish refugees who escaped from the National Socialists in western and central Europe between 1933 and the beginning of World War II was a group of young and idealistic German-speaking Zionists, mainly from Germany and Austria. In 1942 many of them created and joined the Hapalmach Hagermanit—the German Platoon of the Palmach, the strike force of the Haganah, a Zionist underground paramilitary organization that operated in Palestine. The Deutsche Abteilung (German Platoon) embodied the first “German” clandestine Jewish fighting force in British Mandate Palestine. This article explores the origin and history of this unit and its significance as the first German-Jewish fighting unit in World War II. It also discusses the internal and external challenges its members faced and eventually overcame. This article relies on the few available sources on the German Platoon, including the testimonials of veterans recorded at their reunions, interviews with the last living member of the German Platoon conducted between 2011 and 2016, and documents and photos obtained with the assistance of the Palmach Archive in Ramat Aviv, Israel.

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Christopher Caden & Nir Arieli (January 2021).

War in History, 28.1, 200–222.

British servicemen and policemen who had been stationed in Palestine towards the end of the British Mandate and deserted their units to serve with either Jewish or Arab forces have only received cursory academic attention. This article retraces their story, while drawing parallels and highlighting contrasts between both groups of deserters. It analyses their motivations, wartime roles, and experiences and how they were remembered after the war ended. It also places them within the emerging literature on transnational military service.

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James Pangilinan, Christine Peralta & Wesley Attewell  (Jan 2021).

Amerasia Journal,  46.2, 183-199.

While Filipinas often appear in studies of gendered reproductive care, Filipinos appear commonly as militarized labor extending American hegemony. Both sets of Filipinx labor aspire to attaining citizenship and rights to permanent settlement. This article focuses on Filipinas in the Israeli Defense Forces. Filipina IDF recruits have recently appeared in Israeli media in order to reframe Israeli settler militarism as benevolent. Yet these instrumental portrayals build on longer histories of Philippine-Israeli entanglement. By situating two Filipinas’ stories within transnational contexts of humanitarian and reproductive care, we highlight how legacies of U.S. and Israeli settler militarism tether the Philippines to Israel.

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Gabriel Schwake (2021).

Planning Perspectives, 36.1, 183-194.

In the 1980s, the Israel Defence Forces (IDF) initiated the construction of several suburban communities for the benefit of its personnel. These new settlements offered the opportunity of a better quality of life in a homogeneous and exclusive environment, all in a commuting distance from the main metropolises. The State subsidized the construction of these settlements to support the military, and in the hope that the prestigious image of the IDF would help in developing peripheral areas. Military officers could live their bourgeois dream while taking part in the greater national mission of urban development. Reut is an architype of such a suburban military settlement. It offered young officers the ability to obtain subsidized spacious houses in an exclusive community while forming a steppingstone in the later mass development of the area. Therefore, using selective privatization as a means to encourage the formation of a real estate market and to enable further development.

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Olga Gershenson (Spring 2021).
Shofar: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Jewish Studies, 39.1, 147-175.

Horror films are often understood as a reflection of current cultural anxieties and national concerns. In Israel, where the military plays an outsized role, several horror films are set in the army. This article focuses on the two zombie films: Poisoned (2011) and Cannon Fodder (2013).

Unlike other monsters, zombies don’t come from the outside. They are part and parcel of the society consuming their fellow citizens. In Poisoned, the outbreak stems from an army-distributed vaccine. The infected soldiers turn into zombies and attack their own. In Cannon Fodder, the first zombies are Arabs, the traditional enemy of Israeli film. But later, the Israeli military is revealed as the real source of the deadly virus. As the infection spreads, both IDF soldiers and Israeli civilians turn into zombies. Thus, the army is turning into monsters the very society that it is supposed to protect, ironically, through excessive aggression against the enemy.

Within the horror genre, zombie films specifically take issue with the dominant social structures in a given society. If in the United States context, films about zombie outbreaks reflect popular distrust with Big Government and Big Business, Israeli films reflect a distrust with Big Army. The IDF zombies, then, represent a new symbol on Israeli screens. In contrast to the trope of the heroic “living-dead” (ha-met ha-khai) of earlier Israeli culture—the warrior whose death is sanctified by national agenda—the new undead is a symbol of a society that has turned on itself.

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The military organization and military profession

Dotan Druck (2021).

Dado Center Journal: The IDF Journal on Operational Art, 31-32, Ground Forces 2.

The shifting of warfare features, which in the last three decades has required updating and renewal processes by the IDF, side by side with its strength buildup in the multi-year Gideon plan and further in the multi-year Tnufa plan, require intensive examination of the use of reserve ground forces. The discussion of the need and manner of operating ground maneuvers in wartime significantly affects how the reserve forces should be built and operated, regarding aspects involving the size of the forces and their organization, including means of combat and combat support, their training, fitness, and readiness for combat situations and for various scenarios. In practice, it appears that a change in the conception regarding operating the reserve ground forces in emergencies and wartime occurred many years ago, but it should nonetheless be clearly defined and explained to all those who take part in combat and particularly to the reserve forces themselves. This conception, as it stands at present, is no longer one embodied by the phrase “the regular forces will intercept”, as was the past attitude of David Ben-Gurion and IDF commanders in Israel’s first decades, rather a more apt phrase is “the reserves will intercept” or “the reserves will allow the regular forces to win”.

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Eviatar Matanya & Erez Seri Levy (2021).

Strategic Assessment – Research Forum, 24(2).

In recent decades, scholars have commonly thought of military superiority as contingent on advanced military technology. So did national security establishments, which dedicated an increasing share of military buildup efforts to the development and acquisition of advanced systems. As such, what options are available to the side that suffers from inherent technological inferiority? This article introduces, discusses, and demonstrates a strategy of technological reduction for military force buildup strategy, which calls for the deliberate development of weapons that are simple, compared to the prevailing technology. This strategy has been adopted in several cases in recent years, and seems most popular among those suffering from technological inferiority compared to their rivals. Armed non-state actors and militaries opt to abandon the hopeless technological race and turn to a cunning force buildup; in the same way a force in a state of operational inferiority seeks cunning doctrines, such as guerrilla warfare, for contending with a much stronger rival.

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Evgenia Muginshtein-Simkovitch, Raeed Kayouf, Gilad Twig, Itay Ketko, Tarif Bader & Noam Fink (2021).

Journal of Empirical Research on Human Research Ethics.

The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, first reported in China, soon spread worldwide, has evolved into one of the most complex global public health crises the world has encountered in the last several decades. Conducting military medical research is vital to study the unique influences of military service conditions on soldiers' health and to improve the medical response in various emergency periods. The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) Medical Corps maintains an Institutional Review Board (IRB) which reviews clinical studies conducted within the IDF. During the COVID-19 pandemic, the IRB of the IDF had to rapidly implement procedural modifications in order to comply with expanding urgent demands for research without compromising ethical standards. The ethical dilemmas and the IDF policy and perspective are outlined in this article.

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Yizhaq Benbenisty & Gil Luria (2021).

Journal of Organizational Behavior.‏

Using a mixed-methods approach, this study examines how leaders' everyday sensegiving strategies shape followers' compliance with a paradoxical use-of-force policy. Building on performance data derived from 41 teams and interviews with their respective team leaders, our findings point to two sensegiving strategies: practical (connecting the policy to larger organizational goals) and internalization (connecting the policy to team members' personal norms, experiences, and values). We also identified a third communication strategy, which did not involve sensegiving: bureaucratic communication (ignoring the paradox and delivering the policy). Findings show that followers deviated less from the paradoxical policy when their leaders used either of the two sensegiving strategies (internalization and practical) compared with the bureaucratic strategy. The findings shed light on the interplay between sensegiving and leadership theories that relate to the dynamics of motivating followers in contexts of paradox, particularly meaning-based leadership.

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Lev Topor & Alexander Tabachnik (2021).

Journal of Advanced Military Studies12(1).‏

Cyber information warfare (IW) is a double-edged sword. States use IW to shape the hearts and minds of foreign societies and policy makers. However, states are also prone to foreign influence through IW. This assumption applies mainly to liberal democratic societies. The question examined in this article is how Russia uses IW on other countries but protects itself from the same activities. The authors’ main argument is that while Russia executes influence operations and IW in cyberspace, it strives for uncompromising control over its domestic cyberspace, thus restricting undesirable informational influence over its population.

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Yagil Levy (2021).

The main argument of the article is that countries whose military is based on mandatory conscription endanger enemy civilians more than do countries who have a volunteer military. In order to explain this argument, the article compares the US military with the Israeli military. The paradox, as presented in the article, is that the US military devoted more attention to the political order they left behind when US forces withdrew from Iraq and Afghanistan, which are thousands of kilometers distance from America, than did the Israeli military when withdrawing from Gaza. This, although collaboration with Gaza is critical for Israel’s security. The article proposes an explanation for this paradox and also provides 4 scholarly explanations for its main argument as presented above.

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Liore Lander,  Ephrat Huss & Ayelet Harel-Shalev (March 2021).

Clinical Social Work Journal, 49, 100–109.

Reserve duty is described as cyclical, ambivalent, and complex and as involving traumatic elements in all militaries. However, to our knowledge, little has been written about how the soldiers themselves phenomenologically define the experience within specific social contexts. Israel has mandatory military service for all citizens, many of whom continue to serve in the reserves. Given the ongoing conflicts in the region, combat reservists are often called upon to serve. Our aim in this paper is to investigate these soldiers’ transitions from their call up to their engagement in battle, and finally, to their return home. Our methods will be to use the narratives of twelve such soldiers. The central themes describe a deep conflict between collective versus individual cultural narratives that create dilemmas and stress at each of these stages of transition. The narrative framework and culturally contextualized, rather than trauma-related, focus of the findings shed new light on combat soldiers, self-defined stressors, and their relationship to specific socio-cultural contexts.

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Sharon Garyn-Ta & Shosh Shahrabani (March, 2021).

Israel Affairs , 27.2, 300-313.

Using data from a field study conducted among soldiers during the 2014 Protective-Edge military operation (OPE) in the Gaza Strip, this article examines the effect of exposure to war on soldiers’ emotions, economic expectations, and willingness to take risks. The results suggest that combat soldiers who took part in OPE were more willing to take risks and more optimistic. The analytical results indicate that among combat soldiers, levels of negative emotions were negatively related to individual economic expectations, while being present in the staging area close to OPE significantly and positively affected the level of their economic expectations.

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Military, Government, and Other Defense Organizations

Itai Brun & Anat Kurz (Eds.) (2021).

Tel Aviv: Institute for National Security Studies.

The strategic overview for Israel for 2021 is based on significant uncertainty in three main areas: the level of success in coping with COVID-19; the pattern of operations and policy by the new US government; and political developments in Israel. The report encompasses the national security index, which is based on a public opinion survey.

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Kobi Michael, Alon Tal, Galya Lindenstrauss, Shira Bukchin-Peles, Dov Hanin & Victor Weiss (February 2021).

Institute for National Security Studies.

The volume is dedicated to a list of key questions on the local and regional level that affect Israel’s national security, including: Does the climate crisis pose an existential challenge for Israel? Why is the Middle East a particularly vulnerable area with regard to climate change? How can increasing use of renewable energy contribute to energy security? Why is it essential for countries in the region to collaborate in order to deal with climate change? Why is a limited view of the concept of national security, one that does not include environmental issues, dangerous? What can we learn from the COVID crisis about essential ways of handling the climate crisis? How can changing the food on our plates also solve the climate crisis?

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Yoram Fried and Gideon Biger (2021).

The Israeli Journal of Society, Military, and National Security, 1, 81-102.

With the conclusion of the War of Independence, the IDF demanded that civil planning and execution organizations take security considerations into account when planning the construction of industrial plants. This demand was based on the following justifications: the concern of another round of fighting; the IDF’s self-perception as responsible for national security; the understanding that in order to reach a quantitative/qualitative balance versus the Arab countries it is necessary to mobilize the country’s full potential for combat purposes; the great security significance of the civil industry and critical infrastructure, both for managing the war and for rehabilitating the country at its conclusion, and therefore the need to protect them; the exclusive focus of civil planning entities on financial considerations. As part of the geophysical planning of Israel’s industry, the IDF categorized the industrial plants and infrastructure according to their functional significance in wartime. Specific planning characteristics were defined for each category: distance from the border, topographical area on which the plant would be established, and the defense means that would be installed in it. All these in order to generate an optimal state of defense in wartime, so that they could continue production for the armed forces and for the civilian population. The article examines the establishment of the Ashdod Port as a case study of these military demands and their implementation, in the context of power struggles with civil organizations.

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Carmit Padan (2021).

Strategic Assessment – Research Forum, 24(2).

The COVID-19 pandemic is the most recent example of a natural threat, a category that includes earthquakes, tsunamis, fires, floods. States must regularly grapple with natural threats, along with man-made threats such as terrorism and wars. Such threats challenge the traditional definition of the concept of national security, especially in terms of how to properly address them, but they have not yet earned their rightful, central place in national security doctrines. Disasters on a similar or even larger scale than those already witnessed are expected to take place in the future as a product of the current era, an “age of disruptions”. New Zealand’s management of the COVID-19 challenge is considered a global success story. As a case study, it highlights five central principles that together enable a model for emergency and crisis management: a shared objective; professional support; connecting communication; a comprehensive plan; and flexibility. These management principles emphasize the societal element as a central component in the struggle against an unfamiliar threat, particularly in a “reality of disruptions” that is marked by extreme uncertainty.

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Yoram Schweitzer, David Siman Tov & Kobi Michael (2021).

Tel Aviv:  Institute for National Security Studies, Issue 1470.

As in every kinetic military campaign against Hamas and its allies in the Gaza strip, the cognitive aspect was embedded from the very beginning of Operation Guardian of the Walls, and its significance increased as the campaign progressed. The integration of the cognitive campaign with the kinetic is essential for the realization of military achievements in order to then reap political gaisn. For Israel, the first cognitive achievement required is a deep engraving in the minds of Hamas commanders and their associates, as well as in the minds of the Gaza Strip population, of the growing and intolerable cost of the military venture and any rounds to come.

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Itai Brun (2021).

Tel Aviv:  Institute for National Security Studies, Issue 1469.

Israel hit Hamas hard, but the Israeli public was frustrated by the ongoing rocket fire, the IDF’s inability to prevent it, and the lack of a decisive and unequivocal Israeli victory. This dissonance is the outcome of three surprises experienced by the Israeli public in the course of the campaign: the fact that the political echelon chose (yet again) to deter Hamas and not to vanquish it; the inability of the IDF’s offensive operations to stop the rocket fire; and the military’s difficulty in explaining and demonstrating its significant achievements. These surprises are the result of a continued failure by the political and military leadership to explain to the public both Israel’s chosen strategy and current nature of military conflicts. In advance of future confrontations, time now should be used to review and coordinate expectations with the public, clarify the rationale behind the chosen Israeli strategy, forge an effective way to explain military achievements, and openly discuss the characteristics of war in the current era.

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Elona Horenstein and Yossi Goldstein (2021).
Ben Gurion Research Institute for the Study of Israel and Zionism: Israelis, Issue 10.

In this article we sought to clarify the impact of top military leaders on the course of action taken by Israeli policy designers. The case study relates to the position of the former with regard to Judea, Samaria, and the Old City of Jerusalem, from the War of Independence to the Six-Day War. Did the defense echelons estimate that Israeli control of the West Bank is essential for maintaining its residents’ peace and safety? If so, was the security factor the only one taken into account or was it accompanied by a personal longing for a Greater Israel? The main argument of the article is that the highest IDF ranks were mostly in favor of recognizing the Jordan river as Israel’s eastern border, both due to the security considerations and for nostalgic historical considerations. It appears that in 1950s’ and 1960s’ Israel there was no clear dichotomy between the security and political echelons. The IDF brought its influence to bear at times, or even forced its views on the country’s leadership, however it usually followed the instructions received from the higher ranks. With a certain amount of caution, it may be said that although the final decision was not up to them, top IDF leaders influenced actionsrse taken. This reached a peak with the outcome of the Six-Day War, which deviated considerably from the original plan and not only because Jordan had joined the war.

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David Kuehn & Yagil Levy (Eds.).

Lynne Rienner Publishers.‏

What leads a democratic government to use military force to cope with an internal or external threat? How does it legitimize mobilization of its citizens? The book’s editors utilize case studies from around the world to systematically examine these critical questions, explore the mutual relations between the security threats, militarization, and democratic responsibility. The book includes a wide range of articles on this subject.

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Fawzia Gibson-Fall (2021).

Review of International Studies ,47(2), 155–170.

The COVID-19 pandemic is giving way to increases in military engagements in health-related activities at the domestic level. This article situates these engagements amid issues of continuity, change, and resistance in contemporary redefinitions of military health roles. It positions the COVID-19 pandemic as a pivotal moment in global health military practice. I identify three emerging trends within national military responses to COVID-19: (1) Minimal technical military support; (2) Blended civil-military responses; and (3) Military-led responses. The dynamics that underpin each type of military involvement follow context-specific military political legacies. These levels of involvement also relate to national public health approaches and the degree of capacity within health care systems. Each identified trend points towards specific trajectories for the future co-constitution of global and local civil-military engagements.

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Amitai Gilad, Eyal Pecht &Asher Tishler (2021).

Defence and Peace Economics, 32.1, 18-45.

This study evaluates military intelligence as the process of data collection and knowledge development and assessment for decision-making by the military and other governmental agencies. We argue that dominance in modern warfare is enabled by human and technological intelligence that uncovers the rivals’ capabilities and intentions, increases the effectiveness of the country’s own weapon systems, and facilitates the development of high-quality defense systems. Hence, gathering and evaluating intelligence is essential for countries involved in conflict or exposed to terror threats. We focus here on the strategic and tactical implications of intelligence in the context of an arms and intelligence race between two rivals. We present and assess models that show how security agencies in countries in a state of conflict (with other countries and/or non-country entities) should invest in developing their own intelligence capabilities to ensure adequate military (security) capabilities, national security, and welfare. Since advanced cyber attackers can infiltrate almost all complex computer networks to gather intelligence (and/or cause other harms), we show how countries can establish procedures and determine the budgets to optimally allocate cyber-defense resources to prevent harmful cyber-attacks on the complex computer networks that manage their infrastructure, business, security, and government operations.

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Fawzia Gibson-Fall (2021).
Review of International Studies ,47.2, 155–170.

The COVID-19 pandemic is giving way to increases in military engagements in health-related activities at the domestic level. This article situates these engagements amid issues of continuity, change, and resistance in contemporary redefinitions of military health roles. It positions the COVID-19 pandemic as a pivotal moment in global health military practice. I identify three emerging trends within national military responses to COVID-19: (1) Minimal technical military support; (2) Blended civil-military responses; and (3) Military-led responses. The dynamics that underpin each type of military involvement follow context-specific military political legacies. These levels of involvement also relate to national public health approaches and the degree of capacity within health care systems. Each identified trend points towards specific trajectories for the future co-constitution of global and local civil-military engagements.

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Avi Marciano (March, 2021).
Surveillance & Society, 19(1), 85-88

This paper argues that ISA mass surveillance of citizens during the COVID-19 pandemic constitutes a turning point for Israel, both in its formation as a surveillance society and in revalidating its security-oriented, militaristic tendencies.

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Oren Barak & Dan Miodownik) 2021).

Armed Forces & Society, 47.1, 126-147

This article argues that autonomous militaries can play a balancing role during major internal political crises. However, when militaries’ autonomy is curtailed by political leaders before the crisis, militaries cannot maintain the political balance between rulers and opponents, thereby increasing the risk of armed conflict. The article first explains the main concepts relevant to the discussion (autonomy, political crisis, balancing role), exploring their possible interlinkages and presenting several hypotheses. Subsequently, it discusses four relevant cases from the Middle East before and during the Arab revolts of 2010–2011: Egypt in 2011 and Lebanon in 1958, which demonstrate the balancing capacities of autonomous militaries during major political crises, and Lebanon in 1975 and Syria in 2011, which reveal that nonautonomous militaries cannot play a balancing role in such circumstances. The article concludes with several observations regarding the military’s balancing role during major internal political crises in divided and homogenous states.

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Damon Coletta & Thomas Crosbie (January 2021).

Armed Forces & Society , 47.1, 3-24.

Sociologists and political scientists have long fretted over the dangers that a politicized military poses to democracy. In recent times, however, civil–military relations experts in the United States accepted retired or indeed still serving generals and admirals in high-ranking political posts. Despite customary revulsion from scholars, the sudden waivers are an indicator that military participation in momentous national security decisions is inherently political without necessarily being partisan, including when civilian authority defers to a largely autonomous sphere for objective military expertise. Military politics is actually critical for healthy civil–military collaboration, when done prudently and moderately. Janowitz and Huntington, founders of the modern study of civil–military relations, understood the U.S. military’s inevitable invitation to political influence. Here, we elaborate on two neglected dimensions, implicit in their projects, of military politics under objective civilian control based on classical virtues of civic republicanism: Aristotle’s practical wisdom and Machiavelli’s virtú.

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Military culture, personnel, and human resources

Ayelet Harel Shalev (2021).

The Israeli Journal of Society, Military, and National Security, 1, 31-50.

At present, women serve in a variety of combat roles and combat support positions in various militaries around the globe, among others the IDF. This as a result of the integration of new warfare technologies that are transferring more and more soldiers from the sidelines into the heart of the battlespace. Women soldiers are thus becoming significant participants in war by virtue of their assignment to strategic war rooms. Even though such women soldiers are not located physically in the battlefield, they do indeed participate in warfare and promote their country’s security and that of their comrades in arms, as well as being responsible for injuring the “other”. The stationing of women in war rooms located in conflict zones – equipped with the latest technologies that bring the reality of the warzone into the war room, may challenge traditional concepts of security, war, and gender roles. The narratives of women soldiers serving in such war rooms can thus provide critical insights into “experiencing war” and “making war” in battlespace. Interviews with women soldiers who fulfilled various roles in war rooms during their IDF service revealed many narratives of war, but also of defense, security, and insecurity. This article illuminates the role of women in the IDF by observing women in a “room of their own” in battlespace.

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Nehemia Stern & Uzi Ben-Shalom (April 2021).
Armed Forces & Society,  47.2, 343-366.

This article explores the social media postings of Israel Defense Forces (IDF) soldiers on two different and unofficial Facebook groups. While scholars of armed forces and society have noted the growing importance that militaries have placed on digital media, there is little data regarding the unofficial uses and meanings that regular soldiers themselves make of social networking sites. With an anthropological focus on everyday experiences, we argue that the social media activity of IDF personnel highlights the quotidian aspects of military life in ways that reverberate beyond the strictly ideological or political facets of their service. Here, soldiers can express their frustrations with military bureaucracy, while also presenting a lighthearted (and positive) commentary on a shared rite of passage. This research opens a window into the lives and dilemmas of the first generation of Israeli soldiers to employ new media as a taken for granted aspect of their service.

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Doctoral dissertations completed during 2020

  • Daniel Weiner (2020). International legitimacy and conflict resolution: Analyzing the dynamics of legitimization during negotiations for peace in recalcitrant conflicts. Advisor: Arie Kacowicz, Hebrew University.
  • Alon Posner (2020). Imagined wars: How do armies think about future war. Advisor: by Oren Barak, Hebrew University.
  • Yaron Schneider (2020). The triangle of peacekeeping operations, states, and non state actors as a framework for security governance in borderlands. Advisor: Arie Kacowicz, Hebrew University.
  • Amnon Sofrin (2020). The dynamic of decision making on military interventions: The two-group decision making model. Advisors: Alex Mintz and Pazit Bin Nun Blum, Hebrew University.
  • Eyal Tsur (2020). Supervision of military force building in Israel by the selected authorities. Advisor: Menachem Hofnung, Hebrew University.
  • Ohad Aviram (2020). IDF injured prior to enlistment: The effect of failures in pre-classification for special units on identity components and life outlook. Advisor: Gad Yair, Hebrew University.
  • Raphael Ben Levi (2020). Ideas and structure in nuclear non-proliferation policy-making: A comparative analysis of the role of ideational versus material factors in shaping the United States’ and Israel’s strategies towards the Iranian nuclear program. Advisors: Shmuel Sandler and Jonathan Rynhold, Bar-Ilan University.
  • Eyal Pinko (2020). Modern naval asymmetric warfare. Supervised by Eitan Shamir, Bar-Ilan University.
  • Ariel Ezra (2020). The contribution of mental resilience factors to mental health and personal growth in the transition to military service. Advisor: Orit Taubman Ben-Ari, Bar-Ilan University.
  • Zev Iversen (2020). Mental resilience: Causes, measurement, and predicting functioning in the military context. Advisors: Moshe Almagor-Tikotzki, Jenny Kurman, Haifa University.

Full list of references

Barak, O. (2021). From “decision” to “victory”: Resolving the confusion in Israeli military terminology. Strategic Assessment – Research Forum, 24(2). [Hebrew]

Barak, Oren  & Dan Miodownik) 2021). Military Autonomy and Balancing in Political Crises: Lessons From the Middle East. Armed Forces & Society, 47.1, 126-147

Brun, I. (2021). Operation Guardian of the Walls operation: Two parallel dimensions and three stark surprises. Tel Aviv:  Institute for National Security Studies, Issue 1469. [Hebrew]

Brun, I. & Kurz, A. (Eds.) (2021). Strategic overview for Israel 2020-2021: The year of the vaccine? Internal and external challenges to national security. Tel Aviv: Institute for National Security Studies. [Hebrew]

Bell, S. R., Clay, K. C., Kiyani, G., & Murdie, A. (2021). Civil–Military Relations and Human RightsArmed Forces & Society.

Benbenisty, Y., & Luria, G. A. (2021). Time to act and a time for restraint: Everyday sensegiving in the context of paradoxJournal of Organizational Behavior.‏

Ben-Natan, S. (2021). Self-proclaimed human rights heroes: The professional project of Israeli military judges. Law & Social Inquiry, 1-33.‏

Caden, Christopher & Nir Arieli (2021). British Army and Palestine Police Deserters and the Arab–Israeli War of 1948. War in History, 28.1, 200–222.

Coletta, Damon & Thomas Crosbie (2021). The virtues of military politicsArmed Forces & Society , 47.1, 3-24.

Drory, Z. & Nussak, H. (2021). From enlisted media to partisan criticism. The Israeli Journal of Society, Military, and National Security, 1, 51-80.

Druck, D. (2021). “The reserves will intercept” – The change in the fighting concept of the IDF. Dado Center Journal: The IDF Journal on Operational Art, 31-32, Ground forces 2. [Hebrew]

Fried, Y. & Biger, G. (2021). Geophysical military planning of the civil industry in Israel. The Israeli Journal of Society, Military, and National Security, 1, 81-102. [Hebrew]

Garyn-Ta, Sharon & Shosh Shahrabani (2021). Emotions, economic expectations and risk attitudes among soldiers during a military operation. Israel Affairs , 27.2, 300-313.

Gershenson, Olga (2021). Zombies and Zionism: The Dead and the Undead in Israeli Horror Films. Shofar: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Jewish Studies, Volume 39.1, 147-175.

Gibson-Fall, Fawzia (2021). Military responses to COVID-19, emerging trends in global civil-military engagements. Review of International Studies ,47.2, 155–170.

Gilad, Amitai, Eyal Pecht &Asher Tishler (2021). Intelligence, Cyberspace, and National Security. Defence and Peace Economics, 32.1, 18-45.

Hamama-Raz, Yaira, , Shaked Shir & Michal Mahat-Shamir (2021). Meanings attributed by bereaved unmarried intimate partners of fallen soldiers to their loss. Death Studies, 45.5, 380-389.

Harel Shalev, A. (2021). “A room of one’s own” in the Israel Defense Forces? The Israeli Journal of Society, Military, and National Security, 1, 31-50. [Hebrew]

Horenstein, E. & Goldstein, Y. (2021). The position of the army with regard to the West Bank and Jerusalem prior to the Six Day War – Between accepting reality and sentiment. Ben Gurion Institute for the Study of Israel and Zionism: Israelis, Issue 10. [Hebrew]

Kampinski, A. (2021). Zevulun Hammer – A political biography. Ramat Gan: Bar Ilan University Press. [Hebrew]

Kuehn, D., & Levy, Y. (Eds.). Mobilizing Force: Linking Security Threats, Militarization, and Civilian Control. Lynne Rienner Publishers.‏

Lander,  Liore,  Ephrat Huss & Ayelet Harel-Shalev (2021). Coping with Transitions: The Case of Combat Reserve Forces. Clinical Social Work Journal, 49, 100–109.

Leon, Nissim (2021). The Haredi Scholar-Society and the Military Draft in Israel: Counter-Nationalism and the Imagined Military Symbiosis. In: Research Anthology on Religious Impacts on Society.

Levy, Y. (2021). What is a citizen army? Society, Military, and National Security, 1, 9-30. [Hebrew]

Levy, Y. (2021). Manifesto – In favor of transition to a selective and official mobilization policy. The Israel Democracy Institute. [Hebrew]

Levy, Yagil (2021). Why do conscript militaries endanger enemy civilians more than volunteer forces? Peace, War, and Social Conflict section.

Malchi, A. (January 2021). Cracks in the consensus – The challenges to the “people’s army” and the model of military conscription in Israel in a changing social reality. The Israel Democracy Institute, Policy study no. 156. [Hebrew]

Marciano, Avi (2021). Israel’s Mass Surveillance during COVID-19: A Missed Opportunity. Surveillance & Society, 19(1), 85-88

Matanya, E. & Seri Levy, E. (2021). By sling and by stone: A strategy of technological reduction. Strategic Assessment – Research Forum, 24(2). [Hebrew]

Michael, K., Alon, T., Lindenstrauss, G., Bukchin Peles, S., Hanin, D. & Weiss, V. (February 2021). Environment, climate, and national security: A new front for Israel. Institute for National Security Studies. [Hebrew]

Muginshtein-Simkovitch, E., Kayouf, R., Twig, G., Ketko, I., Bader, T., & Fink, N. (2021). Short communication: Combining ethics with efficiency—Israel Defense Forces experience in clinical trials during the Coronavirus disease 2019 pandemic. Journal of Empirical Research on Human Research Ethics.

Padan, C. (2021). New Zealand, COVID-19, and national security – Lessons for crisis management. Strategic Assessment – Research Forum, 24(2). [Hebrew]

Pangilinan, James, Christine Peralta & Wesley Attewell  (2021). Between Caregiving and Soldiering: Filipina Non-Citizens and Settler Militarisms in Israel. Amerasia Journal,  46.2, 183-199.

Porat, Dan (2021). A Gift for the State: Commemorating Fallen Heroes in Israeli Children's Picture Books. Israel Studies, 26.2, 152-172.

Rothem, N. (2021). On temporality and morality: negotiating POW survival in current protracted warsCritical Military Studies, 1-20.‏

Schwake, Gabriel (2021). An officer and a bourgeois: Israeli military personnel, suburbanization and selective privatization. Planning Perspectives, 36.1, 183-194.

Schweitzer, Y., Siman Tov, D. & Michael, K. (2021). The cognitive campaign in Operation Guardian of the Walls. Tel Aviv:  Institute for National Security Studies, Issue 1470. [Hebrew]

Shandler, Ryan, Michael L. Gross & Daphna Canetti (2021). A fragile public preference for cyber strikes: Evidence from survey experiments in the United States, United Kingdom, and Israel. Contemporary Security Policy, 42.2, 135-162.

Stern, Nehemia & Uzi Ben-Shalom (2021). Confessions and Tweets: Social Media and Everyday Experience in the Israel Defense Force. Armed Forces & Society,  47.2, 343-366.

Topor, L., & Tabachnik, A. (2021). Russian cyber information warfareJournal of Advanced Military Studies12(1).‏

Wendtorf, Dirk C. (2021). The German Platoon of the Palmach: the first German-Jewish fighting unit in the Second World War and the unsung story of heroism. Journal of Modern Jewish Studies, 20.1, 44-69.

Zerach, G., Levi-Belz, Y., Griffin, B. J., & Maguen, S. (2021). Patterns of exposure to potentially morally injurious events among Israeli combat veterans: A latent class analysis approach. Journal of Anxiety Disorders, 79, 102378.