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Zion's DilemmasHow Israel Makes National Security Policy$
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Charles D. Freilich

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780801451041

Published to Cornell Scholarship Online: August 2016

DOI: 10.7591/cornell/9780801451041.001.0001

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Constraints and Players

Constraints and Players

The External Environment, Proportional Representation System, and National Security Establishment

(p.11) Chapter One Constraints and Players
Zion's Dilemmas

Charles D. Freilich

Cornell University Press

This chapter describes the uniquely harsh and dangerous external environment that Israel faces, along with its implications for the country's national security choices. It begins with an overview of Israel's national security environment and goes on to consider its proportional representation (PR) system. More specifically, it explores how the PR system causes chronic political instability and creates a need to govern through coalition governments, along with its consequences for the roles of the Knesset, cabinet, and subcabinet forums and for governability generally. Finally, it discusses the national security decision-making capabilities and the formal structure of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of Defense, and the National Security Council. The chapter argues that these organs' national security decision-making capabilities are weak, especially when compared with the highly developed capabilities and stature of the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) and military intelligence services.

Keywords:   national security, Israel, proportional representation, Knesset, national security decision-making, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Defense, National Security Council, Israel Defense Forces, military intelligence

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