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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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The Decision-Making Process

The Decision-Making Process

How the System Actually Works

(p.27) Chapter Two The Decision-Making Process
Zion's Dilemmas

Charles D. Freilich

Cornell University Press

This chapter examines how Israel's national security decision-making system actually works in practice. It considers five pathologies caused by Israel's uniquely harsh external environment, proportional representation electoral system, and the structure of the national security establishment. The first pathology is an unplanned process, whereby Israel's national security decision-making process (DMP) is marked by an overwhelming preoccupation with the present and immediate future, rather than the medium and long terms. Second, the DMP at the cabinet level is highly politicized. Third, Israel's government is characterized by a degree of semi-organized anarchy. Fourth, the DMP has a comparatively uninstitutionalized nature. Finally, the defense establishment, especially the Israel Defense Forces, and defense considerations have an unusual degree of influence on the DMP. The chapter also provides an overview of some of the strengths of the Israeli DMP.

Keywords:   national security decision-making, Israel, proportional representation, decision-making process, semi-organized anarchy, defense establishment, Israel Defense Forces, national security

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