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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 Makings of a Young Lion

The Makings of a Young Lion

The Lavi Combat Aircraft, 1980–1987

(p.100) Chapter Four The Makings of a Young Lion
Zion's Dilemmas

Charles D. Freilich

Cornell University Press

This chapter focuses on Israel's production of the Lavi (“Young Lion”) combat aircraft during the period 1980–1987. It first considers the strategic setting in which the specific national security decision-making process (DMP) took place before discussing the five pathologies of Israel's DMP within the context of the Lavi. Numerous options were explored by the defense establishment and the Ministry of Finance throughout the Lavi process. Until 1987 the Lavi was almost entirely an internal defense establishment matter, largely immune from partisan politics and issues of coalition maintenance. However, events changed dramatically during the final series of cabinet meetings in the summer of 1987. This chapter examines the Lavi initiative in relation to the unplanned, politicized, and uninstitutionalized nature of the DMP, the Israeli government's semi-organized anarchy, and the primacy of the defense establishment.

Keywords:   combat aircraft, national security, national security decision-making, decision-making process, Israel, Lavi, defense establishment, Ministry of Finance, partisan politics, semi-organized anarchy

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