Culture and Security Policy in Israel

March 2003


In considering some of the dominant themes that influence and characterize Israel’s security thinking, this paper will develop the notion of “security culture.” Security culture will serve as the prism through which the discussion of the evolution of Israel’s security policy will be carried out. It will be employed in the sense that it has been developed in some of the recent literature in international relations theory, namely, as a dominant social construct or frame, which provides the parameters within which a state’s security “reality” is discussed, debated, and constructed. After setting out this conceptual framework, security culture will thereafter be shown to be central to the discussion of the specific nature of civil-military relations in Israel, as well as most important for understanding Israel’s dominant threat perceptions today. The sum total of these observations will then be incorporated in the final section of this paper, which includes discussion of how the roles of Europe, the US, and the EMP are perceived in Israel’s security thinking.

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