Doctrines – in various religions, in the practice of justice, in some sciences, and in military & national security matters – are cardinal organising principles. National security and defence doctrines teach the people at large and the professionals what should be the underlying concepts from which they should deduce specific choices and decisions. They signal to foe and friend alike what they should expect. At home, they give parliamentarians a set of guidelines as to the budgets necessary for implementation.
For that sake, doctrines should be clear and coherent about national goals; sober and open-eyed about threats and challenges; creative and intensive regarding the means and ways of response; painfully conscious of the need to set priorities; and disciplined when it comes to human and material resources.
Israel was born in battle – the Declaration of Independence, May 1948, was already in the midst of a prolonged and bloody war with Palestinian Arab forces and invading militias reinforced by all her neighbours. This formative experience is central to understanding Israel’s unwritten defence doctrine and how it evolved and adjusted to new realities over the years.
Dr Eran Lerman is currently the Vice President of The Jerusalem Institute for Strategy and Security and a lecturer at Shalem College. Between 2009 and 2015, he had served as Deputy National Security Adviser to the Prime Minister; prior to that, he has been for eight years the Director, Israel and Middle East Office, American Jewish Committee; and on and off for 26 years, served in the IDF Directorate of Military Intelligence (AMAN), rising to the rank of colonel in charge of political and strategic analysis. He holds a PhD from LSE (1982) and a Mid-Career MPA from the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard (1996). The author of numerous research and policy papers, his book on Anglo-Egyptian relations in the 1940s, has recently been accepted for publication in a British academic press.
Purposes, Elements & Templates – The meaning of the term “doctrine” and how it’s used in different contexts – religious, legal, diplomatic, and understanding who are the target audiences of national security/defence doctrines. The elements of a doctrine – national goals, threats and challenges, strategic responses, operational methods, tactical tools, resources, priorities.
Exploring the early roots of the concept of Security/Defence defending the Zionist communities and the question of self-sufficiency, up to the first days of the state of Israel and the establishment of one national army.
Ben Gurion turns the IDF around: the social and ideological imperatives, deterrence, early warning, decisive or overwhelming outcome – the small standing army and its implications. The first Pillar is deterrence: building the capacity to persuade enemy forces that an attack would be futile and costly.
The second Pillar is ‘early warning’: relying on a rapid reserve call-up (the Swiss model), components of the Israeli intelligence community. This session will Examine early warning in the service of counter-terrorism – and counter-proliferation and the changing role of intelligence in battle. The third Pillar is the ‘decisive outcome’: The need to quickly break the enemy’s will, bring the fighting to a swift end and take the battle to the enemy’s territory.
The fourth Pillar is ‘defence’: the reasons for Ben Gurion’s vehement oppose and the new faces of defensive capability – the Fence. The fifth Pillar is technological superiority: learning in battle and utilising young talent.
The Begin Doctrine & New Social Dynamics – The sixth Pillar and the Corollary is ‘alliance’, and the ‘Begin doctrine’: Israel always sought active foreign support. In this session, we’ll examine the reasons for that throughout study cases. The ‘Begin doctrine’ commits Israel to prevent – by force if necessary – the development of a nuclear military capability by a sworn enemy of Israel. Next, we’ll dive into the Israeli national ethos: Israeli society in the third decade of the 21st century is divided into “tribes”, which is very different from the small but highly cohesive, devoted and hardened community (“Yishuv”) of 1948. This tribal society affects ethics in combat, gender issues, and above all, the burning question of Haredi (ultra-orthodox) military service.