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Policy Analysis

Policy Focus 160

Guidelines for Israel's National Security Strategy

Gadi Eisenkot and Gabi Siboni

Also available in العربية

October 2019

Since David Ben-Gurion defined Israel's first national security strategy in the 1950s, successive leaders have returned to this founding doctrine when articulating principles to address the country's complex problems. The underlying principles have stood the test of time, even as they have required various adaptations. In recent years, the main shift in Israel's security landscape stems from Iran's aspirations for regional hegemony. Simultaneously, Israel faces internal societal challenges, with alarming fissures developing alongside a growing population, strong economy, and technological achievements.

In this timely Washington Institute study, former chief of the IDF General Staff Gadi Eisenkot and military expert Gabi Siboni examine the current map of Israel’s threats and propose principles to address them as the basis for a comprehensive national security strategy. Their work represents a fundamental update to Israel's existing security-military concepts, emphasizing the importance of the "campaign between wars" and outlining justifications for war. In many areas, the authors contend, the country's military and civilian decisionmakers will need to coordinate their efforts, such as on the crucial task of strengthening ties with diaspora Jewry.



Lt. Gen. (Ret.) Gadi Eisenkot served as chief of the Israel Defense Forces General Staff from 2015 until 2019. He is currently a military fellow at The Washington Institute.

Col. (Res.) Gabi Siboni is a senior research fellow at the Institute for National Security Studies, where he directs the Military and Strategic Affairs and Cyber Security Programs. He is also founder and editor of the journal Cyber, Intelligence, and Security.