Is Israel Ready for War?
A Humanities, Social Science & Health project
The intention of my doctoral research is to assess the extent to which the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) are prepared to fight a conventional war—that is, a ground war involving multiple nations and multiple fronts. Many believe that the IDF treats conventional warfare capabilities as a top priority, when in fact, since the beginning of the Arab Spring in 2011, non-conventional capabilities such as
cyber warfare, guerrilla warfare and anti-missile technology have been considered more important. The strategic situation in the region, which includes such factors as Iran’s nuclear program, the Arab Spring, and the ascendancy of Hamas in Gaza, favours preparation for non-conventional types of security operations. I expect that the study will conclude that the IDF will not be able to effectively counter a coordinated attack by all its enemies at once, like it did successfully in 1948. However, it is very unlikely that Israel will be attacked by a conventional army, not only because of the implications of the Arab Spring but also due to Israel’s nuclear capabilities and strategic alliances. Furthermore, I anticipate to find that the decision of Israel not to concentrate on conventional warfare capabilities was made out of strategic circumstances and not out of erosion of forces (such as what happened prior to the Lebanon War of 2006). Israel is knowingly investing in cyber warfare, intelligence gathering techniques and anti-missile systems out of the assumption that it is more important than investing in readiness for a conventional war.
|Academic Institution:||King's College London|
|Course:||War Studies Research MPhil/PhD (Full-time), 2016-2019|
|User Profile:||Avraham Jager|
What is your motivation for doing a PhD?
I wish to expand upon my knowledge in this field and use my expertise to implement changes in policy at the level of the Israeli military and government.
Why did you choose your research topic/title
Decisions on how to build, rebuild or change armies’ structure and abilities are crucial and the findings of this study will undoubtedly help Israel to plan its strategic future and balance its capabilities for whatever new threats may arise.
I received four medals during my service in the I.D.F. I served as a special ops reconnaissance officer and team commander; I established the first sniping unit of the reconnaissance forces; I served as a special ops officer for operational/terrain navigation and also as a counter-terrorism expert focused on responding to hostage situations. Today, I am a Captain in reserve in an Israeli Special Forces Unit. At the closing ceremony of the highly prestigious Argov Fellows Program, an honors program which admits only 20 top students each year from the entire campus, I was awarded a citation of excellence; only one student from the program receives this award each year, the award includes an invitation to the 2015 conference of the Global Institute for Leadership Development (GILD), which is ranked the top leadership development program in the world.
What difference will this research make in your life and the lives of others?
My research will be allocated into three sections. The first section will examine the relevant historical background to the study: the creation of the state of Israel, its major strategic challenges (military, economic, political, and social), and the formation and development of the IDF from 1948 to 1973. The second section will describe Israel’s major strategic challenges from 1973-2014 and the manner in which the IDF has adapted. The third section will directly respond to the research question: to what extent is the IDF militarily prepared to engage in a large-scale conventional war?