Back to Top

The Home of Academic Studies on Israel

PART I - Israeli History [+ / -]

[+ expand/- decrease]

PART II - Israeli Society & Culture [+ / -]

[+ expand/- decrease]

PART III - Israeli Democracy [+ / -]

[+ expand/- decrease]

PART IV - Israeli Wars & the Peace Process [+ / -]

The Impact of Palestinian Nationalism on IsraelAuthor: Rafael Israeli

We tend to regard nationalism as a militant movement that articulates the link between man and a particular land, what we usually call a "patriotic feeling," or in Arabic wataniyya (watan meaning homeland or motherland). Sometimes, nationalism can come to be personified in the figure of a charismatic leader. The genesis of Palestinian nationalism can be placed in the 1920's when the disintegration of the Ottoman Empire, which until then encompassed the entire Arab world and constituted the major focus of its Islamic identity, gave rise to Arab nationalism. In general, this identity was based on cultural, religious, historical, ethnic, territorial and linguistic affiliation under the all-inclusive appellation of Qawmiyya (qawm meaning tribe), which assumed a descent from ancient common ancestors originating in Arabia.

The Sinai War & Suez Crisi: 1956 - 1957Author: Motti Golani

The short history of the state of Israel is replete with wars. Israel was established in 1948 in the midst of a war between Israel and the surrounding Arab countries, and this war was followed by a few more 'rounds' in the decades that followed. One of the lesser known Arab-Israeli wars was the Sinai War. On October 29, 1956, Israel attacked Egyptian forces in the Sinai Peninsula, and the air forces of Britain and France joined the offensive two days later on October 31. On November 5, British and French ground forces landed on the banks of the Suez Canal and started to follow it southward. In concert, Israel completed its conquest of the Sinai Peninsula without its army, the I.D.F., ever reaching the Canal. On November 7, the major superpowers of the era - the United States and the Soviet Union - issued two separate ultimatums forcing Britain and France respectively to halt their attempted seizure of the Suez Canal and, with this, the episode appeared to come to an end. British and French forces left Egypt in December 1956, and Israel completed its withdrawal from the Sinai Peninsula in March 1957.

The 1967 Six-Day WarAuthor: David Tal

It took three weeks of waiting and six days of fighting to change the face of the Middle East. The military countdown to the war started on May 15, 1967, with the crossing of the first Egyptian tanks from the Suez Canal into the Sinai. Although this action surprised Israel, it was closely related to tensions and military clashes that had taken place much earlier along Israel’s borders, especially with Jordan and Syria. The 1956 Suez War had ended with Israel having to withdraw from the Sinai Peninsula and the Tiran Straits, but with two major achievements: First, the Eisenhower administration pledged to Israel that the United States would regard the re-closure of the Straits by Egypt as a casus belli that would allow Israel to act in accordance with Article 51 of the United Nations Charter concerning self-defense. The second was the placement of UN observers (the United Nations Emergency Force, UNEF) along the Israeli-Egyptian border.

The 1973 Yom Kippur WarAuthor: Uri Bar-Joseph

The Yom Kippur War is the most traumatic event in Israel’s short, modern history. The Egyptian-Syrian attack that started in the midst of the Jewish people’s holiest day of the year almost completely surprised the State of Israel. Within a few hours, the Arab armies broke the IDF defense lines along the Suez Canal and in the southern sector of the Golan Heights. On Sunday morning, October 7, the second day of the war, the IDF’s southern command had hardly any forces left who were capable of blocking the Egyptian army from penetrating deeply into the Sinai. At the same time, the Syrian tanks that reached the area of Maaleh Gamla (Gamla rise), only a few miles from the Jordan River, faced no viable Israeli force and were poised to cross the river into the Jordan Valley. The only force the IDF could employ during these hours was its air force (IAF). Israel’s two major air attacks against the massive Egyptian and Syrian air defense systems that controlled the airspace over the battle ground completely failed. Moshe Dayan, Israel’s legendary general who was then serving as Defense Minister, spoke of the desperate situation in terms of a war for the fate of the “Third Temple.” The First Temple was destroyed by the Babylonians in 587 BC and the Second Temple was destroyed by the Romans in 70 AD. Dayan’s selection of words implied that Israel’s very existence was now at stake.

Israel's War on TerrorismAuthor: Arie Perliger

March 2002 was a devastating month for the citizens of Israel. The country was in the midst of the Al-Aqsa intifada and the suicide attack campaigns of the Palestinian organizations had reached their peak. Eleven times during this month, suicide bombers blew themselves up in the streets of Israel’s cities, causing more than 579 casualties including 81 fatalities. [1] On another six occasions that same month, the Israeli security forces thwarted attacks before the suicide bombers were able to complete their missions. The Israeli political leadership, however, was not ready to increase its response to the Palestinian attacks. The Israel Defense Forces were instructed to continue limited raids on the infrastructure of the Palestinian organizations in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, actions which included mainly arrests and intelligence gathering operations. This policy of restraint changed after the night of March 27.

The Peace ProcessAuthor: Galia Golan

While the term “peace process” in relation to the Arab-Israeli conflict was first coined with the Oslo Declaration of Principles in 1993, there had been many earlier attempts at peace-making, beginning almost immediately after the 1948 war. Both the initialed but then aborted non-belligerency agreement negotiated by Golda Meir and King Abdullah of Jordan and the short-lived proposals by Syrian President Husni Za’im led nowhere.(Morris, 1999) More promising were the Armistice Agreements, negotiated bilaterally with the mediation of UN representative Ralph Bunche between Israel and Egypt, Transjordan, and Syria. These agreements clearly stipulated that they were to be non-binding with regard to borders or future arrangements. They did, however, adjust cease-fire lines and provide for land swaps [1] , which suggested an element of permanence. Jordan annexed the West Bank (part of the area that had been designated by the Partition Plan for an Arab State), along with East Jerusalem, while Israel declared West Jerusalem its capital and incorporated all of the land conquered beyond the Partition Plan lines.

The Evolution of Israeli Military StrategyAuthor: Gerald M. Steinberg

When the nascent Israeli leadership met on May 14, 1948, in Tel Aviv to declare independence, the country was already being attacked by neighboring Arab armies. The clearly stated objective was to destroy the miniscule Jewish state, with its very vulnerable borders, before it could be established, using the apparently decisive Arab advantages in terms of territorial extent, armed forces, demography, and political influence. Israel overcame these hurdles in 1948 and in subsequent military confrontations, yet despite the development of formidable military capabilities, the inherent asymmetries and existential threats to the Jewish nation-state remain.

[+ expand/- decrease]

PART V - Israel's International Relations [+ / -]

[+ expand/- decrease]