Israel among the Nations

The following portion from the article, Israel among the Nations, by Ehud Eiran was originally published by Strategic Assessment on July, 2020. Featuring our forthcoming title, Israeli Foreign Policy by Uri Bialer, and brought to you by Indiana University Press.  Available wherever books are sold.


“The book by Prof. (Emritus) Uri Bialer about Israel’s foreign policy opens by closing a circle. Bialer reports that one of the experiences that sparked his interest in the history of Israeli foreign policy was a course he took in 1970 with Prof. Michael Brecher at the Hebrew University. Brecher, a famous and prolific political scientist from McGill University in Canada, who at age 95 is still active in the field, published in 1972 the most important academic study on Israeli foreign policy: The Foreign Policy System of Israel: Setting, Images, Process (Brecher, 1972). Three years later he followed with another important work the topic, Decisions in Israel’s Foreign Policy (Brecher, 1975). The two books, writes Bialer, “laid the foundations for the discipline, and these foundations are still standing today” (p. 1).

This is perhaps a subtle way of saying what Prof. Dov Waxman wrote in 2003: “Given the vast, some would say inordinate, amount of media attention that Israel receives, one would expect scholars of International Relations (IR) to have devoted considerable attention to studying Israeli foreign policy. Surprisingly, they have not” (Waxman, 2003).

Bialer attributes this state of affairs to the paucity of primary sources. The clandestine nature of diplomacy during the pre-state period, Bialer suggests, carried over into the statehood era, due in part to the sense of threat from surrounding nations. The result was that not much was recorded, a tradition of internal reporting was not established, and later, legal mechanisms were used to hide discussions of sensitive issues such as the Palestinian refugees or energy procurement. The difficulties, writes Bialer, continue into the present: important actors in the Israeli foreign policymaking process, such as the Ministry of Defense, the IDF, and the Mossad make it difficult to access their documents, or simply do not allow such access. In the IDF archive, some 50,000 documents have been fully declassified out of approximately one million. Documents in the state archive are also only partially accessible: only one-sixth of the documents are available for viewing.”


Read the Full article here: Israel among the Nations.