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  • Guy Ziv, American University, Washington DC
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press
  • Expected online publication date: January 2024
  • Print publication year: 2024
  • Online ISBN: 9781009425667

Book description

Benjamin Netanyahu has carefully cultivated a self-image as Israel's 'Mr. Security' during his decades of political activity. His reputation as a security-minded leader has resonated with large swathes of the Israeli public, enabling him to become Israel's longest-serving prime minister. Yet the Israeli security community has long questioned Netanyahu's approach to national security. The Netanyahu era has seen unprecedented civil-military tensions, while retired generals and former heads of the Mossad and Shin Bet intelligence agencies, some of whom were appointed by Netanyahu, have publicly rejected both his leadership and his policies. Drawing on interviews with dozens of senior veterans of the Israeli security establishment, this book addresses this intriguing paradox. It sets out to explain the mutual distrust and intense disagreements between Netanyahu and the security community, as well as the underlying reasons behind the Israeli public's inattention to the collective judgment of hundreds of ex-generals and former spymasters.


‘A major reason why Netanyahu is the longest serving PM in Israel is his ability to recognize potential leaders that might challenge him personally and disarm them. Yet the entire Israeli military elite confronts Bibi also because of an additional reason: Contrary to their professional approach to the Palestinians and the occupied territories, which is flexible and pragmatic, Bibi’s attitude is essentially ideological. This book provides an excellent background to the military’s longtime opposition to Bibi and to his attempt to overhaul of the judicial system in the summer of 2023.’

Yoram Peri - Professor Emeritus and Former Kay Chair and Director of Gildenhorn Institute for Israel Studies, University of Maryland

‘Guy Ziv has assembled an impressive array of published material and significant interviews to produce an important study of the relationship between Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Israel’s military leaders. Ziv answers a critical issue that has confounded policymakers and the public: In a society in which the Israeli military has been held in such high esteem, why have voters tended to believe Netanyahu over the generals on such important issues as the future of the peace process and Israel’s relations with Iran?’

Daniel Kurtzer - Former US Ambassador to Israel and Egypt and Professor at Princeton University


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