Israeli National Security Strategy in Light of Geostrategic Transformations

17 August 2022
[Al Jazeera]

Al Jazeera Centre for Studies released a new book on 17 August 2022 entitled, Istratejiyat al-Amn al-Qawmi al-Isra’ili fi Dhaw’ at-Tahawulat al-Jeostratijiya (Israeli National Security Strategy in Light of Geostrategic Transformations), by Saleh Al-Naami, an academic and researcher specialised in Israeli affairs.

The book presents the principles and components of the strategy of Israeli national security as established by Ben Gurion in the 1950s and examines the factors that affected its formation. It also traces the regional and international shifts that changed the environment of this strategy and undermined the effectiveness and validity of its principles and components. Moreover, it highlights the steps Israel took to harmonise the strategy of its national security and tests the extent to which the trends it has adopted contribute to aligning a strategy that will enable it to contain the risks arising from shifts in its geostrategic environment. In addition, it forecasts the impact of failing to align Israeli national security strategy with the shifts surrounding it on the ability of this state to achieve its interests in the future.

In the book, Al-Naami argues that some regional shifts contributed to improving Israel’s strategic position relatively and strengthened Israel’s ability to achieve national interests. However, he says, the margins in which Israel’s military, political and diplomatic activities interact, with the aim of maintaining this position and that ability, remain narrow despite the military and technological balance of power leaning towards Israel. This, he maintains, is because of the failure of the principles and components of its national security strategy to contain the repercussions of regional and international shifts.

The author also argues that the instability of the regional environment prompts many questions about the extent of Israel’s ability to preserve the achievements it has reached as a result of the aforementioned shifts in its strategic environment.

Furthermore, Al-Naami contends that the improvement of Israel’s strategic position in the last four decades is not only because of its ability to invest its own resources, but also the result of changes in the political environment in the Arab world, particularly the change in the position of regimes in the region towards Israel. This, according to him, means that if there is a change in the policies and positions of Arab states towards Israel, it would erode the ability of its national security strategy to achieve its national interests. He also asserts that a shift in the political reality of the Arab world and the rise of ruling regimes that adopt policies that reduce the margin to manoeuvre against Israel is possible; or at least, these regimes could subject their relations with Israel to their pattern of dealing with the Palestinian issue, as seen after the first wave of the Arab Spring, which would undermine Israel’s ability to achieve its strategic and security interests.

The book also contends that in the case of political transformations such as the rise of a Turkish-Egyptian axis may represent the “scenario of terror” that Israel feared after the 25 January revolution in Egypt and considered one of the most dangerous geostrategic transformations that could affect its security environment.

The strategic balance of power between Israel and its rivals is not only limited to differences in military capabilities in terms of quantity and quality but also affected by the immunity of Israeli society and the system of values that govern it as well as the demographic balances of power within it and its ability to mobilise its own resources; and this affects its willingness to bear the consequences of implementing military and security policies.

About the author

Saleh Al-Naami is a part-time assistant professor in the Department of Economics and Political Science at the Islamic University in Gaza and a researcher specialised in Israeli affairs. He collaborates with numerous Arab research centres and writes regularly for Arab newspapers and news websites. In addition, he has participated in various research conferences on the Arab-Israeli conflict and authored a number of books, including: As-Sahafa wal-‘Askar fi Isra’il (The Press and the Military in Israel), Fi Qabdhet al-Hakhamat: Ta’adhum at-Tayar ad-Dini as-Sahyuni fi Isra’il wa Atharuhu ad-Dakhiliya wal Iqlimiya (In the Grip of the Rabbis: The Rise of the Zionist Religious Trend in Israel and its Domestic and Regional Impacts), Al-‘Aql al-Istratiji al-Isra’ili: Qira’a fi ath-Thawrat al-‘Arabiya wa Isthishraf le Ma’alat-ha (The Israeli Strategic Mind: A Reading into the Arab Revolutions and a Forecast of their Courses) and An-Nukhba al-Isra’iliya al-Jadeeda: Dirasa fi Athar Su’ud at-Tayar ad-Deeni ‘ala Marakiz Sun’ al-Qarar (The New Israeli Elite: A Study of the Effects of the Rise of Religious Trends on the Centres of Decision-Making). Al-Naami has also translated many works from Hebrew to Arabic.