1st Edition

Israel’s Civil-Military Relations and Security Sector Reform Lessons for Conflict-Affected Societies

By Ian Westerman Copyright 2024
    190 Pages 10 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    This book examines Israel’s civil-military relations (CMR) in order to explore alternatives to orthodox Western models of security sector reform (SSR) in post-conflict societies.

    This book argues that the guidelines of SSR have always tended to draw on theoretical work in the field of CMR and focus too heavily on Western, liberal democratic models of governance. Consequently, reform programs based on these guidelines, and intended for use in post-conflict and conflict-affected states, have had, at best, mixed results. The book challenges the necessity for this over-reliance on traditional Western liberal democratic solutions and instead advocates an alternative approach. It proposes that by drawing on an unconventional CMR model, that in turn references the specific context and cultural background of the particular state being subject to reform, there is a significantly higher chance of success. Drawing on a case study of Israel's CMR, the author seeks to provide practical assistance to those working in this area and considers the question of how this unorthodox CMR model might usefully inform post-conflict and conflict-affected SSR programmes.

    This book will be of interest to students of military studies, security studies, Israeli politics, and International Relations.

    1. The Theory and Practice of Security Sector Reform (SSR) and its Links with Civil-Military Relations (CMR)
    2. A Retrospective Analysis of Israeli CMR Since Independence
    3. Results of the Data Acquisition and the Subsequent Analysis
    4. The Concept of a Civilian is Underdeveloped
    5. The Military are the Power Behind the Throne
    6. The Conflict Has Driven Events
    7. The Impact of Personality
    8. Conclusions and Implications for SSR
    Annex A. Research Philosophy, Methodology and Methods
    Annex B. The Origins and Development of the CIPMIS Conceptual Framework
    Annex C. A Summary of the History of Pre-1948 Israeli CMR


    Ian Westerman is a practitioner in the field of security and development related affairs, with 30 years’ experience as an officer in the British Army, and has a PhD in the field of defence and security from Cranfield University, UK.

    "Is the Israeli Model of Civil Military Relations (CMR) only for the Israelis? This is the focal question and intellectual challenge of this important and pioneering book that deals with one of the most unsuccessful lasting efforts of the international community in state building operations and endeavours. The author provides a very comprehensive overview about the idea of security sector reform (SSR) and by using the Israel CMR model, described and analysed in an impressive manner, tries to build a doable model for an alternative approach to SSR. The suggested alternative is counter-intuitive to the international common sense based on noble norms and principles from the normative and theoretical world of Western CMR that inspires the SSR conducted by the international community and leading Western countries and therefore, enlarges the theoretical scope and significantly contributes fresh and innovative scholarly thoughts."

    Kobi Michael, Senior Researcher and Editor-in-Chief of Strategic Assessment at the INSS-Tel-Aviv University

    "This interesting and important book stands at the cutting-edge of academic research on civil - military relations and on security sector reform by analyzing the unique case of Israel. Whilst the conventional approach to democratic systems recommends keeping the military and civil elements of society separate, in Israel symbiotic relationship exists between the military, the civil government and civilian society. The military is an embedded part of society, and civilian society is willing to tolerate a high level of intrusion of the military both in politics and in everyday life. The porous boundaries of the 'Transactional Model' did not endanger Israeli democracy but rather reduced the risk of a military takeover. By permitting the head of the armed forces to operate within the political sphere, the chance of direct military intervention in government was reduced. Following a detailed description of the Israeli model, the author recommends states that wish to introduce successful defense reforms and re-establish themselves in post-conflict situations to adopt some elements of the Israeli unique model."

    Yoram Peri, Prof. Emeritus, Former Kay Chair and Director of the Gildenhorn Institute for Israel Studies at the University of Maryland

    "Ian Westerman’s longitudinal analysis of Israel’s defence reforms offers a significant and timely contribution to international security scholarship. The work artfully and innovatively uses principles of civil military relations to evaluate the country’s broader experience of security sector reform (SSR). This not only brings an important conceptual contribution to the relatively underdeveloped area of SSR, but also an SSR experience of a geo-strategically important, middle-income country. Based on his years of living in the country, the analysis is meticulously informed by a wide range of Israeli voices. A highly recommended read."

    Ann Fitz-Gerald, Director of the Balsillie School of International Affairs in Waterloo, Canada, Professor of International Security in Wilfrid Laurier University’s Political Science Department