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Defending the Holy Land: A Critical Analysis of Israel's Security & Foreign Policy Paperback – January 1, 2009

ISBN-13: 978-0472033416 ISBN-10: 0472033417

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 728 pages
  • Publisher: University of Michigan Press (January 1, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0472033417
  • ISBN-13: 978-0472033416
  • Product Dimensions: 1.8 x 6 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #521,876 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Zeev Maoz is Professor of Political Science at the University of California, Davis. He is the former head of the Graduate School of Government and Policy and of the Jaffee Center for Strategic Studies at Tel Aviv University, as well as the former academic director of the M.A. Program at the Israeli Defense Forces' National Defense College.

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Customer Reviews

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Any serious student or scholar who has interest in Israel/Palestine conflict must read this book.
Edgar Hopida
In a way, Israel's being and policies have served as good `business practice' if Israel as the nation was the business `product'.
C P Slayton
The information is neutral and based on the best evidence available and presented in a rational and almost clinical fashion.
Matthew Smith

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

24 of 26 people found the following review helpful By Matthew Smith on January 5, 2008
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I think even the detractors of this book will have to at least admit that this book is a very brave endeavor by the author. The analysis that Maoz gives us here is at times subjective which does leave the author open to criticism, but he takes such a scientific approach in analyzing the evidence that any critic will be hard pressed to find flaws in his methodology.

The book is not for the casual reader or those with just a passing interest in Israel or the Arab/Israeli conflict. The author uses almost fifty pages at the very beginning of the book to explain to readers his methodological approach to analysis of Israeli defense policy. I for one have never read such a detailed analysis of an approach to analysis before. Any potential reader should be prepared for a dense work that requires a lot from the reader.

If you decide to take on this book I think you will be rewarded with the best analysis of Israeli defense policy there is out there. The information is neutral and based on the best evidence available and presented in a rational and almost clinical fashion.

Maoz goes into great detail about how the IDF has had too much influence on policy making decisions within the government, and how civilian leadership has played a subservient role to defense needs. He goes on to explain how this lack of civilian leadership has created a process by which military solutions to conflicts take a priority role over political solutions. This has affected Israel's peace making efforts in the region. Israel has been all to willing to embark on some extremely risky military adventures to seek an end or at least an improvement vis-à-vis its neighbors, but at the same time Israel has been unwilling to try even moderately risky attempts at political solutions.
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17 of 21 people found the following review helpful By Israel Supporter on July 26, 2006
Format: Hardcover
Prof. Maoz analyzes the evidence underlying the basic beliefs about Israel's military policy and history, held by most Israelis and supporters of Israel. From a pro-Israel perspective, Maoz's work is a call for change within Israel to promote new institutions that would lead to non-military solutions. The chapter pointing out the flaws in Israel's nuclear policy is extremely important in view of the current nuclear build-up in Iran.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By ammou on June 27, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The following two paragraphs summarize the ideas the author discusses in the book:

* P 35 "(...) most of the wars in which Israel was involved were the result of deliberate Israeli aggressive design (...) None of these wars -with the possible exception of the 1948 War of independence- was what Israel refers to as Milhemet Ein Berah(" war of necessity"). They were all wars of choice"
* P 40 "I review a number of peace-related opportunities ranging from the Zionist-Hashemite collusion in 1947 through the collapse of the Oslo Process in 2000. In all those cases I find that Israeli decision makers-who had been willing to embark upon bold and daring military adventures- were extremely reluctant to make even the smallest concessions for peace (...) I also find in many cases Israel was engaged in sysrematic violations of agreements and tacit understandings between itself and its neibours."

Zeev Maoz, an Israeli citizen, is Professor of Political Science at the University of California, Davis. He is the former head of the Graduate School of Government and Policy and the prestigious Jaffee Center for Strategic Studies at Tel Aviv University, as well as the former academic director of the M. A. Program at the Israeli Defense Forces' National Defense college.

The book is meticulously researched and the author knows his stuff, I highly recommend this book for those who want to understand why there is no peace in Israel/ Palestine.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By C P Slayton on August 6, 2011
Format: Paperback
Note: This is from the 2006 edition. From reading a few other reviews I don't think the overall content has changed drastically, mostly updates.

The analogy or example of Machiavellian techniques cannot justify nor can it even account for Israel's strategy in the last sixty years, and certainly not in the last forty. Machiavelli's `Prince' described the evil that the leader must do in order to ensure the good of his subjects and the preservation of his state. In `Defending the Holy Land' Zeev Maoz describes a leadership that for the past sixty years, has only defended half its population. He describes actions that defend amoral behavior not only in one leader, the `prince' but of an entire government of poor, short-sighted policies.

Maoz states up front that his observations are not original and not intended to be neutral (17). The book focuses on Israel's national and foreign policy motives using history, politics and military strategy as the lens for analysis. Israel has built its policies on a few assumptions: Arab states and populations are continually hostile, there can be little dependence on foreign allies, and the geography of Israel places the national security under constant threat. The actions to check the assumptions have included small and limited wars, maintaining a self-interested alliance with arms suppliers and ensuring no defense treaties could ever limit Israeli military sovereignty.

One by one, Maoz extracts the frailties in these motives and policies to insist that they have perpetuated Israel's insecurity and could only ever lead to a `realist' peace, a coerced peace. The sad reality is perhaps Israel's government never intended for lasting peace or reconciliation from the start (9).
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