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Zion's Dilemmas: How Israel Makes National Security Policy (Cornell Studies in Security Affairs) Hardcover – November 20, 2012

ISBN-13: 978-0801451041 ISBN-10: 0801451043 Edition: 1st

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Product Details

  • Series: Cornell Studies in Security Affairs
  • Hardcover: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Cornell University Press; 1 edition (November 20, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0801451043
  • ISBN-13: 978-0801451041
  • Product Dimensions: 1 x 7 x 10 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,490,038 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


"Zion's Dilemmas is the most detailed analysis to date of the inner workings of Israel's national security establishment. It presents seven case studies: the two Lebanon wars (1982 and 2006); the peace processes with Egypt and the Palestinians; the unilateral withdrawals from Lebanon, in 2000, and Gaza, in 2005; and the failed Lavi fighter jet project, an ambitious attempt to build an indigenous warplane with U.S. funding, which was canceled in 1987."—Aluf Benn, Foreign Affairs

"Freilich's book, which furnishes a unique glimpse into the Israeli national security decision-making process, is sure to become the 'go to' work on the subject. It is a must read for anyone interested in how and why Israeli governments have made—and continue to make—the national security decisions that they do."—David Rodman, Israel Affairs

"This volume is by one of the foremost analysts of Israel's national security policy (NSP) . . . . It analyzes seven case studies dealing with NSP toward the Palestinians, Gaza, and Lebanon, and the building of the Lavi jet fighter . . . Freilich argues that it is imperative for Israel to correct its NSP failures in order to meet expected strong challenges in the future. Those interested in Israel's NSP and its foreign policies will benefit greatly from this study. . . . Summing Up: Highly recommended."—Choice

"How often is a reviewer assigned a book he or she can confidently predict will become not only an indispensable reference work but the essential reference point for future research on a given subject? Zion's Dilemmas is one such instance, and its author is to be congratulated for his outstanding scholarly contribution to the field of contemporary Israel studies writ large, and more specifically to the analysis of the country’s internal policymaking processes and status as a highly controversial yet formidable Middle Eastern and global state actor."—Israeli Journal of Foreign Affairs

"The author...presents a very informative account of how Israel formulates its national security policy...The book also presents an in-depth analysis of the DMP in several major case studies in Israel's national security history." —Efraim Inbar,Political Science Quarterly (Summer 2014)

"The extraordinarily important Zion's Dilemmas is the authoritative book on the making of Israel’s national security policy. Charles D. Freilich lays out fundamental institutions of Israel’s national security infrastructure, identifies five pathologies, and takes the reader through several cases of decision making around war, peace, and weapons procurement. Even the most knowledgeable student of Middle Eastern politics will learn from this thoroughly detailed and comprehensive book by an author with deep knowledge of Israel’s politics."—Janice Gross Stein, Belzberg Professor of Conflict Management, University of Toronto, author of Street Protests and Fantasy Parks

"This book is a superb guide through the labyrinth of Israel's policymaking process, skillfully demonstrating how major decisions were taken at the most crucial historical junctures. The great advantage to the reader is that it was written by someone who has seen it all from the inside."—Ehud Yaari, Lafer International Fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy

"This is a unique book providing deep insights into Israeli national security decision making. Synthesizing unusual personal knowledge with theoretical originality, Charles D. Freilich identifies and shows five main pathologies of Israeli security decision making in seven case studies of critical Israeli choices. On this basis a series of important improvement proposals are developed. Zion's Dilemmas is essential reading for all interested in Israeli statecraft, and also of profound significance for the comparative study of national security policies."—Yehezkel Dror, Professor Emeritus of Political Science, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem; author of Israeli Statecraft: National Security Challenges and Responses

About the Author

Charles D. ("Chuck") Freilich is a Senior Fellow at the Belfer Center, Harvard Kennedy School and teaches political science at Harvard, Tel Aviv University, and elsewhere. Prior to serving as deputy national security adviser, he was a senior analyst in the Israeli Ministry of Defense. Freilich is the author of numerous op-eds, appears regularly in American, Israeli, and international media, and speaks widely on Middle Eastern issues.

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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By david sorenson on May 22, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
There are many new books out now on the challenges for Israeli security policy, and this book is one of the best in a strong field. The author delineates clearly how difficult it is for Israel to retain its Zionist identity and democratic framework while dealing with security threats from both within its borders and from outside. Freilich does not spare criticism where he finds flaws in the Israeli security decision making process, but he bases his conclusions on balanced analysis instead of his emotions. This is a must-read for both scholars and those who pay attention to Middle East affairs.
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More About the Author

Chuck Freilich was a deputy national security adviser in Israel. He is now a senior fellow at the Belfer Center at Harvard's Kennedy School. He recently completed a first of its kind book on Israel's national security decision making processes ("Zion's Dilemmas: How Israel Makes National Security Policy", Cornell Press, 2012)and is now working on a new book on Israeli national security strategy.

Chuck's primary areas of expertise are the Middle East, US-Middle East policy and Israeli national security policy. He has taught political science at Harvard, NYU, Columbia,Tel Aviv University and the Herzlia Interdisciplinary Center.

Chuck has appeared as a commentator for ABC, CNN, NPR, El Jezira, CCTV and various US and Israeli radio and TV stations. He has been quoted in the NY Times and other media and published numerous articles and op-eds.

Chuck was a Senior Analyst at the Israel Ministry of Defense, policy adviser to a cabinet minister, a delegate at the Israeli Mission to the UN and the executive director of two non profits. He served in the Israel Defense Forces for five years and is a reserve major.

Chuck earned his Ph.D. from Columbia University. Born in New York, he immigrated to Israel in his teens. He has two grown children, Lior and Tal.