ABSTRACT

Since the establishment of the State of Israel, the tension between these two approaches has, to a great extent, been reflected in Israeli strategic thinking. One could quite easily identify similar schools of thought among Israel’s defense elite regarding Israeli war objectives – a positive-offensive and a negativedefensive. The differences between these schools notwithstanding, they shared a common preference for an offensive strategy, for three main reasons. First, the country’s inability to absorb an attack on its territory due to the lack of strategic depth. Second, the IDF’s inferiority in the quantitative balance-of-forces vis-àvis the Arab armies. Offense was considered a force multiplier that could solve this problem.4 Third, the linkage between offense and battlefield decision: Israel’s need to end the war with decisive outcomes as soon as possible due to economic and social constraints, and in order to prevent or at least preempt great power or intervention or the arrival in the battlefield of Arab expeditionary forces.5 One can even identify defense aversion and cult of the offensive on the part of the IDF, particularly from the mid-1950s to the mid-1980s.6