The evaluation presented in the previous chapter was of a general nature. But national security decisionmaking has been neither identical nor static during some four decades of Israel’s existence. The decisionmaking process has evolved and developed; indeed, one can ascertain a certain progress and improvement over time. Here we shall describe schematically and in general terms the actual decisionmaking process, as practised by the different governments and administrations in Israel. Aharon Yariv lists four main factors which have influenced policymaking in Israel:

The historical background, i.e., the pre-state socio-political development of the Jewish community in Mandatory Palestine.

The centrality of defense to national existence, due to Israel’s peculiar geopolitical situation and the traditional secrecy surrounding defense matters.

The heavy and lasting imprint of Ben-Gurion.

Israel’s continuous need to maintain a capability for total mobilization as a nation-in-arms. 1