The Foreign Policy of Herut and the Likud by Ilan Peleg

The Foreign Policy of Herut and the Likud


Ilan Peleg


Israel's National Security Policy
Political Actors and Perspectives

edited by
Bernard Reich and Gershon R. Kieval
published by
Greenwood Press
Chapter 3
pages 55-78
ISBN 0-313-26196-2

The Table of Contents can be found at the end
of this document and also by clicking the section headings.

Please consider purchasing a copy of this work for your private library.

On October 20, 1986, Yitzhak Shamir of the Likud resumed the leadership of the Israeli government according to an unprecedented political arrangement known as "the rotation." What exactly Shamir will do in the area of foreign policy is, obviously, still too early to predict. Yet, there are a large number of sources available in the public domain which could help us in assessing what the main policies of the returning prime minister might be. These sources include the rotation agreement itself (which is likely to impose serious limitations on Shamir), public positions taken by Shamir over the years,1 and positions taken by other important Likud politicians.2 The realities of peace diplomacy in the Middle East are also likely to have a major effect on the Likud in years to come.

In order to understand what the new premier may do one must first dwell on the history and ideology of the Israeli Right—the nationalist camp. Herut, the core component of the Likud, maintained its ideological purity to a larger extent than any other political party in Israel,3 and in many ways its history can be traced back to 1922. Unless one knows something about Jabotinsky's Revisionist movement and about what will be called here Begin's neo-revisionism, one can hardly hope to penetrate the belief system of Herut's leadership. The strategic thought of Menachem Begin and his associates, including Yitzhak Shamir, during their seven-year reign (1977-84) ought to be understood as deeply grounded in the history and the ideology of the right wing of the Zionist movement since the 1920s.

This chapter has a number of functions: to explore the ideological component as a determining factor in Herut/Likud foreign policy; to describe some of the elements characterizing Herut's traditional foreign policy; to assess the new elements introduced into Israeli foreign policy under Begin (and implemented by individuals such as Arens, Shamir, and Sharon, all members of the current government); to evaluate the direction Shamir's policy might take, based on ideology, history, and Likud's record as Israel's ruling party.

The Ideological Imperative

In exploring the foreign policy of Herut, and the larger political body within which it resides (the Likud), one should never ignore the importance of ideology as a truly guiding set of ideas which is consciously and faithfully held by the political elite of the movement. The ideological baggage that Shamir brought to the prime minister's office in October 1986 was probably more important than any other factor in determining what he will and particularly what he will not do. Environmental factors are likely to influence Shamir but not to overcome the central ideological imperatives.

In order to fully understand Herut's ideological baggage one must go back to the year 1922, and to the British decision to exclude the territories east of the Jordan River from their mandate. The British decision meant that the areas designed to accommodate the "Jewish National home," as perceived in the famed Balfour Declaration (November 2, 1917), were now limited to western Palestine. This momentous decision, which was reluctantly accepted by Weizmann and the Zionist leadership, was vehemently rejected by the Zionist leader Vladimir Jabotinsky (1880-1940) [See his bio at the homepage of his youth movement, Betar—web editor], who proceeded to withdraw from the World Zionist Organization (WZO) and to establish the Revisionist party. The bitter dispute between the Zionist majority and the Revisionists was the central political fact of life throughout the mandatory period and has had a major impact on Israeli politics since 1948. Thus, the conflict between the Haganah, the defense organization controlled by Labor leaders during the mandate and the IZL (Irgun Zvai Leumi) (headed by Begin) and Lechi (one of whose main leaders was Shamir) can be best explained as reflecting the ideological differences between the various Zionist camps.

One cannot understand the foreign policy of the Israeli Right without identifying the most important elements of Jabotinsky's ideology.4 A charismatic speaker and a prolific writer, Jabotinsky's ideological teachings are easily discerned:

1. The most important, distinguishing element in Jabotinsky's thought was the claim, as a matter of principle, for exclusive Jewish sovereignty in all the territories previously controlled or inhabited by Jews. Within the context of the interwar diplomacy, Jabotinsky's claim applied to the territory given to Britain by the League of Nations as a mandate in 1921 on both sides of the Jordan River.5

2. As a correlate of his basic territorial position, Jabotinsky rejected any and all proposals for the partitioning of Palestine to an Arab and a Jewish state (such as the Peel Proposal of 1937); his disciples, notably Menachem Begin and Yitzhak Shamir, took an identical stance toward later proposals for partition, including the one recommended by the UN in 1947.6

3. A second correlate of Jabotinsky's fundamental stance was a rejection of all ideas for Arab-Jewish power sharing. A liberal by temperament and upbringing, Jabotinsky was willing to grant the Arabs civil rights as individuals, but not as a national or ethnic group, a position that years later was resurrected in Begin's autonomy plan.

4. The Revisionists represented the extreme, radical right not only in their goals, but in their tactics: they rejected the Haganah's policy of self-restraint (havlaga) in face of Arab attacks, a dispute which led to the establishment of the Irgun Zvai Leumi; they carried out an active military campaign against the British authorities in the middle of World War II (despite the decision of the elected leadership of the Jewish community in Palestine to not do so); and they committed acts of violence with little (IZL) or no (Lechi) restraint, among other things.

5. In a more general way, Jabotinsky's philosophy reflected a version of Zionist-Social Darwinism: he saw international relations as an eternal struggle of blood and soil and his thinking grew more and more ethnocentric; the youth organization which Jabotinsky headed, Betar, reflected his ideas. In effect, Jabotinsky offered an alternative myth to that of Labor—the myth of national power and grandeur, a return of Malchut Israel (the kingdom of Israel), and territorial expansion.

It is often assumed that Begin "rescued Jabotinsky from the place he had taken as a marginal figure in the development of Zionist thought." 7 After all, Begin himself always referred to Jabotinsky as "our master, teacher and father," and his first cabinet secretary, Arie Naor, said on election night 1977, when it became clear that Begin would be Israel's new prime minister, that the main task of the new government would be to implement Jabotinsky's ideological vision. In fact, however, one can argue that Jabotinsky's disciples, headed by Begin, systematically radicalized the master's ideology so much so that neo-revisionism came into being.

Begin's neo-revisionism is, on the one hand, an ideology based on the concepts offered originally by Jabotinsky in the 1920s: the belief in the inevitable violent struggle between Jews and Arabs, the right of the Jewish people to Eretz Israel in its entirety, and the primacy of military force in international politics, etc. On the other hand, the neo-Revisionist version is invariably more extreme than the original Revisionist credo. While intellectually neo-revisionism is rooted in the ideological infrastructure left behind by Jabotinsky, emotionally it is rooted in post-Jabotinsky events such as the Holocaust, the IZL anti-British campaign (1943-48), Arab-Jewish relations since 1948, and even Herut's prolonged experience as an ostracized opposition in Ben-Gurion's Israel. The traumas of the last forty-five years of Jewish history radicalized the belief system of the Zionist Right, a camp whose prime spokesman for two generations was Menachem Begin (until his retirement in 1983) and whose current leader is Yitzhak Shamir.

What, then, are the major ideological components of neo-revisionism?

1. In terms of the main elements of its operational political program, neo-revisionism does not differ substantially from revisionism, but some meaningful changes are still discernible:

A. Neo-revisionism continues to insist on exclusive rights of the Jewish people to Eretz Israel. Since 1967 the territorial emphasis has been on absorbing the West Bank and Gaza, while much less attention has been given to the east bank (Jordan proper). While on the eve of the Six-Day War, in 1966, Begin still insisted that "we have a right on our entire homeland," 8 he himself refrained from discussing the east bank issue since the war. On the other hand, Begin's personal secretary, Arie Naor, testified in an interview with me (July 1985) that the prime minister continued to hope and to believe that Jews will some day have rights on the east bank, albeit through peaceful means and in the form of a confederation agreement with Jordan; the secretary even expressed the ideas for such a confederation in a published article.9 More importantly, Begin's defense minister, Ariel Sharon, talked on a number of occasions about establishing a new political order on the east bank. Some neo-Revisionist writers stated bluntly that the east bank is Israel's by right.10

B. Needless to say, neo-revisionism is opposed to any repartition to the territory between the Mediterranean Sea and the Jordan River. Its arguments against repartition are not only Jabotinsky's old claims that the entire territory of Palestine was promised to the Jews in the Balfour Declaration (which was not the case) but that the areas under consideration are the ancient patrimony of the Jewish people. Neo-revisionism goes beyond legal and national rights. First, some neo-Revisionists, in the religious branch of the Israeli Right, maintain that the territories conquered in 1967 belong to the Jewish nation by God's will and decree.11 Second, all neo-Revisionists maintain that the West Bank and Gaza are essential for Israel's very survival, that is, that without these territories Israel might be liquidated by the superior power of the Arab states. The neo-Revisionists, notably Menachem Begin, radicalized the language regarding Israel's security problem by arguing repeatedly that any change in the post-1967 territorial balance would pose a "mortal danger" to Israel, that a return to the 1949 lines would mean a return to "Auschwitz borders," etc.12

C. Neo-revisionism radicalized somewhat Jabotinsky's position on the essence of what might be called the Palestinian problem, although insofar as actual policy on this question is concerned, the differences are marginal. In dealing with the Arab problem, Jabotinsky introduced a distinction between rights of "nationality," as autonomous national rights, and rights of "citizenship," as sovereign national rights. While he was ready to grant the members of a future Arab minority (in the Jewish state) personal autonomy, especially in areas such as religion, education, and culture, he refused to consider granting the Arabs any political rights as a group. Begin adopted a similar approach in his autonomy plan. Yet. where radicalization did occur was the refusal of the neo-Revisionists to recognize even the mere existence of Palestinian nationalism, a position which Jabotinsky did not have.

2. A major area of neo-Revisionist radicalization (of the original Revisionist stands) is in its perception of the attitude of the rest of the world (beyond the Arab or Moslem world) toward Zionism, Israel, or the Jewish people in general. While Jabotinsky had a fairly positive perception of the outside world, the neo-Revisionists see it not only as attitudinally hostile and politically indifferent to Israel's fate, but often as actively involved in efforts to destroy it. For neo-revisionism anti-Israeli positions are almost invariably reflective of anti-Semitism, now applied to the Jewish state rather than to Jewish individuals or communities. The fundamental negation of the world is one of neo-revisionism's distinguishing characteristics: the perception is of a world which employs double standards in dealing with Israel and is actively influenced by a long-held anti-Semitic tradition. Thus for Begin the mere question of Israel's responsibility for the Sabra and Shatila massacres was considered "blood libel," and European initiative for a Middle East settlement were immediately and routinely linked to the Holocaust in Europe, etc.

3. A third important area of neo-Revisionist thinking is its treatment of power, its utility, and limits. Revisionism had always focused on power as a main instrument in international relations, and neo-revisionism has further developed this perception and the emphasis on national greatness. Neo-revisionism promoted the dream of grandeur and national power to enormous, abnormal proportions. Starting with the recognition of Jewish political weakness and total dependence on others, the neo-Revisionist over-compensated by developing a dream of Jewish superiority, political greatness and total domination over others.13 The Holocaust, which had more profound impact on the Revisionist movement than on any other Zionist organization, crystallized and radicalized the demand for total power: it emotionalized to the limits ideas which in Jabotinsky's writing were expressed rationally.

While the pursuit of the Zionist goals was always restrained by practical considerations and by the acceptance of cosmopolitan, Western, humanitarian values, in addition to the emphasis on Jewish nationalism, the Revisionists pursued the national idea exclusively. What made the Revisionists unique among the Zionists was not only the intensity of their belief in the indispensability of a renewal of national power but, above all, the unidimensionality of their belief. The territorial stance of the movement, its claim for total and exclusive Jewish control, was merely one aspect of the demand for recognition and greatness. For the neo-Revisionists the dream is still an Israel which is not dominant only in its immediate region but is actually a great power in the international arena.

4. Finally, and in a more general way, neo-revisionism has a different attitude toward the possibility and even the desirability of normal Jewish existence from other brands of Zionism. The original Zionist formula, that of Herzl, promoted the return of the Jews to their land in a conscious effort to achieve normalcy, a goal that even Jabotinsky shared. Neo-revisionism, in opposition to both Herzl and Jabotinsky, firmly rejects the state of normalcy as not only fundamentally unachievable but even as inherently un-Jewish, The neo-Revisionist emphasis is clearly on Jewish uniqueness, separation, and secession from the rest of the world.14

Yitzhak Shamir, like other leaders of the nationalist camp in Israel, has deep personal loyalty to this set of ideas. Although he was not a member of the Irgun Zvai Leumi, an organization that claimed to be continuing Jabotinsky's ideology, he belonged to Lechi, an underground military faction that was even more radical than the IZL. Lechi, like the IZL, supported the idea of exclusive Jewish rights in the land, but emphasized more the use of force as a major instrument for the achievement of national goals, unlimited conflict with the British and, particularly, the Arabs, territorial expansion, and ardent nationalism.

Herut's Foreign Policy, 1947-1977

The treatment of revisionism and non-revisionism as ideologies is an important, essential component for penetrating the essence of these brands of modern Zionism as policies. In other words, one can hardly understand either Herut's traditional foreign policy stands or Likud's foreign policy under Begin (1977-83) without focused attention to their ideological determinants. It is these foreign policies that we now turn to; the link between the ideology and the policy is apparent,

Herut's foreign policy in the first thirty years of Israel's independence and before the movement's leadership took over as the duly installed government of Israel, was characterized by that which follows.

1. Territorial expansion. Herut's line on the question of Israel's final boundaries was essentially a continuation of the line taken by the Revisionist movement and the Irgun. When Ben-Gurion declared the establishment of a Jewish state, acting on the basis of the UN partition resolution of November, 1947, Begin, as IZL commander, issued a declaration reflecting a different position:

The State of Israel was established. But we shall remember that the homeland has not yet been liberated. . . . We shall carry the vision of full liberation and full redemption. Five-sixths of our national territory are at stake. . . . Our plows will yet plow the fields of the Gilad.15

Herut criticized MAPAI, the ruling party, and Ben-Gurion himself, for having missed a "golden opportunity" (in 1948) to conquer the West Bank.16 Begin maintained that MAPAI's territorial position, which favored partition, was a crime that made Chamberlain's sin of appeasement in Munich pale in comparison. In its first public document Herut stated that "the main objective of the Hebrew foreign policy will be to ensure the unification of the torn homeland."

With the termination of active hostilities, in 1949, a national consensus of accepting the armistice lines emerged in Israel. Among Israel's political parties, Herut alone remained outside of this consensus. When the Sinai/Suez campaign erupted, in 1956, Begin bitterly criticized the Ben-Gurion government for not initiating an attack on Jordan; Herut consistently was waiting for an opportunity for territorial expansion. Its position on the territories following the 1967 war was merely a continuation of his historical, ideologically grounded line.

2. Use of force. Throughout Israel's first thirty years, Herut's foreign policy was activist, supportive of frequent and extensive use of force as an instrument for dealing with Israel's political and military problems. While within MAPAI, the ruling party, two opposing approaches, a dovish and a hawkish, emerged,17 Herut's policy remained monolithically what Harkabi called "hawkish-hawkish." 18 When Israel's reprisals policy was initiated, in the early 1950s, it found in Herut a consistent supporter. In fact, Herut demanded even more extensive reprisals than Ben-Gurton, Dayan, and Peres were willing to approve. Furthermore, while the reprisal policy of MAPAI's hawks was designed to keep the political and territorial status quo emerging after the 1948 war, Herut's support for reprisals was designed to initiate a total war that would give Israel an opportunity to "liberate" the occupied homeland. Herut's position was entirely consistent with its ideological stance.

3. Relationships with external powers. It is often assumed that Herut, by its very nature, was inherently pro-Western and anti-Soviet. After all, communism and Zionism, let alone communism and revisionism were always incompatible, and Herut's leader, Menachem Begin, served a term in a Soviet labor camp for Zionist activity, as did many other activists in Jabotinsky's movement. In fact, however, the pro-Western, anti-Soviet position of Herut was not a fundamental position but a stance taken on the basis of cold calculation based on Herut's ideological inclinations. Dr. Yochanan Bader wrote in his memoirs and told me in a personal interview (July 1985) that Herut, at the beginning, had a position of neutrality and non-alignment, but that Begin unilaterally changed it following his visit to the United States in 1951. It seems that at this time, following the outbreak of the Korean War, Herut's leader understood that the cold war would remain a fundamental feature of the international scene for many years and concluded that Israel would benefit from close relations with the United States, a position that Ben-Gurion's government has also adopted. Herut maintained and intensified the pro-American, pro-Western line since the early 1950s.

Herut leaders had fundamental attachment to one idea alone: shlemut hamoledet (greater Israel). Realization of this vision necessitates a long-term, violent conflict with the Arabs. Herut thought that in this conflict Israel would need powerful allies, preferably the United States. The pro-American line, in other words, was a function of the fundamental ideological line.

In some of his writing, Begin expressed his views on the appropriate relations between Israel and the West openly and clearly. Thus, in a piece in Hauma (1966), written to the party loyalists, Begin talked not only about territorial expansion, but actually defends Israel's "right" to remain a foreign entity in the Middle East: "We better call Israel not a Middle Eastern state but a Mediterranean state." 19 He then proceeded to reject ideas for an association with the Arab world, and promoted an open alliance with Western countries. Hinting of his strategic understanding with the United States more than fifteen years later, Begin said in this remarkable article: "Being a Mediterranean state, we can serve as a link beyond our own limited area, where we are surrounded by enemies. We have an opportunity to establish alliances in different directions." 20 Herut was one of the most enthusiastic supporters of the Israeli-French link in the 1950s and 1960s.

4. Nationalism. In a general way, beyond all specific issues, Herut's position reflected always a strong sense of nationalism, sometimes even beyond rational calculations of self-interest. The issue of the reparations from Germany (1952) is a case in point. Despite the fact that Israel had strong economic reasons to be interested in receiving the reparations, as well as significant political reasons, Herut vocally opposed the efforts of the government to obtain them. Begin called the negotiations with the Germans chilul hashem (the defamation of God's name), "the ultimate abomination, the likes of which we have not known since we became a nation." 21

Likud's New Regional Order

Herut's foreign policy was of limited importance as long as the party was in opposition (until 1967) or served as a relatively small component within a larger coalition led by Labor. This policy became very important once Menachem Begin assumed the position of Israel's prime minister, in 1977. His policies in the region and beyond reflected not only the traditional Herut ideology, but they were backed now by the considerable force of the Israeli state and armed forces. Likud's policies, in totality, created a new regional order in the Middle East.

The cornerstone of Likud's foreign policy throughout its reign was the effort to maintain Israel's control over the West Bank, the Gaza Strip and the Golan Heights, although the international pressures, internal dissent and the demographic reality prevented the government from a de jure annexation of the occupied territories. Some even argued that having recognized his inability to annex the territories, Begin decided to focus instead on the southern (Egypt) and northern (Lebanon) fronts in order to facilitate such annexation in the future,22 although both operations, the peace with Egypt and the war in Lebanon, were intimately and directly linked with the central goal of annexation.

On the whole, there were two distinct periods during the Likud's rule, periods which do not exactly match the first and the second Begin governments. In the first period, that of moderation (1977-79), Foreign Minister Dayan and Defense Minister Weizman implemented what was generally perceived in the West as Begin's peace policy. The highlights of this period were the Sadat visit to Jerusalem, the Camp David accords and the Egyptian-Israeli peace treaty, and it came to an end with the resignation (in frustration) of both Dayan and Weizman and the stalemate in the negotiations over West Bank autonomy. In the second period, that of radicalization (1980-83) a new policy was implemented by Begin himself, Defense Minister Ariel Sharon (since 1981), Foreign Minister Yitzhak Shamir, Chief of Staff Eitan, and the ambassador to Washington, Moshe Arens. A new political elite, substantially more radical than the previous one, had emerged and it carried a series of actions which, in their totality, constituted a departure from the tough-but-restrained policy of the past: extensive and public settlement effort, annexation of the Golan Heights, the attack on the Iraqi nuclear reactor (Osiraq), and the Lebanon war, etc.

The first Likud government was dominated by Camp David. Since it was there that Begin recognized that "legitimate rights of the Palestinians," many believed that at Camp David Begin really deviated from the Revisionist orthodox dogma. In fact, however, Begin's Camp David actions were merely a tactical, momentary deviation, taken under conditions of extreme personal duress (American and Israeli).23 On the whole, Begin went to Camp David in order to guarantee his vision of greater Israel, to neutralize Egypt as an active confrontation state and to buy some time in the face of unprecedented American pressure. When he finally freed himself from his prison at Camp David, Begin immediately returned to his annexation stance, approved an accelerated settlement effort, and refused to allow any but the most limited autonomy to the local inhabitants. The failure of the autonomy talks meant a Begin victory.24

What could be called Begin's "diplomacy of annexation" was accompanied on the ground by a series of policies designed to guarantee eventual incorporation of the territories to Israel:

1. a large scale settlement effort which put the number of settlers at the end of Begin's rule at 28,400 (it was merely 3,200 at the end of Labor's rule in 1977) and which was designed to make the eventual separation of the West Bank from Israel impossible by encouraging Jewish presence in Central Samaria;

2. a dramatic increase in land seizure on the West Bank (from 35,000 dunams under Labor to more than 400,000 dunams under the Likud, and a claim for over 40 percent of the total area of the West Bank (as "state land"),25 as well as the opening of the territories for private buyers;

3. an open and enthusiastic governmental support for Gush Emunim as a settling avant-garde on the West Bank, a force of armed zealots; and

4. the establishment of a civilian administration (November 8, 1981; Military Order no. 947) in the territories as a step toward eventual annexation and a more effective control of the population.

All the above actions, and more, were part of a large scale effort designed to guarantee an Israeli control and an eventual annexation of the occupied territories. The autonomy plan devised by Begin was to serve as a legal framework within which real annexation could be effected. When it met with the opposition on the international level (United States and Egypt), domestic level (in Israel itself including Begin's own government) and, as expected, in the territories themselves, the efforts to establish autonomy were replaced by efforts to cultivate a new, collaborationist leadership on the West Bank (the Village Leagues). When this attempt also failed, mainly due to internal opposition in the territories, the Lebanon war was launched (June 1982) as a means for destroying the political power of the PLO and eliminating its influence on the West Bank. Begin and Sharon thought that this would lead to the pacification of the territories and to the quiet imposition of the autonomy plan.

The Lebanon war marked a new strategic concept in the thinking of any Israeli government—it was truly reflective of Herut's traditional foreign policy goals, style of operations, and even fundamental values.

In sharp contrast with the recent past, Begin's second government conducted an unlimited, unrestrained Lebanon policy. An examination of Labor's policy in Lebanon indicates that the Rabin government recognized the limits of its ability to influence internal Lebanese affairs,26 instructed the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) to conduct military operations against PLO targets exclusively, limited these operations in size and duration, and reached an overall (albeit unwritten) understanding with Syria on areas of influence in Lebanon.

Begin's ascendence and the formation of the Likud government led to important changes in Israel's Lebanese policy. The new prime minister falsely defined the Lebanese situation as "genocide" against the Christians, a situation which Israel could not and would not allow (thereby committing Israel to a long-term, unlimited involvement in Lebanon). In March 1978 the government had authorized the Litani Operation, signalling a new level of Israeli involvement.

Ezer Weizman, Begin's first defense minister, attempted to halt the train of events and to limit Israel's Lebanese involvement. The Litani Operation, even though unprecedented, was carried out (under Weizman) in a moderate fashion. Weizman rejected the repeated requests of the Maronites for an IDF intervention on their behalf, including an advance toward Beirut during the Litani Operation itself.27 He and foreign minister Dayan were afraid that an adventurist policy in Lebanon would hurt Israel's chances of making peace with other Middle Eastern countries.

These signs of moderation completely disappeared with the installment of the second Begin government. The new defense minister, Sharon, wanted to eject the Syrians completely out of Lebanon, to force on the country his ally Bashir Gemayel (as president), to destroy the PLO base militarily and politically, possibly to lead to mass Palestinian evacuation of Lebanon, and, in general, to establish Israel as a controlling political force in the country. The June 1982 invasion was designed to achieve these goals.

The primary and most immediate goal of the Lebanon war was to achieve Herut's long-held ideological goal: the annexation of the West Bank and Gaza. By destroying the PLO in Lebanon, Likud leaders hoped to force the inhabitants of the West Bank to accept the autonomy plan offered by Begin. Chief-of-Staff Eitan said candidly that the war in Lebanon was a continuation of "the battle for Eretz Israel," a battle that, he thought, had lasted already 100 years.28 Eitan openly unveiled the real reason for the invasion, a reason carefully concealed by Begin when he called the operation "Peace for the Galilee."

A secondary, yet important cause for the Lebanon invasion was the desire of Begin to free Israel from what he considered past national traumas that could negatively effect the national resolve in the future. Related to that goal was Begin's efforts of reunification of the Israeli Right around himself. The prime minister spoke often of the trauma of the 1973 war29 and he believed that a clear-cut victory in Lebanon would once and for all erase that trauma. A second, and much more personal trauma that Begin had to erase was the one caused by his signature on the Camp David accords, and the Israeli concessions to which they led, including the painful evacuation of the Israeli-built town in the Sinai, Yamit. Camp David led to bitter criticism of Menachem Begin's otherwise impeccable credentials as a nationalist, the recognized spokesman of the nationalist right in Israel. The assault on Lebanon (as the annexation of the Golan Heights before) were, at least partially, motivated by Begin's decision to reestablish his status as Jabotinsky's heir.

Lebanon can be seen as a "case study" of Likud's foreign policy in the region. There were other interesting cases, such as the attack on Osiraq or the Golan annexation. These do not necessitate a detailed analysis here, but some general comments regarding Likud's regional foreign policy are in order.

In general terms, Israel's goal prior to 1977 was that of maintaining the balance of power between herself and the neighboring Arab countries as a means of maintaining the status quo in the region. Many leaders of Labor and other parties even spoke about an eventual return of most of the West Bank to Arab hands, namely about a territorial change in favor of the Arabs, although all were committed to the maintenance of the military balance of forces established as a result of the Six-Day War.

The Likud government under Begin pursued a radically different policy, although this was unrecognized by most political observers prior to the departure of Dayan and Weizman from the government. Begin, acting on a basis of a neo-Revisionist set of assumptions,30 did not believe that peaceful coexistence between Jews and Arabs—in Israel, on the West Bank, or in the region in general—was possible. He was determined to establish Israeli hegemony in the area, a new balance of power in which Israel would be completely dominant.31 The war in Lebanon, the annexation of the Golan Heights, and similar actions were logical extensions of this new set of goals.

The traditional Israeli position vis--vis the Arab states tended to be defensive in nature. This posture had a few characteristics: limited objectives in case of war,32 restrained military operations even under conditions of total superiority,33 and a position of deterrence of Arab attack as a fundamental objective of the IDF. The Likud quickly deserted the traditional defensive posture, of which Begin was highly critical in the first three decades of Israel when Herut was in opposition. The government adopted an offensive posture characterized by declared expansionist goals,34 extensive and frequent use of Israel's military machine, and political compellence rather than military deterrence as a controlling factor.35 The final objective of the leading figures in Begin's second government was to create a new, Israeli-dominated order in the Middle East, an order that would have as one of its elements nominal autonomy for the West Bank Palestinians. For the purpose of shaping the new order, the Likud was willing to shift from a position of deterrence and prevention, which characterized Labor's defense policy, to a position of compellence and control. The position became one which utilized warfare for purely political goals.36

Although some leaders of the Labor governments (1967-77) were accused of stubbornness and reluctance to explore all alternatives for a regional peace,37 Labor carefully avoided the unilateral introduction of long-term changes in the regional status quo. With the exception of Jerusalem, on which there was a national consensus (almost unanimity), no legal action was taken to annex Arab territories. The Likud, on the other hand, did everything in its power to impose unilateral revisions in the legal status of Jerusalem, the West Bank and Gaza, Lebanon and the Golan Heights. It often did so by using crude force, as in launching the attack on Lebanon. Power politics came to replace diplomacy, and Israel's foreign policy became growingly militaristic until Begin's resignation. This change in the character of Israel's foreign policy was enthusiastically supported by rightwing writers—opinion makers who, in fact, helped to bring it about. Wrote Zvi Shiloah, a former Laborite turned annexationist:

Just as France emerged from its hundred-year war with England strong, fortified, united and large, so would Israel come out of her hundred-year war strong, fortified. united and large. Then there will be peace. . . . The real peace between Israel and the Arabs will be signed in Baghdad.38

For Shiloah and his associates, but also for Begin and his lieutenants, war had become an acceptable tool for the achievements of their nationalistic, ideologically determined goals. While in the past Israel had fought in response to massive Arab attacks (1948, 1969-70, 1973) or within the contexts of preventive (1956) or preemptive (1967) war,39 the Begin government, especially the second one, initiated a major war for the purpose of attaining purely political objectives.40 While prior Israeli governments saw war as a means of last resort, Begin's second government perceived war as an instrument of political objectives over which there was deep disagreement within the Israeli public. General (Ret.) Benny Peled of the Israeli Air Force often expressed publicly the view that "Israel must determine her political objectives according to her military capabilities, define her desired borders and attain them through her army." 41 Begin shared Peled's prescription: he defined the desired borders and then used the IDF to attain them.

Since the concepts of Greater Israel and that of regional peace proved incompatible, the Begin government found it necessary to use Israel's military might beyond the boundaries of western Palestine. A new concept of Israel and its role in its immediate region had emerged and actually acted upon Israel as a regional superpower. Begin, and particularly Defense Minister Sharon, perceived Israel as having not only immediate defensive needs but far-reaching territorial and political objectives. They both worked to establish a large regional sphere of influence that would enable Israel to maintain political control over the internal affairs of its neighbors. This policy rested not only on an attempt to maintain an overwhelming conventional superiority but also monopoly over nuclear weapons.42

The new policy relied on the sharp increase of the size of Israel's standing army. In 1973 the IDF's regular force numbered merely 70,000 troops; by 1982 it had increased to 170,000 troops,43 enabling the government to order the invasion of Lebanon without the immediate use of the reserve force. The use of the IDF beyond deterrence and prevention was much easier under these circumstances, and in 1982, with a new political elite in control, the willingness to use the IDF beyond deterrence and prevention became a dominant factor in determining the country's regional policy.44

As a seasoned politician, Menachem Begin was reluctant to reveal the full scope of his new regional policy. Yet others on the Right wrote and spoke about it more candidly. Ariel Sharon, who was in charge of implementing the new regional policy, serving as Begin's second defense minister (1981-83), prepared in December 1981 a lecture for a symposium sponsored by the Jaffe Institute for Strategic Studies at Tel Aviv University. In his lecture he presented his strategic thinking which reflected, at least partially, that of the prime minister. Sharon argued45 that Israel has strategic interest in three circles: the confrontation states (toward which the defense minister had clear-cut plans: an attack on Lebanon, designed to create a new political order there; an assault on the Syrian forces in Lebanon; and the overthrow of the monarchy in Jordan, etc.); the outer Arab states; and other outer states that by their political status and orientation could dangerously influence Israel's national security. Sharon's geostrategic scope was quite broad:

We must broaden the domain of our strategic and security interests beyond that of the Middle Eastern states and the Red Sea, so that in the 1980s this domain will include such states as Turkey, Iran and Pakistan, and regions such as the Persian Gulf and Africa, particularly northern and central Africa.46

Sharon's ideas reflected the thinking of a growing number of Rightwing Israeli writers. Thus, Oded Yinon, a journalist and a former employee of Israel's Foreign Ministry, wrote in 1982 that Israel ought to encourage the dissolution of Egypt, Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, and the states of the Persian Gulf area.47 The primary goal of Israel's policy should be the creation of many weak, ethnic mini-states in the Middle East: four in Syria, three in Iraq, at least two in Egypt, etc. The Yinon article was an authentic mirror of the thinking mode of the Israeli Right at the height of Begin's rule; it reflected a sense of unlimited and unrestrained power. Yinon recommended the reconquest of the Sinai, the toppling of the Jordanian monarchy, and similar actions.

There can be no question that the hard core neo-Revisionist camp as a whole subscribed, at least until the Lebanese fiasco, to ideas similar to those of Yinon. Dan von Wiesel, for example, proposed immediately following the 1967 war that Israel's foreign policy should be extended far beyond the state's immediate borders.48 Hanan Porat, one of Gush Emunim's most sophisticated leaders, explained his views on Israel's long-term policy in the region:

For the time being, Judea and Samaria are all we can handle; but we believe that one day the Jews will have the entire land [that is, also the east bank of the Jordan River], just as the temple will be rebuilt. If we create a real Jewish state worthy of the name, the Arabs will be glad to join us.49

On the whole, Likud's regional policy rested on a few sources: geostrategic analysis, which emphasized raw force as a tool for reshaping the map of the Middle East, as reflected in Sharon's and Yinon's articles; the messianic zest of Gush Emunin and its associates, as reflected in Porat's ideas; and growing hatred in right-wing circles toward Arabs in general—an irrational force of great importance that enabled Prime Minister Begin to take any anti-Arab action with virtual impunity. This irrational, overwhelming hatred was expressed, for example, by General Dr. Aharon Davidi:

The Arabs deserve the hatred of the entire world and the united action of the entire civilized world against them—a vigorous and extreme action. . . . The Arabs want only to enrich themselves, so that they can control the entire world. They, the Arabs, do not contribute a thing to the world. They are unproductive people, the least productive people in the entire world. They sell petroleum in which they did not invest even one cent. They choke the world . . . they merely steal from the world economy.50

Begin's political genius was that he knew how to crystallize the geostrategic ideas, the messianic zest, and the irrational hatred into a coherent whole—a purposeful regional policy. Although this policy finally collapsed under its own weight—being unrealistic it could not have succeeded, and being inhumane it led to powerful opposition in the IDF and in the nation—for a few years the prime minister was able to ride on the forces of his political ability.

The regional policy of Menachem Begin should be primarily assessed by examining his actions rather than his words. Nevertheless, while in office Begin often discussed his foreign policy publicly, allowing the analyst a rare look into his thinking. Such insight into Begin's overall position can be gained by studying one of his last public speeches, a speech given in the midst of the Lebanon war in Israel's National Security College.51 In this speech, Begin dealt with the conditions under which a nation should go to war:

On the basis of international relations and our own national experience, it is clear that a state does not have to go to war only when there is no other choice. . . . On the contrary, a free, sovereign, war-hating, peace-loving, security-oriented nation must create the conditions under which a war, if required, will not be without a choice.52

An examination of what Begin said indicates that the prime minister saw war as a legitimate act to be taken for purely political reasons, not only in self-defense. When there is "no other choice," the conditions justify self-defense; Begin, however, argued for additional reasons for the use of violence, and was willing to use military might rather extensively to achieve a large number of political goals. All indications are that Begin, in carrying his policy. was supported by his foreign minister, Yitzhak Shamir.

The Future

Both Israeli internal politics and the international system in the Middle East are volatile, unstable, and dynamic systems. It is, therefore, extremely difficult to predict with any measure of confidence what Shamir as Israel's prime minister may or may not do in response to various specific situations, or what concrete initiatives he will take. Numerous scenarios are possible. While it is impossible, however, to speculate about what the Shamir government may do in specific situations, it is possible and useful to determine its general attitude and operational style. The past is one of the guides, if not the only one, to what the repertoire of reactions might be, as is some knowledge of Shamir's personality, and the character of his government, etc.

Considering that Yitzhak Shamir has served as Israel's prime minister (albeit for a brief time), foreign minister, and speaker of the Knesset, there is surprisingly little known about him. Yet, we know that this man has been in the far-right of Jewish and Israeli politics since the early 1940s, and that he was a member of the leading troika of Lechi (the underground organization known also as the Stern Gang) in the pre-State days. Lechi was clearly the most radical of all Jewish groups, including Begin's Irgun. Thus, in the pre-State era it carried out the murder of the British envoy to Cairo, Lord Moyne, and following the establishment of Israel it was implicated in the assassination of Count Folke Bernadotte, the UN mediator. Three Lechi associates and sympathizers were even implicated in the assassination of Dr. Israel Kastner (in March 1957) for presumably cooperating with the Nazis.

Carrying the underground name "Michael," Shamir's main function within Lechi was administrative. While Dr. Israel Eldad (Scheibe) was the ideologue and Natan Yellin-Mor the political leader, Shamir focused on the execution of the organization's operations. Re was considered by those who knew him as extremely cautious but determined, opposed to people who act out of emotion, and very pragmatic. Shamir's nationalistic pragmatism in the 1980s—his ability to cooperate loyally with Labor—reflects his personal characteristics from the pre-State era.

The establishment of Israel found Lechi at a political dead-end. The organization had little popular following in the public. Shamir himself joined the Mossad, Israel's intelligence agency, when the State of Israel came into being. Only years later, in 1965, he returned to active political life, joining Begin's Herut.

In Herut, Shamir was considered a superhawk. A few facts will suffice:

1. As speaker of the Knesset, he opposed the Camp David accords and the peace treaty with Egypt (and voted against both), defying Herut's leader, Menachem Begin.

2. As Begin's foreign minister, he was an enthusiastic supporter of not only the settlement effort on the West Bank but also of other controversial moves, including the Golan annexation, the attack on Osiraq, and the Lebanon war; he was by far Israel's most hawkish foreign minister. The Kahan Commission, which investigated the Sabra and Shatila massacres criticized Shamir in stronger terms than any other member of the government but Sharon; although he knew about the massacre while it was in progress, he did not take any action to stop it.

3. As a prime minister (1983-84). he was neutralized to a large extent due to his short period in office and that he came to office following the Lebanese fiasco which discredited the hawkish line.

The personal information regarding Shamir indicates a strong nationalist position, total loyalty to the concept of greater Israel, and readiness to use force for far-reaching goals (such as the ones promoted by Begin's second government). At the same time, the special constitution of the NUG ["National Unity Goverment"—web ed.] imposes on Shamir some important limitations: his defense minister is Yitzhak Rabin and his foreign minister is Shimon Peres, both Labor leaders. Personally they have the capability of neutralizing Shamir's initiatives, particularly when they act in unison. Moreover, important issues must be brought to the evenly-split ten-member inner cabinet or the evenly-split, larger NUG and Shamir must respect the commitment of the government not to apply Israeli sovereignty to the occupied areas, and to establish new settlements only on the basis of governmental majority.53 Peres' commitment to King Hassan of Morocco that prior to his departure from the prime minister's office the question of West Bank sovereignty will be decided by negotiations only further limits Shamir's inclination to act unilaterally. Shamir's policies, therefore, must be determined, on the whole, by a balance between a life-long commitment to certain ideological concepts, and the realities of the international and domestic environments.

On the whole, the political situation at the moment fits almost ideally Likud's goals and Shamir's personality and modus operandi. The Likud is determined never to depart from the occupied territories but, at the same time, is aware of the impossibility of annexing them to Israel, both demographically and politically. The deep freeze in the diplomatic front, in what became known over the last twenty years as the "peace process," does not force Likud to make the hard choice between its ideological commitment to greater Israel and its practical realization that annexation is not in the cards.

Shamir's personality goes hand in hand with this diplomatic stalemate. Ideologically he favors the status quo of Israeli control of the West Bank, the Gaza Strip, and the Golan Heights, but the conditions are such that he does not have to take a public, open, controversial action to effect the continuation of the occupation. As a man opposed to grand gestures and shocking initiatives, Shamir is an almost ideal prime minister for a policy based on creeping annexation, political agreement based on the lowest common denominator, practical considerations, and stability.

In view of these conditions, we are likely to see on the part of Shamir, at least till the next elections in Israel (late in 1988), a policy which will be., on the face of it, non-ideological, but in fact based on some of the principles of neo-revisionism, particularly insofar as the main aim of territorial expansion is concerned. Yet, in contrast with Begin, Shamir will push for the eventual incorporation of the West Bank into Israel in a moderate, balanced, non-public manner. Only a major Middle Eastern war or a dramatic change in the American policy in the area will lead to a revision in the policy of the National Unity Government under Yitzhak Shamir.

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About the Author

ILAN PELEG is Head of the Department of Government and Law at Lafayette College in Easton, Pennsylvania, and Research Fellow of the Middle East Research Institute at the University of Pennsylvania. He is now completing a book on the Foreign Policy of Menachem Begin, and is the author of numerous articles.


1. Such as in Yitzhak Shamir, "Israel's Role in a Changing Middle East," Foreign Affairs 60, no.4 (Spring 1982); 789-801. It is also to be noted that Shamir opposed the Camp David accords and generally represented, as in the case of the Lebanon war, a radical right-wing line.

2. Notably Ariel (Arik) Sharon, Moshe Arens, and David Levy. Of these three, Sharon's position has received more attention than that of the other two, the speculation being that the former general and defense minister is thinking, operationally, of a new order in the Middle East that would include a dominant Israeli influence over Lebanon, and the Palestinization of the Jordanian regime, etc. See for example, Yoram Peri, "Coexistence or Hegemony? Shifts in the Israeli Security Concept," in The Roots of Begin's Success, edited by Dan Caspi, Abraham Diskin, and Emanuel Gutmann (London: Croom Helm; New York: St. Martin's Press, 1984), 191-215. And a collection of articles, Milchemet Breira [War by Choice], (Tel Aviv; Kibbutz Hameuhad, 1985).

3. For a different interpretation, see Rael Jean Isaac, Party and Politics in Israel: Three Visions of a Jewish State (New York: Longman, 1981), 13. Dr. Isaac seems to suggest that at Camp David, Herut's leader, Menachem Begin, compromised his movement's ideological stance, an interpretation which I do not accept. See Ilan Peleg, "Jabotinsky's Legacy and Begin's Foreign Policy," Reconstructionist 39, no. 1 (October 1983); 9-14; and Ilan Peleg, Begin's Foreign Policy, 1977-1983: Israel's Move to the Right (Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press, 1987).

4. For a sympathetic view of Jabotinsky's ideology see Beinesh Epstein, "Riffs in Zionism," American Zionist 70, no. 3 (April-May 1980); 20-23; Joseph Schechtman, Fighter and Prophet: The Vladimir Jabotinsky Story (New York: Thomas Yoseloff, 1961). For a critical view see Shlomo Avineri, The Making of Modem Zionism: Intellectual Origins of the Jewish State (New York: Basic Books, 1981); and Walter Laqueur, A History of Zionism (New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 1972); as well as Ilan Peleg, Begin's Foreign Policy, 1977-1983 (Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press, 1987), ch. 1.

5. Given to simplistic formulations, Jabotinsky summarized in 1924 the Zionist claims in an article titled "Political Offense" and appearing in his paper, Rasswyet:

The goal of Zionism—a Jewish state;
The territory of the state—both sides of the Jordan;
The method—mass colonization.

6. In order to gain membership in Jabotinsky's New Zionist Organization, a candidate had to take a formal vow supporting the principle of shlemut hamoledet, the right of the Jewish people to Eretz Israel (Palestine) in its entirety.

7. Erich and Rael Jean Isaac, "The Impact of Jabotinsky on Likud's Policies," Middle East Review 10, no. 1 (1977); 12-18.

8. Menachem Begin, "Concepts and Problems in Foreign Policy," (in Hebrew) Hauma 16 (March 1966); 488.

9. Arie Naor, "From Autonomy to Confederation," (in Hebrew) Gesher 106, no. 1 (Winter 1982); 13-18; and more recently Arie Naor, Mernshala Bemilhama [Cabinet at War: The Functioning of the Israeli Cabinet During the Lebanon War] (Tel Aviv: Lahav, 1982), 29-30. According to Naor's book (p. 30), Begin committed himself public1y, in a speech, not to conquer Jordan. But, says Naor, this should not be taken as renunciation of Jewish rights for Transjordan. See also the maps of "Sharon's Conception" and "Begin's Plan" in Ahron Kleiman, Unpeaceful Coexistence: Israel, Jordan and the Palestinians (Tel Aviv: Sifriat Maariv, 1986), 216-17, according to which Begin recognizes the existence of Jordan while Sharon does not.

10. See, for example, Zvi Shiloah, Eretz Gdola Leam Godol: sipuro shel maamin [A Great Land for a Great Nation: The Story of a Believer] (Tel Aviv: Otpaz, 1970), 109-11. Although Shiloah was not a Revisionist—he was actually raised within a youth movement associated with MAPAI (Gordonia)—his writings since 1967 reflect a profound neo-Revisionist prism.

11. See Zvi Raanan, Gush Emunim (Tel Aviv: Sifriat Poalim, 1980) (Hebrew); Danny Rubinstein, Mi Leadony Eli: Gush Emunim [On the Lord's Side] (Tel Aviv: Kibutz Mehuad, 1981) (Hebrew); Kevin A. Avruch, "Traditionalizing Israeli Nationalism: The Development of Gush Emunim," Political Psychology 1 (Spring 1979); 47-57; and Myron J. Aronoff, "Gush Emunim: The Institutionalization of a Charismatic, Messianic, Religious-Political Revitalization Movement in Israel," in Political Authority, Vol. III, Religion and Politics, edited by Myron J. Aronoff (New Brunswick, N.J.: Transaction, 1984), 63-84. The most authentic reflection of this view is to be found in the settlers paper, Neguda. 1980-present. See also Danny Rubinstein and Ilan Peleg, "Gush Emunim."

12. For an alternative view, see Arie Shalev, Kav Haganah Beyehuda Ubshomron [The West Bank: Line of Defense] (Tel Aviv: Kibutz Meuhad, 1982); and Ilan Peleg, "Solutions to the Palestinian Question: Israel's Security Dilemma," Comparative Strategy 4, no. 3 (1984); 249-71.

13. Jay Gonen, A Psychology of Zionism (New York; Mason/Charter, 1975), ch. 3, maintains that Zionism in general suffers from the problem of "a rapid transition from inferiority to overcompensation." I believe it is most typical of neo-revisionism. See Peleg, Begin's Foreign Policy, ch. 3.

14. Once again, neo-Revisionists ideas are not necessarily limited to Jabotinsky's disciples or Begin's associates; they had affected the Israeli public in a profound manner and spread in different circles. Thus, Dr. Yaacov Herzog, son of a former chief rabbi and an adviser to Israeli prime ministers, wrote a book (Am Levadad Yishkon [People who Dwell Alone] [Tel Aviv: Sifriat Maariv, 1975]) which reflects the idea of the rejection of normalcy. Writes Herzog:

We are not normal people, we are not free from the Galut [Diaspora] burden and we are not accepted by the world . . . . Political [Herzl's] Zionism maintained that the concept of "people who dwell alone" is, in fact, an abnormal condition. In reality, the concept of "people who dwell alone" is the natural condition of the Jewish people. (pp. 58-59)

15. The Gilad is a region east of the Jordan River. Begin published his declaration in Herut, the IZL paper, in May 1948 and later in an edited volume on the underground.

16. There is growing evidence suggesting that Ben-Gurion did not want to take over the area, fully understanding that such an action would forever make an Arab-Israeli peace impossible.

17. Uri Bialer, "David Ben-Gurion and Moshe Sharett: the crystallization of two political-military orientations in the Israeli society," Medinah Umimshal [State and Government] 1, no. 2 (Fall 1977): 71-84.

18. Yehoshafat Harkabi, Arab Strategies and Israel's Response (New York: Free Press, 1977), 127-51.

19. Begin, Hauma (1966): 464. Emphasis added.

20. Ibid., 465. Emphasis added.

21. Howard M. Sachar, A History of Israel: From the Rise of Zionism to Our Time (New York: Alfred A Knopf, 1979), 372.

22. Mordechai Virshubsky, M. K., interview with author, 11 July 1985.

23. Uzi Benziman, Rosh Mermshala Bematzor [A Prime Minister Under Siege] (Jerusalem: Adam Publishers, 1981) (Hebrew): William Quandt, Camp David. Peacemaking and Politics (Washington, D.C.: Brookings Institution, 1986), 113.

24. In a personal interview with the author August 8, 1985, Abba Eban said "Begin managed the autonomy talks so that nothing could be possibly achieved. The first sign was the appointment of [Interior Minister] Burg to conduct the talks. Begin was afraid to allow Dayan or Weizman to be in charge, lest something will move."

25. Meron Benvenisti, The West Bank Data Project: A Survey of Israeli's Policies (Washington, D.C.: American Enterprise Institute, 1984), 35. A dunam is one-fourth of an acre. According to some sources, 800,000 dunams were taken by the 1984 elections (see a series of articles in Haaretz under the title, "The Great Land Robbery," September-October 1985).

26. Thus, despite the urging of Foreign Minister Allon, Prime Minister Rabin refused to allow deep Israeli interference in Lebanese internal affairs. See Zeev Schiff and Elud Yaari, Israel's Lebanon War (New York: Simon and Shuster, 1984), ch. 3.

27. Amos Elon, in Haaretz, 26 November 1982.

28. Haaretz, 9 July 1982.

29. See Arie Avneri, Hamaaluma [The Blow] (Tel Aviv: Revivim, 1983) (Hebrew). Avneri's book deals With the air war in Lebanon.

30. Ibid.

31. Yoram Peri, "From Coexistence to Hegemony," Davar, 1 October 1982.

32. In fact, writers on the Right often complained that Israel never had clear territorial goals in launching wars. In the 1950-1960s Begin accused the Ben-Gurion government of purposely not taking the West Bank in 1948, an accusation that was, possibly, valid.

33. Thus, despite its complete control of the air in 1967, Israel refrained from massive attacks on Arab cities: compare this restraint with the bombardment of Lebanese cities in 1982 (and also the attack on Beirut in 1981).

34. These goals were often expressed by writers on the Right, but government officials, including Defense Minister Sharon and even Prime Minister Begin, did not conceal their expansionist goals either.

35. For the distinction between deterrence and compellence see John Merril1 and Ilan Peleg, "Nuclear Compellence: The Political Use of the Bomb." Crossroads 11 (1984): 19-39.

36. See Zvi Lanir, "The Political and Military Objectives in Israel's Wars," in War By Choice (Tel Aviv: Kibutz Meuhad, 1985), 117-56.

37. Such accusations were leveled, for example, at the late Prime Minister Golda Meir.

38. Zvi Shiloah, "The Mission of Greater Israel in the Ancient Land," in The Greater Israel Book, edited by Aaron Ben-Ami (Tel Aviv: Greater Israel Movement and Sh. Freedman, 1977), 213-26; quote is on 225-26.

39. For the distinction between these types, see Walter Jones, The Logic of International Relations, 5th ed. (Boston: Little, Brown, 1985), ch. 7.

40. Yoram Peri, "Coexistence or Hegemony? Shifts in the Israeli Security Concept," in The Roots of Begin's Success, edited by Dan Caspi, Abraham Diskin and Emanuel Gutmann (London: Croom Helm; New York: St. Martln's Press, 1984), 191-215; Amos Perlmutter,.Begin's Rhetoric and Sharon's Tactics," Foreign Affairs 61 (Fall 1982): 67-83.

41. Quoted in Peri, "Coexistence or Hegemony?" in Roots of Begin's Success, 203.

42. Following the attack on Osiraq, both Begin and Sharon made declarations to that effect.

43. Yediot Ahronot, 5 January 1983.

44. Dan Horowitz, "The Constant and Changing in Israel's Security Perception," in War By Choice, pp. 57-115; quote is on p. 60.

45. For the text see the appendix to War By Choice, 157-63. While the lecture was never delivered, because of other obligations of the defense minister, the text is available.

46. Ibid. Emphasis added.

47. Oded Yinon, "A Strategy for Israel in the 1980s," Kivunim 14 (February 1982): 49-59; the Wall Street Journal reported on Yinon's remarkable piece on 8 December 1982, p. 34. [please see "Arabs Upset by Israeli Magazine Article Backing Exploitation of Moslem Schisms" by David Ignatius—web editor]

48. Dan von Weisel, Hauma 27 (January 1969): 329-39.

49. Hanan Porat, interview, Jerusalem Post, 27 March 1983.

50. Aharon Davidi, "Israel's War Aims," in Greater Israel Book. edited by Ben-Ami, 199-203 (quote is from 199-200); see also, in the same volume: Eliyahu Amikam, "Palestine was Born in Basle and Buried in Lebanon," 335-39; Yedidyah Be'ert, "The Greatest Lie in History," 340-44.

51. The speech was published in Ma'ariv and Yediot Ahronot on 20 August 1982, and analyzed by Aharon Yartv, "A War by Choice or No Choice?" in War By Choice, pp. 9-29.

52. Ibid.

53. For the agreement forming the National Unity Government see Jerusalem Post, 12 September 1984.

Table of Contents


The Ideological Imperative

Herut's Foreign Policy, 1947-1977

Likud's New Regional Order

The Future


About the Author

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