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Israel’s Foreign Policy – Aims (2016)

Contributor(s): Uri Bialer, Emeritus Professor of International Relations at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem; Visiting Professor at the Schusterman Center for Israel Studies, Brandeis University
Topics(s): International Relations, Politics
Date: May 1, 2016

This SIIS faculty syllabus provides a in-depth look at the history and development of Israel’s foreign policy goals and addresses a number of critical issues, including: the Arab-Israeli conflict, migration, terrorism, nuclear policy, and its relation to the Middle East.


Essential Reading

Scott Buchill, International Relations National Interest Theory, Introduction

Aharon Klieman “Zionist Diplomacy and Israeli Foreign Policy” Jerusalem Quarterly, Vol. 11 (1979), pp. 93-111.


Avraham Sela

The Decline of the Arab-Israeli Conflict: Middle East Politics and the Quest for Regional Order, Chs. 1-2

(Albany: SUNY Press, 1998)

ISBN/ISSN: 0791435385


A. KliemanIsrael & the World after 40 Years(New York: Pergamon-Brassey’s, 1990)Chapter 5: Policy Making

Uri Bialer, “Top Hat, Tuxedo and Cannons: Israeli Foreign Policy from 1948 to 1956 as a Field of Study”, Israel Studies, Vol. 7:1, (2002), pp. 1-80

Efraim Inbar, “Jews, Jewishness and Israel’s Foreign Policy”, Jewish Political Studies Review, Vol. 2, (1990), pp.165-183

Shabtai Rosenne , “Israel and the U.N: Changed Perspectives 1945-1976”, American Jewish Year Book, (1978), pp. 3-59

Nadav Morag, “Water, Geopolitics and State Building: The Case of Israel”, Middle Eastern Studies, Vol. 37:3, (July, 2001) pp. 179-198

Uri Bialer, “Fuel Bridge across the Middle East: Israel, Iran and the Eilat-Ashkelon Oil Pipeline”, Israel Studies, Vol. 12: III, (2007), pp. 29-67

Zach Levey, “Israeli Foreign Policy and the Arms Race in the Middle East, 1950-1960”, The Journal of Strategic Studies, Vol. 24:1, (2001), pp. 29-48


Dan Horowitz

“The Israeli Concept of National Security”, in A.Yaniv (ed.) National Security and Democracy in Israel pp.11-54.

(Boulder, CO: Lynne Rienner Publishers 1993)

ISBN/ISSN: 1555873944


David Rodman , “Israel’s National Security Doctrine” , Meria Journal , Vol. 5:3, (Sept 2001)


Yoram Ben Porat (ed.)

The Israeli Economy: Maturing through Crises

(Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1986)

pp. 1-23, 173-191

ISBN/ISSN: 0674468783



Itamar Rabinovich

Waging Peace,

(Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2004)

pp. 1-37


Recommended Reading

Jehuda Reinhard“Zionism and the Great Powers: A Century of Foreign Policy” (New York, Leo Baeck Institute, 1994)ASIN: B0000CQTSY


Fred Halliday

The Middle East in International Relations: Power, Politics and Ideology pp. 97-164.

(Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2005)

ISBN/ISSN: 0521592402


Shlomo Avineri, “Ideology and Israel’s Foreign Policy”, Jerusalem Quarterly,Vol. 37, (1986), pp. 3-13

Arye Naor, “Hawks’ Beaks, Doves’ Feathers: Likud Prime Ministers between Ideology and Reality”, Israel Studies, Vol. 10:3, (2005), pp. 154-191

Michael Brecher, “Jerusalem: Israel’s Political Decisions, 1947, 1977”, Middle East Journal, Vol. 32, (1978), pp. 13-34


Benjamin Pinkus

“Israel’s Activity on Behalf of Soviet Jews” in Selwyn Ilan Troen and Benjamin Pinkus (eds.) Organizing Rescue: Jewish National Solidarity in the Modern Period

(London: Routledge, 1992) ISBN/ISSN: 0714634131


Michael Laskier, “Jewish Emigration from Morocco to Israel: Government Policies and the Position of International Jewish Organizations, 1949-1956”, Middle Eastern Studies, Vol. 25:3, (1989), pp. 323-362

Gabi Sheffer, “The Elusive Question: Jews and Jewry in Israeli Foreign Policy”, Jerusalem Quarterly, Vol. 46, (1988), pp. 104-114.


Uri Bialer

“Israel and Nostra Aetate: The View from Jerusalem”

in A. Melloni and Y. Lamdan (eds.) Nostra Aetate: Origins, Promulgation, Impact on Jewish-Catholic Relationspp. 63-86(Munster, 2007)


David Tal, “Symbol not Substance? Israel’s Campaign to acquire Hawk Missiles, 1960-1962”, International History Review, Vol. 22:2, (June 2000) pp. 304-317.

Ariel Merari, “Israel Facing Terrorism”, Israel Affairs, Vol 11:1, (January, 2005), pp. 223-237

Uri Bar-Joseph, “Towards a Paradigm Shift in Israel’s National Security Conception”, Israel Affairs, Vol. 6:3-4, (1999), pp. 99-114

Zeev Maoz, “The Mixed Blessing of Israel’s Nuclear Policy”, International Security, Vol. 28:2,(2003), pp. 44-77


Eliezer Sheffer

“The Economic Burden of the Arms Race between the Confrontational States and Israel”, in Zvi Lanir (ed.) Israeli Security Planning in the 1980’s: Its Politics and Economics pp. 142-165 (Praeger, 1984)

ISBN/ISSN: 0275912094


Zeev Maoz

Defending the Holy Land

(Ann Arbor: The University of Chicago Press, 2006)

Ch. 10 ISBN/ISSN: 0472115405


Background Reading

Click here for extensive background reading on Setting and Aims: State-Building.