Israeli Deterrence in the 1950s

This study looks at Israel’s reprisal policy from 1949-1956 using primary archival material and diaries from the major protagonists to evaluate the different schools of thought .

Using the Israeli-Jordanian border as a case-study, this dissertation raises the question to what extent Israel’s retaliation policy was successful in managing the low intensity conflict and explores to what extent other factors determined the increase and decrease of infiltration. It also examines the tension between two schools of Israeli thought, the activists led by Ben Gurion favouring ‘firmness as a key to acceptance,’ and the moderates led by Sharett who posited ‘empathy and firmness but without rigidity.’

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