Memo to Winograd: Updating Israel’s National Security Strategy

Part of the Winograd Committee's conclusions should focus on Israel’s National Security Strategy and recommend to the Government of Israel that it establish a committee that will update the Strategy.

The Second Lebanon War is only one of three political and military upsets that Israel experienced in 2006. The others are the shelving of the Convergence Plan in the West Bank in spite of its being the political flagship of the current government, and the ongoing failure in Gaza although Israel enjoys absolute military superiority. These events are systemically interrelated. Their common denominator is that they derive from a crisis in Israel's national security strategy.

These events, and primarily the Second Lebanon War, revealed trends, which undermine Israel's national security strategy. Some of these trends are: the consolidation of a 'Resistance Network' led by Iran, Hizbullah and the Palestinian resistance groups, that effectively undermines any sustainable political or military achievement that would secure Israel's existence as a Jewish and democratic state; decline of US power in the region and the challenge to the legitimacy of the pro-Israel lobby in the US; the rise of Iran; and the erosion in the ability or will of the Arab side to fulfill its part in ending Israeli control over the Palestinian population in the West Bank.

These trends place Israel in strategic inferiority on the level of its national security. Concepts, institutions and tools that Israel uses in the service of its national goals are exposed as inferior to the tools used by the Resistance Network in the service of its logic. Therefore, in the intermediate term, Israel is likely to experience additional military and political setbacks.

In the long-term, if the trends exposed in the Second Lebanon War persist, the idea of a single Arab / Palestinian / Islamic state in place of the State of Israel and under Iranian Hegemony may mature into a valid political alternative.

The impact of the Second Lebanon War extends far beyond our northern border. Among other things, the war compromised Israel's ability to secure its future as a Jewish and democratic state by means of ending control over the Palestinian population and establishing a Palestinian state within the Two-State Solution.

The purpose of this document is to point to trends which undermine Israel's national security strategy and to engage in a discussion of their significance. Inter alia, these trends indicate the shifting of the center of gravity of our national security challenges from the military and security realm to the political realm.

The Reut Institute calls upon the Winograd Committee to dedicate part of its report to Israel's national security strategy and to recommend to the Government of Israel to establish a committee that will update the strategy, translate it into policy substantiated by political, economic and military resources, and supervise its implementation.