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Two new books lament the outsized role of the military in Israeli national security decisionmaking, blaming the generals for favoring force over diplomacy. But the military has sometimes been a force for peace and moderation, and in truth the persistence of the Arab-Israeli conflict is the result of far more than just Israel's bureaucratic politics.
The popular revolt against Hosni Mubarak in Egypt has made many Israelis uneasy. But could the Egyptian crisis in fact offer the Israeli government a new opportunity for regional diplomacy?
This article appears in the Foreign Affairs/CFR eBook, The New Arab Revolt.
An annotated Foreign Affairs syllabus on Israeli politics.
Benn's update to his May/June 2002 essay "The Last of the Patriarchs"
Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon faces disaster on two fronts: ongoing unrest from the Palestinians on one side and a disintegrating domestic coalition on the other. Seemingly paralyzed, Sharon has not responded well to either. So far, Israelis have remained mostly loyal to the former general, and Washington has stayed largely supportive. Both those situations could change, however, unless Sharon comes up with a plan. He may already have one in mind, but not one anyone else is hoping for.