Over the course of the past six decades, the reason for the existential threat to Israel has remained unchanged: The refusal of many, if not most, governments and peoples in the Middle East to accept the existence of the Jewish state. The nature of that threat, however, has undergone a dramatic evolution. In recent years, we have witnessed a shift from conventional warfare—that is, wars between armies and states—to “subconventional” warfare (such as terrorism and crude rockets) and superconventional warfare (such as missiles and weapons of mass destruction). Accompanying this change has been a profound political-ideological shift, from the prominence of nationalist-secular movements to that of religious-jihadist ideologies.
Lieutenant General (res.) Moshe Yaalon served as chief of staff of the Israel Defense Forces from 2002 to 2005. He is currently a distinguished fellow at the Adelson Institute for Strategic Studies at the Shalem Center. His last contribution to Azure was “The IDF and the Israeli Spirit” (Azure 24, Spring 2006).