As Israel reels from the worst terrorist attack in its history, some observers and many Israelis feel shocked given the vaunted reputation of the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF). Israel has long been considered a military superpower. In their new book, The Art of Military Innovation: Lessons from the Israel Defense Forces, Edward Luttwak and Eitan Shamir explain that Israel must be more than tough to survive. It must be smart as well.
This is not, the authors note, a history of the Israeli army, nor a history of Israel’s wars. Rather, it is the “record of an investigation that started with a simple question: why is it that the relatively small, relatively poor Israeli armed forces have long been exceptionally innovative.” Luttwak, an esteemed military historian and famed contrarian, offers an original analysis of the IDF. Shamir, the former Head of National Security Doctrine at the Israeli Office of Strategic Affairs, brings a deep familiarity with the bureaucracy that girds Israeli defense. Together, the two scholars provide a concise and cogent look at what makes the IDF different from other militaries.
Part of the answer can be traced back to the unusual circumstances surrounding Israel’s founding.
(Read the rest of CAMERA’s review of Eitan Shamir and Edward Luttwak’s new book at the Washington Examiner magazine)