Trial and Error
ebook ∣ Israel's Route from War to De-Escalation · SUNY Series in Israeli Studies
By Yagil Levy
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Trial and Error offers a unique exploration of the link between Israel's military policies and its ethno-class relations of power that has theoretical implications elsewhere. The book denounces the commonly accepted view that Israel's military policies were crafted merely as a direct and inevitable response to neighboring Arab states' hostility. Instead, Yagil Levy shows that Israel's security interests were also determined by the social interests of a rising middle class comprised of Jews of European descent. Because of the protracted state of war, this class achieved dominant status over other groups. As a result, a strong link was created between increasing inegalitarianism in Israeli society and missed opportunities to adopt more moderate foreign policies at crucial crossroads up to the 1980s. Paradoxically, however, as war benefits elevated the consumerist lifestyle of the middle class, the burden of war became less appealing to it. Levy argues that this and other social constraints, along with limitations imposed by the international system, played a focal role in channeling Israel's policies toward the 1990s' peace process.