THE ISRAELI ARMY by Edward & Dan Horowitz Luttwak


Email this review


This book is bound to become a standard reference since no comparable survey exists. It is written in an unusually agreeable style, and conveys a tone of objectivity. However, the authors are decidedly pro-Israel, and their survey does not include such matters as the Dayan generation's initiation into warfare by helping the British put down Arab peasant revolts, or the prevalent charges of Army atrocities after the 1967 war. And, unlike Shimon Peres' David's Sling (1971), the book does not touch on the intrigues of arms procurement. However, as a study of the sociology of the army and the fortunes of battle, it is highly engrossing. The authors specify the Liddell Hart principle of flexible surprise and disruption as a key to Israeli successes--though Ben-Gurion and Dayan tended to be more head-on cowboy-and-Indian fighters. The usual glorification of the democratic character of the Israeli Army is given flesh in terms of the officer training system, with its rotation, its ""optional control"" approach requiring lower-level initiatives, and its commitment to a low casualty level in the ranks. Specialists will be particularly eager to receive the book's evaluation of the Yom Kippur War failures in 1973; Horowitz and Luttwak insist that the setbacks of Israeli armored divisions by the Soviets' triumphant anti-tank weapons need not mean that Panzers are outmoded, They indicate that since 1973 there has been a drastic reorganization of the Army, but give no specifics; interestingly, in the wake of the 1967 victory of the Six Day War, there was also an extensive shakeup. A valuable source, controversial in particulars, of course, and subject to the warp of chauvinism, but sophisticated and accessible.

Pub Date: June 4th, 1975
Publisher: Harper & Row