Israel’s foremost analyst of civil-military relations identifies and investigates a dramatic shift of power within Israel’s political system. Where once the military was usually the servant of civilian politicians, today, argues Yoram Peri, generals lead the way when it comes to foreign and defense policymaking.

Generals in the Cabinet Room has been awarded the Lt. Col. Meir and Rachel Tshetshik Prize for Strategic Studies on Israel's Security by the Institute for National Security Studies at Tel Aviv University, March 2008.

In what is certain to become a landmark study, Israel’s foremost analyst of civil-military relations identifies and investigates a dramatic shift of power within Israel’s political system. Where once the military was usually the servant of civilian politicians, today, argues Yoram Peri, generals lead the way when it comes to foreign and defense policymaking. The implications for Israeli-Palestinian relations, for Israeli democracy, and indeed for other democracies are profound.

Generals in the Cabinet Room offers unparalleled insights into the workings of Israel’s military-political complex over the past fifteen years. Drawing on extensive literature (much of it in Hebrew and thus largely unknown outside of Israel) and hundreds of interviews with leading players, Peri explains how Israel’s prolonged experience of low-intensity conflict and political crisis has enabled the military establishment to acquire unprecedented influence, shaping Israeli policy toward the Oslo process and the al-Aqsa intifada.

Sophisticated, authoritative, and evenhanded, Generals in the Cabinet Room presents scholars and analysts with a new model of civil-military relations and a new depth of understanding of the Israeli case. At the same time, the volume’s fluid style, colorful anecdotes, and fascinating vignettes make it accessible to a general readership.

About the Author

Yoram Peri, a former senior fellow at the United States Institute of Peace, is head of the Chaim Herzog Institute for Media, Politics, and Society and professor of political sociology and communication at Tel Aviv University. He was a political advisor to Yitzhak Rabin, and has been editor-in-chief of the Israeli daily Davar. His books include Between Battles and Ballots, The Assassination of Yitzhak Rabin, and Telepopulism.


Related Publications

Gaza at the G7: The Daunting Divide between Rhetoric and Reality

Gaza at the G7: The Daunting Divide between Rhetoric and Reality

Thursday, June 20, 2024

The ongoing war in Gaza was only one of several items on the agenda for last week’s summit of leading Western economies, known as the Group of 7 (G7). But, given the global attention on Gaza and coming on the heels of the Biden administration’s most recent push to achieve a cease-fire — including sponsorship of a U.N. Security Council resolution toward that end — questions around the prospects for a negotiated pause in fighting and hostage agreement dominated the discussions.

Type: Analysis

Conflict Analysis & Prevention

Five Factors Shaping the Future of Egypt-Israel Relations

Five Factors Shaping the Future of Egypt-Israel Relations

Thursday, June 13, 2024

The Gaza war has strained Egyptian-Israeli relations to an unprecedented level and raised questions about the future of their 1979 peace treaty that has been a cornerstone of Arab-Israeli peace. U.S. officials met recently in Cairo with their Israeli and Egyptian counterparts against a backdrop of mutually diminishing confidence between the two parties, particularly following Israel’s ground offensive in Rafah. This comes on the heels of a shooting incident between Israeli and Egyptian forces that left at least one Egyptian soldier dead, and Egypt joining South Africa’s case against Israel at the International Court of Justice (ICJ). Along with Qatar, Egypt is a key broker in the current Israel-Hamas cease-fire efforts and engages in extensive security cooperation with the U.S. and Israel.

Type: Question and Answer

Conflict Analysis & Prevention

Iran’s Attack and the New Escalatory Cycle in the Middle East

Iran’s Attack and the New Escalatory Cycle in the Middle East

Tuesday, April 16, 2024

The Middle East is entering a new phase after unprecedented attacks by Israel and Iran during the first two weeks of April. Robin Wright, a senior fellow at USIP and the Woodrow Wilson Center who has covered the region for a half century, explores what happened, the strategic implications, the political context and the divided world reaction.

Type: Question and Answer

Conflict Analysis & Prevention

The Growing Flashpoints Between the U.S. and Iran

The Growing Flashpoints Between the U.S. and Iran

Wednesday, April 10, 2024

Tension between Washington and Tehran has been a growing undercurrent of the war in Gaza, even as both countries tried to prevent it from sparking a direct confrontation during the first six months of fighting. Robin Wright, a joint fellow at USIP and the Wilson Center, explores the evolving flashpoints in the world’s most volatile region as well as the challenges for U.S. diplomacy, the new triggers for a wider regional conflagration and the historical backdrop.

Type: Question and Answer

Conflict Analysis & Prevention

View All Publications