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The Sword And The Olive: A Critical History Of The Israeli Defense Force Kindle Edition
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About the Author
- ASIN : B004OA64IO
- Publisher : PublicAffairs; 1st edition (August 6, 2008)
- Publication date : August 6, 2008
- Language : English
- File size : 5056 KB
- Text-to-Speech : Enabled
- Screen Reader : Supported
- Enhanced typesetting : Enabled
- X-Ray : Not Enabled
- Word Wise : Enabled
- Print length : 450 pages
- Lending : Not Enabled
- Best Sellers Rank: #734,796 in Kindle Store (See Top 100 in Kindle Store)
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
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While the author tries to distance himself from post-Zionist historians, he strips quite a bit of myth and legend surrounding Israel's fighting forces himself. Take one of the earliest forms of Jewish self-defense in Palestine, Hashomer, the Watchman. We are told they lacked discipline, wore Arab garb, modeled themselves as Jewish Cossacks, and rode horsese, often letting style rule over substance. Van Crevald suggests that some Watchman may have been involved in protection rackets against their fellow Jews!
This is a fascinating book about a stateless people who build a state and an army from the ground up. Van Creveld details the good and ugly of this process – and all shades between.
Another aspect that is mentioned in the book is the situation of manpower within the IDF. In the first phase of it's history the IDF was a compact, highly trained, and motivated fighting force. But in the seventies and eighties the force became bloated and ineffective. The IDF accepted so many conscripts that all but the elite units were trained effectively.Van Crevled opionizes that the conscription of women has only made the problem worse. Van Creveld tells about how ill educated IDF officers are compared to their foreign counterparts. Unlike most Western nations the IDF has no formal service academy. Instead IDF officers had to prove their leadership ability while as an NCO and then go to officer training school. The attempt to introduce a defense university has only met with failure in Israeli history. In the eighties and nineties a vast majority of educated Israelis opted out of the IDF officer corps. But very ill educated but religious Israelis became a large percentage of the current Israeli officer corps. Van Creveld believes that these new religious officers pose a great threat to Israelis democracy. The only criticisms that I have with the book is that Van Creveld glosses over Israeli operations in the Golan Heights during the 1967 and 1973 wars. Other than these minor criticisms this is by far the best book about the history of the IDF.
My only complaint is that now, nearly twenty years on, the book is in sore need of an update. It's a good assessment of the IDF, both in its formation up to the late 90s, but a lot has happened in the past twenty years that needs further critiquing. Has Mr. Van Creveld's concerns about the IDF come to pass, or not, or are they still there, only growing?