By Ami Ayalon
Since the birth of Zionism in the 19th century, and from the moment this ideology first took effect, Israel has been at war. War is an all-consuming experience for any society, and it is what shapes our identity as Israelis. War is the lens through which we see the world, and through which we frame our past and present realities. War is the measure by which leaders are elected, children raised, and national priorities decided.
Security & Defense
The constant state of war also drives the most painful conflicts within Israeli society. Pressing questions such as what is morally acceptable in war, who bears the burden of fighting, how various parts of society should conduct themselves in wartime, and what are the economic repercussions of war are topmost in the national debate. That is why to understand Israel from the outside, one must look at reality through our eyes. First, it is important to understand that Israeli discourse does not make the crucial distinction between security and defense. Unlike other countries, which mostly have a Ministry of Defense to deal with international threats, Israel has a Ministry of Security (Misrad HaBitahon in Hebrew).
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