Civil society versus military sovereignty: Cultural, political, and operational aspects

Udi Lebel

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

22 Scopus citations


From its inception and throughout the military sovereignty era, the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) were endowed with a religious status. In Israeli society, bereaved parents of fallen soldiers enjoyed a special relationship with the army, and their bereavement afforded them a unique place in the shaping of public opinion about security policy. However, as this paper shows, after the first Lebanon War (1982) cracks began to appear in this special union. From the early 1990s, bereaved parents supported by new social movements and a symbiosis of the judicial arena and the media challenged the security-defense-military arena and its policies of commemoration of the dead, treatment of soldiers, accident prevention, secrecy, and even appointments. Using the High Court and the media to directly influence defense and security policy, civil society succeeded in changing the IDF's tactics, the treatment of Palestinian detainees, and thus elevated human rights and international law over security considerations.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)67-89
Number of pages23
JournalArmed Forces and Society
Issue number1
StatePublished - Oct 2007
Externally publishedYes


  • Bereavement
  • Israel Defense Forces
  • Judicial-media arena
  • Military sovereignty
  • Security policy


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