The Sword and the Olive: A Critical History of the Israeli Defense Force


The Israeli Defense Force has long been one of the world's preeminent fighting forces, time and again capturing headlines by fighting -- often against great odds -- its Arab neighbors, and winning. How did the IDF become so formidable? Is it -- was it ever -- everything it's cracked up to be?

The Sword and the Olive traces the history of the IDF from its beginnings in Palestine to today, detailing its formidable accomplishments and demonstrating how its success has proved to be a double-edged sword for Israel. Combining razor-sharp analysis with dramatic narrative, vivid portraits of generals and infantrymen with illuminating discussions of battle tactics and covert actions, The Sword and the Olive goes beyond chronology to wrestle with the political and ethical struggles that have shaped the IDF and the country it serves. Often revisionist in attitude, and surprising in many of its conclusions, this book casts new tight on the struggle for peace in the Middle East.

Additional information

Publisher: Place of publication:
  • New York
Publication year:
  • 1998


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