Center for Security and Democracy

The Center for Security and Democracy addresses what is perhaps the greatest challenge facing the State of Israel: how to preserve a free society under conditions of permanent siege.  Its mission is to assist decision-makers to craft a proper balance between competing values: the imperative of preserving Israel's national security on the one hand, and the need to protect human rights and civil liberties on the other. The center works on questions of national security and the law, civil-military relations, counterterrorism policy and Israel's international legitimacy in the struggle against terrorism.

  • Default Image

    Prof. Yuval Shany

    Vice President, Research

    Vice President, Research

    Read More

    Vice President of Research at the Center for Democratic Values and Institutions, and the Center for Security and Democracy

    Prof. Shany's research interests include; international courts, human rights, laws of war, cyberlaw, and legal aspects of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. He is former dean of the Faculty of Law at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, where he holds the Hersch Lauterpach Chair in International Public Law. In 2013, he became a member of the UN Human Rights Committee.​

  • Default Image

    Prof. Mordechai Kremnitzer

    Senior Fellow

    Read More

    Professor Kremnitzer is a professor emeritus of the Faculty of law at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, former dean of the Faculty of Law, and director of the Israeli Press Council.

  • Default Image

    Admiral (Res.) Amichay (Ami) Ayalon

    Co-director, Amnon Lipkin-Shahak Program on National Security and Democracy

    Read More

    Admiral (Res.) Ami Ayalon is a former director of the Shin Bet, commander of the Israeli Navy, government minister and member of Knesset.

  • Default Image

    Prof. Amichai Cohen

    Co-director, The Amnon Lipkin-Shahak Program on National Security and Democracy

    Read More

    Professor Amichai Cohen is a member of the Faculty of Law at Ono Academic College. He earned his LL.B. from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and his LL.M. and LL.D. from Yale Law School at Yale University.

  • Default Image

    Colonel (Res.), Adv. Liron A. Libman

    Researcher, Amnon Lipkin-Shahak National Security and Democracy program

  • Default Image

    Dr. Idit Shafran Gittleman

    Read More

    A Post-doctoral candidate in the Faculty of Law at Tel-Aviv University, Idit Shafran Gittleman holds an MA in philosophy from the University of Haifa.

Over the years and especially in recent decades, the concept of gender equality has also become relevant to the discussion of military service, and more and more roles have been opened up to women serving in the IDF. Dr. Idit Shafran Gittleman presents an overview of 70 years of women in the IDF.

Initial observations on Israeli's Military Advocate General's decision to conclude investigation into 'Black Friday'.

 

Now is the time to rise above petty politics and pass a draft law that will uphold the principle of civic equality in Israel.

 

"Even a bit more justice than now is better" said Liron Libman in an interview on administrative detention.

The Lod district court decision illustrates the possible dangers to criminal defendant’s human rights though the expanding defense of necessity and the lack of separation between the preventive and criminal phases of the investigation.

Yohanan Plesner discusses with Tipping Point the "People's Army". Can a compromise be reached and is "sharing the burden" of military service a realistic goal? 

While collective harm may be justified in some circumstances, collective punishment should never be allowed: one person’s rights should not be taken hostage to influence the behavior of others.

Professor Yuval Shany and Professor Amichai Cohen discuss the pivotal role of the IDF in Israeli life - past and present. 

Israel’s supporters, who have the nation’s best interests at heart, should resist the urge to engage in partisan smear campaigns that attempt to tarnish the reputations of patriots who are on the frontlines of the struggle for Israel’s legitimacy as a Jewish and democratic state. We have enough enemies on our borders.

Yohanan Plesner, President of the Israel Democracy Institute cautions that the Ministry of Defense’s proposed draft bill “endangers IDF’s model of service as a “People's Army” based on the principle of mandatory service for all

The Supreme Court of Israel recently dismissed a petition against the rules of engagement governing use of force by the Israeli security forces in the violent clashes in Gaza

Following the approval of the “Cabinet Law,” allowing the government to delegate its authority to declare war to the National Security Cabinet, IDI Senior Professor Prof. Amichai Cohen, and expert on national security law, contends that the bill addresses a critical issue but has been passed too hastily

play

The Democracy Pavilion, a unique multi-media experience, in full 360 degree technology, showcasing the values embedded in Israel’s Declaration of Independence, is open to the public.

Despite the transformation of Israeli society, the IDF’s model of service has not changed. Military service continues to be a rite of passage for young Israelis and the IDF retains its status as the most trusted institution in Israel. Prof. Yuval Shany, Maj.-Gen. (ret.) Orna Barbivai and Prof. Amichai Cohen sit down to discuss the challenges facing the IDF and Israeli society in a changing security environment.

On the occasion of International Women’s Day we should devote some thought to the impact the IDF chief of staff's remarks on feminism have on young women who are about to be drafted

The state of Israel has also been grappling in recent years with an intense controversy over the service of women in the Israel Defense Forces (IDF), which recently came to a boiling point with the amendment of the “Joint Service Order,” which sets out guidelines for women’s military service alongside Orthodox men

It’s time for the people’s army to listen to the voice of the people, and not just to the voice of extremists.

A recent Knesset bill that would introduce the death sentence for terror-related murder in Israel has broken the decades of relative silence on the matter. 

In the US and more recently in Israel there is public discussion over the principled issues of the balance between the different branches of government in matters of national security and the proper mechanism to create accountability in these matters are universal. 

The Israeli High Court of Justice’s Dec. 12 decision in Abu Ghosh v. Attorney-General provides a good opportunity to reexamine the implementation of the prohibition against torture in Israeli law almost twenty years after the court’s landmark 1999 judgment in Public Committee Against Torture in Israel, which outlawed torture.

play

Despite the verdict, the real story in the Azaria affair is the moral, not the legal, issue, and this debate is alive and well.

In an op-ed soon to be published by the Jerusalem Report, the former head of the Shin Bet security service argues that mutual responsibility is the cornerstone on which the resilience of Israeli society is founded, and is most strongly expressed in the commitment of the government of Israel to do everything possible to secure the release of its captured soldiers.

In a poignant op-ed, published by the Jewish Journal, Dr. Idit Shafran Gittleman confronts the issue of the price a country should pay to bring home its captive soldiers, including those who have been declared dead.

Israel's security agencies have sweeping surveillance powers, but are subjected to few checks and balances.

Israel has been in a state of emergency since 1948. But the nature of the threat has changed over-time—from full-scale military invasions to isolated airplane hijackings, from suicide bombings to missile attacks, and most recently, cyber and lone wolf terrorism.
These ever-evolving threats necessitate new responses and strategies.

It is almost certain that readers of this article will not recognize the name of this man, the terrorist who caused more damage to Israel’s security than any other attacker in recent years. His name is Abdel Fattah al-Sharif, 21, from Hebron.

While there is no way to know whether the military picture of the recent Gaza war would have been different had members of the security cabinet been kept abreast of the tunnel threat, there can be no doubt that what occurred was a failure of Israel’s democracy.

Even before the conclusion of the Elor Azaria trial, there were calls for the 'Hebron Shooter' to be pardoned. Under such circumstances, what does a pardon entail and how can an IDF soldier who had been sentenced in a military court of law be granted one?

The primary significance of Resolution 2334 is that it strengthens other initiatives whose purpose is to punish Israel, its leaders and businesses for their involvement in the settlement enterprise. 

Recent events surrounding the evacuation of the Israeli settlement of Amona have ignited a long-simmering debate within Israeli society regarding the construction of a small portion of settlements on privately-owned Palestinian land in Judea and Samaria.

As the IDF's military court handed down its verdict in the case of Elor Azaria, the soldier accused by the military prosecutor of shooting and killing a terrorist who no longer constituted a clear and present danger, it is an appropriate moment to recall the recent experience of another soldier in another army.

Israel's senior political leaders are playing with fire when they publicly justify violating the rules of war and ethical conduct. Troublingly, a majority of the Israeli Jewish public agrees.

In the last decade, no member of the IDF has been convicted of an offense as serious as that with which Azaria is charged.

In this op-ed IDI's Amichay Ayalon and Idit Shafran-Gittleman argue that the challenge of combatting terrorism requires security concerns to be weighed against the values of a free society. The prevailing attitude among supporters of Hebron shooter Elor Azaria of allowing the security mantra to trump any other concerns may lead to short-term military success, but will be a moral loss for Israel, both on the home front and in the international sphere. This op-ed originally appeared in Haaretz.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced recently that Israel and Turkey had reached an agreement leading to reconciliation between the two countries – and the Knesset approved the deal. Now the question becomes: will the deal have the impact Israeli soldiers are hoping for? Originally published by the Jerusalem Post.

IDI's Prof. Amichai Cohen explains why Israel had to launch a swift and effective investigation into the actions of the solider that shot a neutralized terrorist in Hebron. This article originally appeared on the Times of Israel

The Israeli High Court's claim that home demolitions need not be applied to Jews because they support terror less than Palestinians must be rejected. (This article was originally published by Haaretz.)

The Israel Democracy Institute and Ron Arad's colleagues from his piloting course cordially invite you to a symposium.

  • Open to the public
  • Hebrew

The “Security Matters” blog is a new platform run under the auspices of the Israel Democracy Institute (IDI). It serves as an online forum for analyzing those issues that straddle the border between national security and democracy. IDI’s goal is to contribute to the public-academic discussion already taking place around issues of national security through diverse posts by writers who come at the issues from different vantage points, including law, ethics and sociology. Security Matters is edited by IDI researchers. However, it is open to the thoughts and opinions of writers within and without of the Institute.

We encourage other relevant thought leaders to contribute to and become a part of the discussion. Please note: The opinions published by Security Matters are those of the writers and only the writers.

They do not represent the institutes or organizations in which they work, the views of the blog editors or of IDI.