The Amnon Lipkin-Shahak Program on National Security and Democracy

IDI’s National Security and Democracy program is named after former Chief of Staff Amnon Lipkin-Shahak. The Program, founded with the help of the close friends and family of Israel's 15th Chief of Staff, is dedicated to helping Israel deal effectively with security threats while preserving the values of a free society. 

The Amnon Lipkin-Shahak Program on National Security and Democracy builds on the experience and expertise of IDI's Terrorism and Democracy Program, which devoted 12 years to analyzing the legal aspects of Israeli counter-terrorism. It is working to develop national defense policies that will guarantee Israel's security without impairing its democratic vitality. Today, in recognition of the fact that all aspects of warfare are becoming increasingly connected on the modern battlefield, the program focuses on the legal, strategic, media and diplomatic aspects of asymmetric conflict.

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    Admiral (Res.) Amichay (Ami) Ayalon

    Co-director

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

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    Prof. Amichai Cohen

    Co-director

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    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.

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    Prof. Yuval Shany

    Senior Fellow

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    Adv. Eli Bahar

    Researcher

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    Eli Bahar holds an MA in public administration from the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University and teaches courses in the Law Department of Tel Aviv University. He served as the legal advisor to the Shin Bet from 2006 to 2011.

     

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    Dr. Robert C. Castel

    Researcher

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    Brig. Gen (Res.) Moni Chorev

    Researcher

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    Brig. Gen. (res) Moni Chorev served in the IDF as a division commander, commander of the Givati Brigade and commander of the IDF's Officers' Training School.

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    Maj. Gen. (Res.) Yitzhak Eitan

    Researcher

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    Dr. Amir Fuchs

    Researcher

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    Dr. Amir Fuchs holds a doctorate from the Faculty of Law at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and is a lecturer in the Politics and Communication Department at the School of Government and Social Sciences at Hadassah Academic College.

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    Dr. Idit Shafran Gittleman

    Researcher

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    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.

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    Adv. Lina Saba-Habesch

    Researcher

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    Adv. Lina Saba-Habesch holds an LL.M. from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and is a doctoral candidate in the joint interdisciplinary program of the Faculty of Law at the Hebrew University and the Free University of Berlin. The topic of her doctoral dissertation is the "Torture of security suspects."

     

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    Prof. Mati Steinberg

    Research Fellow

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    Dr. Matti Steinberg is a former advisor to directors of the Shin Bet. He taught Middle Eastern studies at Princeton University and at Heidelberg University, and later joined the Middle Eastern Studies Faculty at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. He is the author of the book Facing Their Fate: Palestinian National Consciousness 1967–2007.

     

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    Maya Whitefield

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    Dr. Moran Yarchi

    Researcher

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    Dr. Moran Yarchi received her Ph.D. in 2012 from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. She is a senior lecturer at the Sammy Ofer School of Communications, Interdisciplinary Center (IDC) in Herzliya.

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Op-ed

How Israel’s Leadership Betrayed Democracy

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.

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?

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.

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

Legal proportionality is one of the most important principles for adjudicating among conflicting values. However, little is known about the factors that play a role in the formation of proportionality judgments. This research presents the first empirical analysis on this subject, based on a sample of 331 lawyers and legal academics.

Prof. Amichai Cohen argues that there is only one good way to prevent prosecution of Israeli soldiers abroad: Israeli authorities must conduct effective, independent, and genuine investigations in cases where there are suspicions of war crimes or other violations. This article was first published by Times of Israel.

In the aftermath of the Tel-Aviv terror attack, it is becoming increasingly clear that the current round of terror will not end soon. When there are casualties of attacks, not only do security issues arise, but so do medical issues – and these can be equally as complicated. This article originally appeared in Crescent City Jewish News. 

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.)

A society that is doomed to live forever by the sword cannot hope to be truly humanist and democratic. Originally published in the Jerusalem Report.

Parallel to negotiations, a process, designed to create a two-state reality through independent and unconditional steps, must be implemented

Submitted to the UN International Commission of Inquiry on February 11, 2015, this document details the role of lawyers within the Israeli Defense Forces in implementing and enforcing International Humanitarian Law within the IDF.

As the Central Elections Committee begins to debate disqualifying MK Hanin Zoabi and others from running for Knesset, IDI Senior Fellow Ami Ayalon writes that as distasteful as some of her words may be, banning Zoabi from running would be a victory for Israel's detractors.

A discussion of the Palestinian Authority's declarations to the International Criminal Court (ICC), the changes that influenced the ICC prosecutor's decision to accept the PA's second declaration, and the conditions that must be fulfilled in order for the ICC to apply its jurisdiction to IDF actions or to the settlement enterprise.

In a Jerusalem Post op-ed, Prof. Mordechai Kremnitzer argues that by breaching their responsibility to be impartial, the  UN Human Rights Council and its commission for investigating alleged war crimes in Gaza are betraying international law, even if unintentionally.

What criteria must the caliphate of the Islamic State meet in order to be considered a State under international law? This article presents an analysis of this question by IDI experts on terrorism and democracy.

How should suspected violations of the international laws of war be investigated? As Operation Protective Edge winds down, Prof. Yuval Shany and Prof. Amichai Cohen discuss the options of an internal investigation by the IDF, an international investigation, and an Israeli commission of inquiry.

Admiral Ami Ayalon asserts that the winner of today's wars is the side whose story is perceived as just, and argues that without a diplomatic track, Israel cannot win the war, even if the war is justified and Israel adheres to international law in the face of terrorists who violate it. 

IDI Researcher Attorney Eli Bahar discusses the central role that members of Israel's system of legal counsel play in formulating the rules of what is permissible during warfare in real time, during the fighting, in order to ensure that Israel's citizens will not be ashamed of themselves after the fighting ceases. 

In an op-ed in The Jerusalem Post, Prof. Mordechai Kremnitzer and Prof. Yuval Shany discuss the need for measures, laws, and institutions designed to combat the war on terror in order to strike a balance between concern for national security and the need to safeguard democratic values such as human rights and the rule of law.

As the world considers the threat of a nuclear Iran, Israeli public discourse has focused primarily on whether or not Israel should launch a preemptive strike on Iran's nuclear facilities. But who has the authority to decide whether a military operation should be conducted? In this article, IDI Vice President Prof. Mordechai Kremnitzer and researcher Eyal Tsur explore the strengths and weaknesses of the current division of responsibility regarding this matter, and recommend ways of improving the system.

The violent incidents that took place on the Israeli-Syrian border in June 2011 raise the question of how the Israel Defense Forces should deal with violent events that resemble disturbances while at the same time affecting important Israeli security interests. IDI Senior Fellow Prof. Yuval Shany offers his analysis of the Israeli response to these events.

Prof. Mordechai Kremnitzer, IDI Vice President of Research, analyzes fundamental principles that bear crucially on the moral aspects of the Goldstone Report, Israel's stance with respect to the report, and contemporary international criminal law in general. 

Judge Richard Goldstone’s retraction of his commission's finding that Israeli actions in Gaza during Operation Cast Lead deliberately targeted civilians righted a historical injustice. But did the actions of the State of Israel contribute to the false impression received by the Goldstone Commission? In this op-ed, IDI Senior Fellow Prof. Yuval Shany explores the question of whether the Israeli government should also search its soul and consider participation in future international commissions of inquiry.

An analysis of the proposed comprehensive counter-terrorism bill that was prepared by IDI's Terrorism and Democracy research team and submitted to the Ministry of Justice.

This op-ed by IDI Prof. Yuval Shany argues that despite the Goldstone Report’s shortcomings, it strengthens the demand to investigate claims raised against the IDF through an extra-military entity. As he sees it, the main question to address is whether the army's internal investigation of "Operation Cast Lead" meets the requirements of international law.

Prof. Mordechai Kremnitzer and Roy Konfino respond to a bill that in practice exempts the State of Israel from compensating Palestinians who live in the occupied territories for any damages the State may have caused them as part of the war on terror.

This seminar will feature local and international experts, who will discuss various issues related to Jewish identity, such as: how one becomes a member of the Jewish people, attitudes towards mixed marriages, the proliferation of ways to be Jewish today and more.

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

  • Open to the public
  • Hebrew

A roundtable hosted by IDI's Amnon Lipkin-Shahak Center for Security and Democracy and the Konrad Adenauer Stiftung

  • Live
  • Hebrew
  • Participation by invitation only
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An event held as part of the Rand Corporation's Policy Circle Briefing Series

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  • Participation by invitation only
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