Israel's 1948 War of Independence as a total war

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This article deals with the civic and social aspects of the 1948 Israeli-Arab War. The study suggests that in light of the goals and the substantive changes wrought by the war, the 1948 War was a conflict that can be defined as a total war. The paper focuses on mobilization of the pre-State Jewish community (Yishuv) in Palestine and the Israeli war effort. It presents a general framework that enables one to examine the totality of the conflict in the course of discussing the war perspective of Israeli leadership. The research investigates the character of economic and social mobilization, including the harnessing of pre-State social resources on behalf of the war effort and the mobilization of human resources for military service and essential work. Additional traits that underscore the totality of the war are also addressed, including the experience of the civilian population at the home front, and the far-reaching consequences of the war.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)241-257
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Contemporary History
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 2008
Externally publishedYes


  • Arab-Israeli conflict
  • Israel history
  • Jewish studies
  • Middle Eastern history
  • War
  • War and society in Israel

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cultural Studies
  • History
  • Sociology and Political Science


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