Military Intelligence and Controversial Political Issues: The Unique Case of the Israeli Military Intelligence

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Contrary to intelligence services in other democracies worldwide, the activity of the Israeli Directorate of Military Intelligence, AMAN, is not merely centered around collection and research regarding military intelligence matters. Instead, AMAN covers the majority of intelligence activity arenas, including intelligence regarding state-related issues. This field of activity presents a situation where AMAN's officers, and predominantly, its research division, are compelled to deal with sensitive issues embedded well within Israeli political and public controversy. This is commonly illustrated in the field of 'Intelligence for Peace' in general and more specifically in the Palestinian arena. Intelligence research surrounding the question of Palestinian commitment to peace throughout the Oslo Process and following the onset of the al Aqsa Intifada - activity classified as 'Intelligence on Intentions' - placed AMAM at the heart of political debate in Israel and resulted in bitter internal disagreements in AMAN as well as tensions between the intelligence service and the political leadership. Throughout the years, numerous recommendations have been repeatedly voiced to end AMAN's monopoly over Israel's national intelligence assessment (including aspects of intelligence regarding state-related issues). These recommendations were based predominantly on hindsight evaluations, such as AMAN's repeated failures in intelligence assessments. This paper calls for gradual termination of AMAN's activity of intelligence regarding state-related issues, in light of its contradiction with the appropriate military-political separation in a democratic society. Moreover, it places AMAN at the heart of the political debate dividing Israeli society.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)227-261
Number of pages35
JournalIntelligence and National Security
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 2014

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • History
  • Political Science and International Relations


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