Israel’s Foreign Policy and its Intelligence Failure in 1973

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Maggie O'Toole


Israel, since its declaration of independence, has taken a realist perspective in its foreign policy. Yet, despite the offensive realist nature of its foreign policy, it suffered a near defeat in the Yom Kippur War in 1973. Research shows despite signals of an impending Arab threat at the time, Israel choose inaction because of a combination of external and internal factors. The internal factors were precipitated primarily as a result of the Israel’s landslide victory in the Six-Day War in 1967, whereas the external factors mainly focused on themes of secrecy and deception. Uri Bar-Joseph, however, presents new evidence that negates the importance of secrecy and deception as a reason for Israel’s intelligence failure. He provides evidence that Israel’s inaction in 1973 resulted because of key intelligence specialists psychological shortcomings; Bar?Joseph uses Kruglanski’s Theory of Lay Epistemics to support this observation. This theory examines the judgement process and links it with the need for closure, and Bar-Joseph cites this theory in explanation of the judgment decisions of key intelligence officers.

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Author Biography

Maggie O'Toole, Memorial University of Newfoundland

Maggie O’Toole is an undergraduate student at Memorial University. She is majoring in Political Science with a minor in Religious Studies, and is in her fifth and final year of study.