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The Political Psychology of Israeli Prime Ministers
When Hard-Liners Opt for Peace

$35.99 (P)

  • Date Published: May 2014
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9781107669802

$ 35.99 (P)
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About the Authors
  • This book examines leaders of the seemingly intractable conflict between Israel and its Palestinian neighbors. It takes as an intellectual target of opportunity six Israeli prime ministers, asking why some of them have persisted in some hard-line positions but others have opted to become peacemakers. This book argues that some leaders do change, and above all it explains why and how such changes come about. This book goes beyond arguing simply that “leaders matter” by analyzing how their particular belief systems and personalities can ultimately make a difference to their country's foreign policy, especially toward a long-standing enemy. Although no hard-liner can stand completely still in the face of important changes, only those with ideologies that have specific components that act as obstacles to change and who have an orientation toward the past may need to be replaced for dramatic policy changes to take place.

    • Explores the conditions under which wars end and peace is negotiated
    • Analyzes the conversion of leaders from hard-liners to negotiators of peace and the way these conversions influence the timing and probability that peace can be achieved
    • Provides a comparative study of the personalities and ideologies of six Israeli prime ministers and how these traits influenced Israel's foreign policy toward the PLO and the Palestinian Authority
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    Reviews & endorsements

    "Yael S. Aronoff’s book interweaves international relations theory with selected aspects of Israeli history (Israeli leadership styles) in a very skilful way, making an important contribution both to IR theory and to the literature on the Arab-Israeli conflict. Composed in a clearly written style, it will offer important insights to undergraduates, graduate students, and researchers alike."
    Robert O. Freedman, The Johns Hopkins University

    "Making her case through political biographies of six recent Israeli leaders, Yael S. Aronoff argues that leaders matter when it comes to peace. Aronoff details that features of Israeli leaders’ ideology and their propensity for risk taking predispose them for, or against, major changes in the status quo. She evaluates the extent to which their image of the enemy is subject to change and other psychological dimensions relevant to rethinking foreign policies toward the Palestinians and Arab states. Nicely structured and written in accessible prose, the book draws on an impressive familiarity with psychological theory and Israeli politics."
    Richard Ned Lebow, King’s College London

    'In this book Aronoff analyses the differences leaders make in determining war and peace. … Aronoff [has] succeeded in writing an overall well-balanced view on the psychological aspects that do matter in international relations and the Middle East in particular.' Yannick van Hoof, Politics, Culture and Socialization

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    Product details

    • Date Published: May 2014
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9781107669802
    • length: 248 pages
    • dimensions: 229 x 152 x 14 mm
    • weight: 0.37kg
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    1. Introduction: when hard-liners opt for peace
    2. Yitzhak Shamir: once a hawk, always a hawk
    3. Benjamin Netanyahu: battling the world
    4. Ariel Sharon: from warfare to withdrawal
    5. Yitzhak Rabin: from hawk to Nobel Prize peacemaker
    6. Ehud Barak: all or nothing
    7. Shimon Peres: from Dimona to Oslo
    8. Expanding the political conversion story
    Appendix A. Political psychology of Israeli prime ministers: summary table of key factors and findings
    Appendix B. Interviews by the author.

  • Author

    Yael S. Aronoff, Michigan State University
    Yael S. Aronoff is the Michael and Elaine Serling Chair in Israel Studies and Associate Professor of International Relations at James Madison College. She is a recipient of the Michigan State University 2011 Teacher Scholar Award and is also Associate Director of Jewish Studies at Michigan State University. Professor Aronoff's work has been published in Israel Studies, the Israel Studies Forum and Political Science Quarterly. She serves as the book review editor for the journal Israel Studies Review, and she is on the Board of Directors of the Association of Israel Studies. She served as Assistant for Regional Humanitarian Programs at the Pentagon's Office of Humanitarian and Refugee Affairs under the Office of the Secretary of Defense in 1994, and she was a Jacob K. Javits Fellow with the Senate Foreign Relations Committee in 1992–3.

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