Kober, Avi. “From Heroic to Postheroic Warfare: Israel’s Way of War in Asymmetrical Conflicts.” Armed Forces & Society (online first)
Since the late 1970s Israel has been operating postheroically, with postheroic behavior gradually becoming an integral part of its strategic culture and way of war, and often coming at the expense of mission fulfillment. In the Israeli case, the strongest explanation for such behavior has been the marriage of two factors: Israel’s engagement in low-intensity conflicts (LICs), which have not threatened its basic security, let alone its existence, and sophisticated technology, which has played a significant facilitating role in applying postheroic warfare. Sparing the lives of the Israel Defense Forces’ (IDF’s) own troops and of enemy civilians helped gaining greater domestic and legitimacy, as well as greater sustainability in LICs. On the other hand, living up to postheroic warfare’s rules had a price not only in terms of fulfilling the military missions, but also in terms of sensitivity to unexpected, sometimes sudden leaps in casualties and/or collateral damage; the danger of lowering the threshold war; and asymmetry with enemies that do not cooperate with postheroic rules and rather fight heroically. The analysis of the Israeli case covers the LIC events Israel has been engaged in from the 1978 Operation Litani, in which postheroic warfare was detected for the same time, to the more recent 2012 Operation Pillar of Defense.