Israel’s Death Hierarchy: Casualty Aversion in a Militarized Democracy

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NYU Press, Nov 5, 2012 - History - 269 pages
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2012 Winner of the Shapiro Award for the Best Book in Israel Studies, presented by the Association for Israel Studies Whose life is worth more?   That is the question that states inevitably face during wartime. Which troops are thrown to the first lines of battle and which ones remain relatively intact? How can various categories of civilian populations be protected? And when front and rear are porous, whose life should receive priority, those of soldiers or those of civilians? In Israel’s Death Hierarchy, Yagil Levy uses Israel as a compelling case study to explore the global dynamics and security implications of casualty sensitivity. Israel, Levy argues, originally chose to risk soldiers mobilized from privileged classes, more than civilians and other soldiers. However, with the mounting of casualty sensitivity, the state gradually restructured what Levy calls its “death hierarchy” to favor privileged soldiers over soldiers drawn from lower classes and civilians, and later to place enemy civilians at the bottom of the hierarchy by the use of heavy firepower. The state thus shifted risk from soldiers to civilians. As the Gaza offensive of 2009 demonstrates, this new death hierarchy has opened Israel to global criticism.
 

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Contents

Introduction
1
1 The Right to Protect and the Right to Protection
15
2 Unbalancing and Balancing the Rights
37
3 BereavementMotivated Collective Actors
71
A Comparison
109
5 The Death Hierarchy
127
6 Casualty Sensitivity Breeds High Lethality
147
7 Casualty Sensitivity and PoliticalMilitary Relations
181
8 Conclusions
205
Notes
215
Bibliography
219
Index
243
About the Author
256
Copyright

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About the author (2012)

Yagil Levy is Associate Professor in the Department of Sociology, Political Science and Communication at the Open University of Israel. His recent books include Israel's Materialist Militarism, Israel since 1980, and Who Governs the Military? Between Control of the Military and Control of Militarism.

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