This paper suggests a two-level game analysis of Israel’s strategy toward peace during the 1990s. The paper shows how various paradoxes in Israeli society create domestic obstacles and internal opposition that weaken Israel’s bargaining position toward neighboring countries. Treating domestic parameters in these countries as a given, we argue that Israeli leaders can hardly use this weakness to manipulate information in the bargaining process, because neighboring countries can observe Israel’s internal processes. Therefore, attempts by Israeli leaders to create the impression that they are willing to adopt a conflictual approach towards neighboring polities, especially the Palestinians, without actually creating the necessary internal conditions for such a policy, may finally lead to a sub-optimal equilibrium for Israel – in terms of territory and deterrent ability – since it will have to compromise under difficult conditions. Several practical implications as to the preferred bargaining process under these conditions follow.

Author Bio(s)

Shlomo Mizrahi is a lecturer in the Department of Public Policy and Administration, School of Management, Ben-Gurion University, Beer-Sheva, Israel. His research interests are public policy, collective action, game theory, public choice theory, and bargaining and conflict resolution.

Abraham Mehrez is a professor in the Department of Industrial Engineering and Management at Ben-Gurion University, Beer-Sheva, Israel. His present research interests include interdisciplinary management research and applications on the analysis of public and private sectors systems.

Arye Naor is an assistant professor in the Department of Public Policy and Administration in the School of Management at Ben-Gurion University, Beer-Sheva, Israel. His research interests are ideological beliefs and policy considerations, governability, Israeli government, Israel-Arab wars and peace process, and democracy in Judaism.


1990s, Arab countries, Israel, Middle East, Palestine, peace process, power relations

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