A Critique of Ethics of War in the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF)

Article Type:
Research/Original Article (دارای رتبه معتبر)

The authors try to evaluate Israeli army self-claim as “the most moral army in the world” based on Michael Walzer’s “Just War” theory. This claim is the main justification used by Israeli officials to justify IDF activities. Walzer is chosen since he is known as the reviver of “Just War” as well as the main patron of IDF ethical code.


This research uses critical analysis method. In this respect, the conformity of IDF activities and Walzer’s Just War is analyzed from internal and external points of view. To come up with the above-mentioned goal, Walzer’s theory is evaluated in terms of solidarity between Walzer’s communitarian approach and “Just War” factors, as internal criticism. As the external one, IDF activities are analyzed in practice based on Just War theory (without considering its internal problems). 


This paper shows that IDF has widely violated Just War theory which is the cornerstone of its ethical code. This violation has occurred in jus ad bellum as well as jus in Bello. Given the intentions of getting into the war, “Self-Defense” cannot be entitled to the regime, esp. in the West Bank, due to lack of collective life for Israeli settlers, legal authority etc.


The conclusion obtained from examining IDF activities with the glasses of Just War theory is that the major IDF justification (IDF as the most moral army in the world) is nonsense. This immorality undermines IDF self-image as well as antagonism against resistance movements as “unethical actors” from academic approach.

A Quarerly Journal of Political Studies of Islamic World, Volume:10 Issue: 40, 2022
1 to 16
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