Thursday, January 17, 2019
Book Review: 'The secret of Israel’s Power' by Uzi Eilam (Translated by Jeremy Forman)
“We would need to make use of our qualitative advantage to secure our existence.”
Israeli author Uzi Eilam is a Technion graduate in mechanical engineering and Operations Research. He completed his studies in business administration and systems analysis at Stanford University, California. His military career n Israel is legendary and lauded for his performance with paratroopers in the Israel Defense Force in the Gaza Operation and the 1967 Six Day War when Eilam fought as a paratrooper battalion commander in Jerusalem and was among the first to enter the Old City and reach the Western Wall with his soldiers. Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin appointed General Eilam Director General of the Israel Atomic Energy Commission, where he served for ten years. In his next position General Eilam served for twelve years as head of the Defense, Research, and Development Authority of the Ministry of Defense and its Chief Scientist. In 2002 he was awarded the Israel Defense Prize for Lifetime Achievement. Now retired, he has turned his attention to writing books with espionage and global terrorism themes.
In a style that pervades this exceptional book about the phenomenal rise I power that the small country of Israel has become, Eilam opens his Preface by stating, ‘Celebrating my 70th anniversary brought together hundreds of friends that were with me along the way I served my country. Childhood in the Kibbutz, paratroopers in the 50’s, Six Day War in Jerusalem, R&D for the IDF in the 70’s, the Israeli Atomic Energy Commission, Defense R&D and international cooperation in developing technologies. These formed a kaleidoscopic picture that persuaded me to write.‘
While the globe respects the idiosyncratic rise to power that Israel, a relatively young country, has achieved, the magnitude of the many technological advances have never been more clearly shared than in this ‘insider’s view’ approach to history. The synopsis includes the guideposts: ‘The successful track record of Israeli innovation policies, told from within. This is the inside story on how Israel became a military technology powerhouse within less than two generations, told by Brigadier Uzi Eilam. The story blends the broad view of a person who led the creation of incredibly far-sighted R&D programs, with intimate portraits of the main players in a complex strategy that spans continents, corporations and armies. Eilam’s story focuses on Israel’s decision to add technology to the military factor when creating attack and defense mechanisms, against its threats. Eilam also tells how Israel, with its persistence, courage and “chutzpa”, made a very successful journey and was able to create an internationally competitive space program. More than any other account, this book explains how a very small country was able to make a concentrated use of its limited assets with astute leverage of international relationships while at the same time, create the backbone of Israeli civilian technology industries.’
Eilam brings it together in his Epilogue – ‘Israel has come a long way since it days as “a state in the making”, and the country’s impressive development over the past six and a half decades has by no means been a foregone conclusion. The moving force behind Israel’ technological development has been inextricable linked to its quest for survival.’
Unique book, written by a man who has been there at every step of growth, this is one impressive book from which we all can learn.
Editor's note: This review has been published with the permission of Grady Harp. Like what you read? Subscribe to the SFRB's free daily email notice so you can be up-to-date on our latest articles. Scroll up this page to the sign-up field on your right.