Israeli National Security Council


Israeli National Security Council

The Israeli National Security Council ( _he. המועצה לביטחון לאומי) is a council established by the Prime Minister's Office in 1999 during the prime ministership of Binyamin Netanyahu in the framework of drawing lessons from the Yom Kipur War. The Council draws its authority from the government and operates according to guidelines from the Prime Minister.

The National Security Council (NSC) was established in March 1999 following Government Resolution 4889, and serves as the central body responsible for coordination, integration, analysis and monitoring in the field of national security.

Background

The National Security Council (NSC) is the Prime Minister's and the Government's staff forum in the field of national security, deriving its authority from the Government and operating in accordance with directives issued by the Prime Minister. The offices of the head of the National Security Council and the staffs of the Foreign Policy Division, the Security Division and the Legal Advisor have been located since the end of December 2006 in the Prime Minister’s office in Jerusalem. The remaining staffs of the National Security Council as and the Counter-Terrorism Bureau headquarters are based in the National Security Council facility in Ramat Hasharon.

Basis for the National Security Council's Operations

Article 7 of the Government Law of 2001 states that "the Government will have an staff, established by the Prime Minister, to provide professional consulting in the fields of national security; the Prime Minister is authorized to entrust the staff with additional consulting fields." Government Resolution 4889, dated March 7th 1999, established the National Security Council. The Government resolution specified, among others, that: - The objective of the NSC is to serve as a centralized advisory body to the Prime Minister and the Government regarding issues of national security. - The NSC derives its authority from the Government and operates in accordance with directives issued by the Prime Minister.

Head of the National Security Council and National Security Advisor

The National Security Council is part of the Prime Minister's Office and reports to him directly about issues related to national security. General (reserves) David Ivri was the first to be appointed National Security Advisor and Head of the National Security Council. Currently, the serving Head of the National Security Council and National Security Advisor is Mr. Ilan Mizrahi, formerly the Deputy Chief of the Mossad.

NSC Roles

The roles of the National Security Council, as stipulated in the Government Resolution, are as follows: To hold senior council forums for the Prime Minister and the Government regarding issues of national security. To coordinate integrative assessments of processes and trends in all aspects of national security. To direct integrative staff operations between offices and authorities dealing with national security in order to increase coordination and integration between them. To prepare for deliberations by the government, ministerial committee for national security and the Prime Minister. To advise the government on policies relating to national security. To plan, based on a long-term perspective, national security components, with the assistance of existing planning bodies in State offices and organizations dealing with national security. To follow up and provide updates regarding activities and implementation of resolutions related to national security. To maintain coordination and cooperation with parallel national security authorities in selected countries.

Among the Council's functions are: strategic advisement to the Prime Minister, offering security recommendations to the government, joint direction and coordinations of the security arms as well as inspection and supervision of decision-making related to the security bodies. Other functions include long-term planning of security approaches, and maintaining cooperative and coordinative relations with the national security elements of selected countries.

The Council comprises three different wings: Security Policy, Foreign Policy, and the Counter-Terrorism Bureau. It has two advisors: legal and economic.

The Council's work is considered secret, and is undertaken outside the public's eye. Its authority is vague and the Prime Minister is not obligated to accept its recommendations, unlike with those of the Attorney General, for example. In the case where the Prime Minister lacks confidence in the Council head, this will result in the latter's resignation, since it is considered a trust-based position. The first three Council heads did not serve their full terms, which attests to the problematic nature of the position.

Among the issues which the Council engaged were the planning of the West Bank barrier and supervision over its implementation, helping to forge the Gaza disengagement plan as well as the agreement with Egypt over the Philadelphi Route.

Council heads

*David Ivri, 1999-2002
*Ephraim Halevi, 2002-2003
*Uzi Dayan, 2003-2005
*Giyora Giora Eiland, 2005-2006
*Ilan Mizrahi, 2006-Present

The Foreign Policy Wing

The National Security Council’s Foreign Policy Division is in charge of planning, integration and coordination of policy on major issues of national security. The Division's roles:

*Formulation of political situation assessments.
*Formulation of recommendations for Israeli policies.
*Conducting strategic dialogs with National Security Councils of leading countries.

Major Areas of Activity

Formulation of alternatives for Israeli policy with regard to the political process and to relationships with Middle East countries.
*Israeli policy with regard to the Palestinians
*Israeli policy with regard to Lebanon
*Israeli policy with regard to Syria
*Israeli policy with regard Egypt, Jordan and other countries. Formulation of alternatives for Israeli policy with regard to the super powers: the United States, Russia, European Union, China and India. Formulation of alternatives for Israeli policy with regard to the key countries: Turkey and India and Israeli policy with regards to major international organizations such as the UN, NATO and OEC.

Energy Security: a new area of activity relating to energy issues based on a comprehensive national security perspective that includes:
*Energy providers
*Strategic reserves
*Source combination


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