Political Activism


The concept ‘Political Activism’ refers to a foreign policy approach championed by Moshe Sharett during the 1950's which preached military restraint and emphasized the importance of political and diplomatic moves to ensure Israel's national security.


  • Israel’s difficult geo-strategic position in the early years of the state led to the evolution of two divergent schools of thought which revolved around Israel’s first Prime Minister David Ben Gurion, and the country’s second Prime Minister and first Foreign Minister Moshe Sharett.

  • Their contrasting policies were heavily influenced by their differing attitudes towards the Arab states, the role of the international community and the correct balance between defense and diplomatic issues.

  • Political Activism was inspired by Chaim Weizmann and counted members of Mapai, Mapam, the National Religious Party and the General Zionists as well as several Israeli newspapers among its supporters. Despite this, Political Activism is generally considered to have been overshadowed by Ben Gurion’s Military Activism which primarily perceived military means to be the most effective tool in ensuring Israel's national security and therefore stressed disproportionate military retaliation and deterrence. (See Concept: Military Activism).



Concept Paper

National Security

Regional Security

The Political Activist School as characterized by Sharett was skeptical regarding the possibility of a quick comprehensive settlement to the Israeli-Arab conflict and thus sought to find ways to contain the conflict and lower its profile.

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