(p. A15) Israel is a country of eight million people that at its narrowest point is 9 miles wide. It is surrounded on all sides by enemies who would like to see it wiped off the map: Hezbollah to the north, Hamas to the south, plus Bashar al-Assad’s regime, Islamic State and Iran to the east. It wouldn’t take a particularly pessimistic person to bet against this besieged slice of desert. Yet this tiny nation has also built an air force, anti-missile defense system and intelligence apparatus that is revered around the world–and relied on by the U.S. military, among many others. And it’s done it with a minuscule fraction of the budget available to larger nations.
How has Israel pulled it off? In “The Weapon Wizards” Yaakov Katz and Amir Bohbot tell the story of how the Jewish state’s military and defense sector became one of the most cutting-edge in the world. In chapters focused on particular technologies and weapons, such as drones, satellites and cyber warfare, the authors make the case that the same factors that have made Israel a tech giant have also allowed it to become a “high-tech military superpower.” The country’s military, its schools and its extracurricular institutions inculcate in its young people tenacity, insatiable questioning of authority, determined informality, cross-disciplinary creativity and tolerance of failure.
. . .
While “The Weapon Wizards” can be a bit technical for the lay reader, the authors have skillfully conveyed a key component of the dynamic innovation culture that has made the Jewish state one of the most important entrepreneurial and technology-driven economies in the world. Not bad for a country 9 miles wide.
For the full review, see:
DAN SENOR. “BOOKSHELF; Drafting Up Innovation.” The Wall Street Journal (Thurs., Feb. 2, 2017): A15.
(Note: ellipsis added.)
(Note: the online version of the review has the date Feb. 3 [sic], 2017.)
The book under review, is:
Katz, Yaakov, and Amir Bohbot. The Weapon Wizards: How Israel Became a High-Tech Military Superpower. New York: St. Martin’s Press, 2017.