Scripts of service culture and joint operations of air and ground forces: an IDF case study

Uzi Ben-Shalom, Yuval Tsur

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The Israel Defence Forces (IDF) face continuing challenges concerning joint operations of military services (e.g. air and ground forces) since, as in other militaries, the existence of separate service cultures creates operational difficulties. This article analyses in-depth interviews with commanders from the IDF’s air and ground forces. Its findings reinforce the ‘polarisation assumption’ of ‘us’ (the in-group) and ‘them’ (the out-group) that challenges successful cooperation, reflecting differences in the scripts of expectations and modes of action underlying perceptions of successful joint operations. These scripts create assumptions that are manifestations of a deep-rooted service culture. Such assumptions also have an effect on combat motivation as certain scenarios lead towards greater risk-taking in concrete operational situations. Cooperation between the Israeli Air Force and Special Forces is far more successful and smooth. The analysis of the success of joint operations can aid the armed forces in bridging differences and improving cooperation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)84-98
Number of pages15
JournalIsrael affairs
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2 Jan 2018


  • IDF
  • Joint operations
  • cultural scripts
  • heroic action
  • organizational culture

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Cultural Studies
  • History
  • Political Science and International Relations


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