Sources for the Arab-Israeli Wars

An annotated bibliography for the Arab-Israel Wars.

Web Sites

Coming to Terms with Deir Yassin – Ami Isseroff

Ami Isseroff – from – offers several detail accounts of Deir Yassin, a map, an interview with Meir Pail, a translation of chapters from Uri Milstein’s large history and from Yitzhak Levy’s Nine Measures.

Includes a brief history of the Israel-Palestine conflict, an detailed account of the battle of Latrun, including a map in English, and a translation of Plan D – the Jewish defensive plan for when the British withdrew in 1948.

Alexandroni Brigade (Hebrew)

Looks interesting but my Hebrew isn’t good enough to let me say more.

Machal – Volunteer’s in Israel’s War of Independence

This site is dedicated to the Mitnadvei Chutz L’Aretz (Machal), i.e. volunteers from outside Israel. Includes an account by Dr. Jason Fenton who was one of the Volunteers. Includes some great photos and bibliography.

Elihu King – Memoirs of Elihu KingChapter 4: Young Warrior

The account of a young American who joined the Jewish forces in 1948. The original version of this site included photos, but they seem to have been lost as the site has moved around – a shame as they were one of the main features.

Myszka – SentinelIDF Research

Sentinel is a site dedicated to the research and modelling of Australian and Israeli military vehicles. The IDF Research section has nothing but IDF stuff.

IDF Modelling

Storm Domain: IDF Album

Some nice photos of modern Israeli kit.

IDF Steel Panthers Site

Has some nice photos in the Gallery.

A.E.F Designs: Israeli Catalogue

A plastic kit set company with an Israeli range. Their catalogue has shots of IDF models – of interest to modellers.

Keith McNelly – Arab-Israeli Wars in Miniature

Keith McNelly – a fellow kiwi – has some material on the Arab-Israeli conflict using Modern Spearhead rules.

From TOAW (The Operational Art of War) site – a computer wargame.

Includes Israeli TO&E , Lebanon 1982 TO&E , and 1973

Library of Congress – Federal Research Division – Country Studies – Area Handbook Series – Lebanon – Appendix B – Opposing Forces in the Lebanese Civil War

Erwin Sablon & Karim Van Overmeire – Lebanon Militias

Brynen, R. (1990). Sanctuary and Survival: The PLO in Lebanon. Boulder: Westview Press. On-line

In particular Chapter 7: Sanctuary

Solley, G. C. (1987). The Israeli Experience In Lebanon, 1982-1985 [Report CSC 1987]. On-line

Solley – a US Marine Corps Major – examines Israel’s experience in Lebanon
from the growth of a significant PLO threat during the 1970’s through to 1987. He pays particular
attention to three aspects of the war: military operations, strategic goals, and overall results.
Chapter I. Introduction
Chapter II. Background
Chapter III. Plans and Preparations
Chapter IV. Invasion
Chapter V. Seige
Chapter VI. Occupation and Withdrawal
Chapter VII. IDF Lessons Learned
Chapter VIII. Conclusions

Wargaming Lebanon 82

Includes shots of miniatures.

Camouflage Schemes: Armies in the Middle East

Suggestions the paints to use for Middle Eastern vehicles.

Britain’s Small Wars: “Exodus and Outrage” Palestine 1945-48

The entire site is devoted to Britain’s small wars post 1945, and includes a section on Palestine.


Collins, L., & Lapierre, D. (1972). O Jerusalem! NY: Simon and Schuster.

Excellent. Lots of detail and personal accounts of the 1948 war focusing on the events around Jerusalem. A very, very good read.

Dayan, M. (1966). Diary Of The Sinai Campaign. New York, Harper & Row

Apparently this account of the Israel campaign against Egypt is terse and hard-hitting and is unique for its candor. Dayan, of course, was in charge of the Israelis.

El-Shazly, Saad. (1980). Crossing of the Suez: The October War (1973). London: Third World Centre for Research and Publishing.

Written by the former Egyptian Chief of Staff .

Eshel-Dramit. (1979). The Six Day War. Author. Born in Battle Series 6.

A slim book but alright given the size. Apparently there is also a Eshel book called “Chariots of the Desert: The Story of the Israeli Armoured Corps”.

Glubb, J. B. (1948). The Story of the Arab Legion.

Pasha Glubb was the second commander of the Arab Legion, and led them through WWII, the 1948-49 Arab-Israeli War, until ejected with the other British officers in 1957. This book outlines the emergence of the Arab Legion, through its activities in WWII until just before the 1948-49 war. I quite like Glubb’s writing style and generally recommend any of his books.

Glubb, J. B. (1957). A Soldier with the Arabs.

Another book by Pasha Glub (see above). I don’t have it but Lunt (1999) refers to it quite often and it covers the 1948 war.

Gur, M. (1978). The Battle for Jerusalem. NY: iBooks.

All about the Israeli paratroops taking Jerusalem in 1967. An interesting book with lots of fascinating detail and anecdotal accounts. However, I found it a wee bit confusing to read – perhaps because Gur refers to all the participants – whether generals or privates – by their nick name, or perhaps due to dodgy translation into English, for example the commander of Company A, 66th Parachute Battalion, is referred to as ‘Gaby’, ‘Cabi’ and ‘Gabi’ in different parts of the narrative.

Herzog, C. (1982). The Arab-Israeli wars: War and peace in the Middle East. NY: Random House.

Good overview of the various Arab-Israeli wars through to 1982 by a one time president of Israel. As it happens Herzog was the Intelligence Officer of the 7th Brigade during the Latrun battles in 1948, however, his account of these battles differs considerably from that of his commanding officer (Shamir, 2001).

Hiro, D. (1993). Lebanon Fire and Embers: A history of the Lebanese Civil War. London: Weidenfeld and Nicolson.

Detailed history of the Civil War in Lebanon from 1975 – 1990 including the two Israeli invasions. Very good for describing the convoluted politics involved, and better yet he manages to explain the motivations of the players as well. Not so detailed on specific military actions.

Isby, D. C. (1981). Weapons and Tactics of the Soviet Army. London: Jane’s.

Very good. Very detailed. Now out of print. Useful for an insight into the tactics and equipment of Soviet forces from the mid 1950s. This has some bearing on the Arab armies of the period as they were equipped by the Soviets. I’m not sure how much of the soviet doctrine they adopted.

Katz, S. M. (1988a). Arab Armies of the Middle East Wars 2. Men-at-Arms Series, 194. Oxford, UK: Osprey.

Picks up where Laffin (1982a) leaves off, i.e. after the Yom Kippor War of 1973. This basically means the book covers Arab forces in Lebanon in the 1970s and 80s including Lebanese (Christian, Druze, Sunni, Shiite), Syrian, Palestinian, with sidelines on Jordanian and Egyptian forces of the same period.

Katz, S. M. (1988b). Israeli Elite Units Since 1948. Elite Series 18. Oxford, UK: Osprey.

Katz, S. M., & Russell, L. E. (1985). Armies in Lebanon 1982-84. Men-at-Arms Series, 165. Oxford, UK: Osprey.

Laffin, J. (1982a). Arab Armies of the Middle East Wars 1948-73. Men-at-Arms Series, 128. Oxford, UK: Osprey.

Laffin, J. (1982b). The Israeli Army in the Middle East wars 1948-73. Men-at-Arms Series, 127. Oxford, UK: Osprey.

Levi, Y. (1986). Nine Measures. ‘Maarachot’ the Israel Defense Army Press Tel Aviv. [Hebrew text].

An excerpt called “Deir Yassin: Levitza’s Account” is available in English on-line.

Lockman, Z. (1996). Comrades and Enemies: Arab and Jewish Workers in Palestine, 1906-1948. University of California Press.

Excerpt available on-line at .

Lunt, J. (1999). The Arab Legion: 1923 – 1957. London: Constable.

James Lunt commanded the newly raised second armoured car regiment of the Arab Legion from 1952 – 1957. His book outlines the history of the Legion from inception until the British officers were expelled in 1957. He seems to largely rely on Glubb (1948 & 1957) for the period before he joined the unit. Lunt’s work is biased in favour of the Arabs, Jordan and the Arab Legion in particular. This bias comes out on p. 108-109 where he says:

  • “The Jews began to infiltrate into Jerusalem, occupying the Katamon quarter of the city” (p. 108). Given Jerusalem was at the time predominantly Jewish and had been for over 100 years, this sentence is a bit misleading. The Jews did however, infiltrate Arab Jerusalem, and did take the Arab suburb of Katamon.
  • When speaking of the Etzion bloc, Lunt says “The Jews tried to reinforce the colonists by parachute troops” (p. 108). This is just wrong; the Jews did try to drop supplies, but never people.
  • “The Syrians attacked Samakh at the southern end of the Sea of Galilee and, after a brisk little action, withdrew. they never appeared on the scene again” (p. 109). There was a “brisk little action” at Samakh, but the Syrians also engaged elsewhere.

Segev, T. (2000). One Palestine Complete: Jews and Arabs under the British Mandate. Trans. Haim Watzman. Metropolitan Books.

Covers the history of the British Mandate from 1917 to 1948.

Shamir, S. (2001). The Battle for Jerusalem: How the siege was lifted. Jerusalem: Posner & Sons.

Shlomo Shamir was commander of the newly formed Israeli 7th Brigade that fought in the first two battles of Latrun (1948) and that opened the Burma road to Jerusalem. In this book Shamir is marginally successful in debunking some of the myths about the Latrun battles (e.g. masses of casualties, and sending untrained new immigrants from the ships to their deaths in front of Arab held Latrun). However, the book is poorly written and biased toward the Israelis and the 7th Brigade in particular. Shamir does not manage to excuse all the Israeli mistakes and seems to exaggerate the Arab numbers and equipment. I can forgive him this latter, as the British officers of the Arab legion were equally biased in their writing from the other side. I found the book useful mainly for the information it contains on the organisation and equipment of the 7th Brigade. It contains some fairly sketchy maps of marginal use – the maps don’t mention some of the significant features referred to in the text.

Sharon, A., and Chanoff, D. (2001). Warrior: An Autobiography (2nd ed.). NY: Touchstone.

Sharon’s “autobiography”. Covers the period up until 1983. Naturally biased, but still a good read.

Teveth, S. (1968). The Tanks of Tammuz. ISBN 297 76493 4 Weidenfeld and Nicholson.

David O’Brien of RFCM discussion forum recommends this book. Apparently it doesn’t give much detail on orbats but is great for giving eyewitness accounts and a great flavour of tank action. .

Van Creveld, M. (1998). The Sword and the Olive: A critical history of the Israeli Defense Force. New York: Public Affairs.

A rather scathing critique of the IDF and Israeli politico-military strategy written by an Israeli academic. I was initially wowed by this book – being attracted to revisionist histories – but hindsight suggests I should reappraise the work in light of the understandable desire of academics of all nations to be famous, hence their own attraction to revisionist history. None-the-less a good work, and a relief to read an Israeli military history book that isn’t written by an ex-army man.

Young, P. (1972). The Arab Legion. Men-at-Arms Series. Osprey.

Zaloga, S. (1981). Armor of the Middle East Wars 1948-78. Vanguard Series 19. London: Osprey.

Quite good.

Zaloga, S. (1983). Israeli Tanks and Combat Vehicles. Tanks Illustrated No. 3. London: Arms and Armour Press.

A nice collection of rarely seen photos.

Books I know about but haven’t seen

Concord (??) “Tank Battles of the Mid-East Wars (1) 1948-1973”

I haven’t seen it but a Neil on the SpearHead discussion forum suggested it as a starter, esp for photos.

Henriques, R. (1957). 100 Hours To Suez. NY: Viking Press

Apparently this gives a vivid account by the chief planner of combined operations for Normandy, from mobilization to the banks of the Suez. The author toured the battlefield and interviewed soldiers right after the campaign.

Milstein, U. (1991). The War of Independence Volume IV: Out of Crisis Came Decision. Zamora. [Hebrew text].

Ami Isseroff recommends a book by Uri Milstein as the most detailed book on the War.of Independence.

Mutawi, Samir A. (1987). Jordan in the 1967 War. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. .

Myszka, John (??). Israeli Military Vehicles – The First 50 Years 1948-1998. , Woden, Australia: Mouse House Enterprises. ISBN 0-646-36002-7

Apparently over 220 photos and 40 1/76 scale plans.

O’Ballance, E. (1972). The Third Arab Israeli War. [ISBN 0 571 09214 4]. Faber and Faber

David O’Brien of RFCM discussion forum says this is a good source for the period.

Rothenberg, G. (1979). Anatomy of the israeli army, the from its foundation in 1907. London: Batsford Books.

Apparently the author traces the development of the IFD.

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