Publication Date



Helms School of Government


International Relations


Israel, terrorism, counterterrorism, radical Islamic terrorism, public opinion, intelligence, Six-Day War, Black September, Munich Olympics, Munich Massacre, First Intifada, Beirut Bombing, USS Cole, 9/11, enhanced interrogation techniques, education, ethics, just war, asymmetric war


Defense and Security Studies | Ethics and Political Philosophy | International Relations | Military History | Terrorism Studies | United States History


For Israel, terrorism has plagued the nation since its beginning. Terrorism rears its ugly head in a variety of ways and for a variety of reasons; however, in both the United States and Israel, Islamic extremism has presented itself as the largest threat. Since its birth as a nation, the United States has been involved in numerous conflicts, from the Revolutionary War to World War II and beyond. These wars were fought between nation-states and traditional powers, but since the attacks on 9/11, the United States finds itself in a new kind of conflict against a different kind of enemy. As a conflict between a nation-state and an ideological group, it is unlike anything the United States has participated in before. On the other hand, Israel has spent most of its history battling Islamic extremism, even beyond its time as an official state. Ultimately, this thesis explores the approaches of the United States and Israel take against radical Islamic terrorism and seeks lessons to be learned from Israel to further solidify the United States' dominance against terrorist threats. Military might and diplomacy have been enough for the United States to be successful in the past but those techniques are not proven against an ideology like Islamic extremism, which is so radical that its followers strive to be martyred for it. Until now, the United States led the rest of the world in military and intelligence capabilities but under pressure from this immediate and continuous threat, understanding how to adapt to the everchanging fight against terrorism will be crucial.