Since 1948, the State of Israel has not only experienced many wars per se, but several succeeding species of war – conventional, economic, and terrorist. Historically, as one mode of war failed to overwhelm the Jewish State, a process of strategic adaptation on the part of its foes has taken place, resulting time and time again in the emergence of succeeding species of attack. When a shift from an old to a new mode of war takes place, Israel is called upon to recognize the emerging species of assault, conceptualize it correctly, assess the nature and seriousness of the threat, and adapt its own strategic concepts, institutions, and behavior to counter it. The ability to identify an emerging species of war swiftly, understand it correctly, and respond to it effectively, is thus a critical challenge for Israel’s national security.
This article contends that we are currently in the midst of the latest historic shift in the species of war waged against the Jewish State. The new species of war is Hybrid War in which anti-western states and armed Non-State Actors (NSA's) form transnational alliances, exploit ungoverned spaces, hijack global institutions, and abuse international law to wage military, terrorist, media, diplomatic, and legal battle against Western democracies. The new mode of war is therefore "hybrid" in two fundamental senses: in the formation of novel types of State-NSA alliances, and in the utilization of the panoply of instruments of attack, ranging from the sub-national to the international, from hard to soft. Both are enabled by globalization and the proliferation of technologies that empower organizations, networks, and even single individuals as never before.