Emet Prize Laureates

Prof. Azer Gat

2019 Laureates of Emet Prize

In Category: Social Sciences
In Field: Political Science and Strategy

Azer Gat

Jury Statement

“The EMET Prize is awarded to Prof. Azar Gat for his broad research about war, strategy, and military thought while breaching disciplinary barriers and integrating his expertise in evolution, anthropology, history, and the social sciences.”


Prof. Azar Gatwho completed his B.A. at 19 and his PhD, after service in the IDF, at 27 – isone of the world’s leading scholars of war, strategy, and military thought. The author of many books, and translated into several languages, his War in Human Civilization (Oxford, 2006) has won international acclaim as one of the most significant works on the subject, featuring a comprehensive survey of history’s wars and their changing motivations and aims, alongside an analysis of their psychological, biological, and anthropological roots.

Prof. Gat, who holds Tel Aviv University’s Ezer Weizman Chair in National Security, did not make do with his achievements as a scholar of wars, and proceeded from there to the research of nationalism. His book Nations: The Long History and Deep Roots of Political Ethnicity and Nationalism (Cambridge, 2013), is considered revolutionary in that it challenges the prevalent thesis that nationalism is a modern invention, and argues instead that it represents forces with deep roots which can be traced back to the very beginning of human history.

The combination between his military and social scholarship generated another resonating thesis, that democracy’s victory during the twentieth century does not necessarily reflect any particular property of democracy, but rather results from the huge size of the United States, which won victory for the coalitions it joined. If not for the United States, he argues, Germany and its allies would probably have won both world wars and might have then imposed their form of government on the rest of the world.

On a more optimistic note, in The Causes of War and the Spread of Peace (Oxford, 2017) Prof. Gat argues that wars are becoming less common, and not because their price has risen, but because peace has become more profitable.