A lack of long-range comprehensive strategic planning is evident in much of the Israeli government's actions and was one of the main criticisms of the Winograd Commission Report on the second Lebanon war. The National Security Council, which was founded in 1999, was supposed to act as a national planning forum, but political and personal calculations have limited its influence.
The Reut Institute, which was founded in 2004, is one of the more serious private organisations that have tried to fill the vacuum. Founded by Gidi Grinstein, a former senior official in the Prime Minister's office during Ehud Barak's premiership, it has aimed to supply strategic policy planning to government agencies. Staffed by a team of bright young researchers, working on a wide range of issues from national security to social services and the future of the Jewish people, the institute regularly publishes wide-ranging reports on issues of public urgency.
Although it has behind-the-scenes influence, Reut's main impact has been in the media, which has highlighted some of the institute's papers and the lack of serious government policy in related areas.
"They are one of the most serious think-tanks in the country," says one appreciative senior official.