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Israel Defense Forces

Combined military forces of Israel / From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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The Israel Defense Forces (IDF; Hebrew: צְבָא הַהֲגָנָה לְיִשְׂרָאֵל Loudspeaker.svgTsva ha-Hagana le-Yisra'el, lit.'The Army of Defense for Israel'), alternatively referred to by the Hebrew-language acronym Tzahal (צה״ל), is the national military of the State of Israel. It consists of three service branches: the Israeli Ground Forces, the Israeli Air Force, and the Israeli Navy.[3] It is the sole military wing of the Israeli security apparatus, and has no civilian jurisdiction within Israel. The IDF is headed by the Chief of the General Staff, who is subordinate to the Israeli Defense Minister.

Quick facts: Israel Defense Forces, Founded, Service branc...
Israel Defense Forces
צבא ההגנה לישראל
Flag of the Israel Defense Forces
Founded26 May 1948; 74 years ago (1948-05-26)
Service branches
Prime MinisterFlag_of_the_Prime_Minister_of_Israel.svg Benjamin Netanyahu
Defense MinisterFlag_of_Israel_Minister_of_Defence.svg Yoav Galant
Chief of the General StaffFlag_of_IDF_Chief_of_Staff.svg Herzi Halevi
Military age17
Conscription24–34 months
Available for
military service
1,554,186 males, age 17–49 (2016),
1,514,063 females, age 17–49 (2016)
Fit for
military service
1,499,998 males, age 17–49 (2016),
1,392,319 females, age 17–49 (2016)
Reaching military
age annually
60,000 males (2016),
60,000 females (2016)
Active personnel169,500[1]
Reserve personnel465,000[1]
BudgetUS$24.3 billion (2021)[2] (ranked 15th)
Percent of GDP5.2% (2021)[2]
Domestic suppliers
Foreign suppliers
Related articles
History1948 Arab–Israeli War (1948–1949)
Reprisal operations (1951–1956)
Sinai War (1956)
Six-Day War (1967)
War of Attrition (1967–1970)
Yom Kippur War (1973)
Operation Litani (1978)
First Lebanon War (1982–1985)
South Lebanon conflict (1985–2000)
First Intifada (1987–1993)
Second Intifada (2000–2005)
Second Lebanon War (2006)
Operation Cast Lead (2008–2009)
Pillar of Defense (2012)
Protective Edge (2014)
Guardian of the Walls (2021)
RanksIsrael Defense Forces ranks

On the orders of David Ben-Gurion, the IDF was formed on 26 May 1948 and began to operate as a conscript military, drawing its initial recruits from the already-existing paramilitaries of the Yishuv—namely Haganah, the Irgun, and Lehi. Since its formation shortly after the Israeli Declaration of Independence, the IDF has participated in every armed conflict involving Israel. While it originally operated on three major fronts—against Lebanon and Syria in the north, against Jordan and Iraq in the east, and against Egypt in the south—the IDF has primarily shifted its focus to southern Lebanon and the Palestinian Territories since the 1979 Egypt–Israel peace treaty and 1994 Israel–Jordan peace treaty. However, notable Israeli–Syrian border incidents have occurred frequently since 2011 due to regional instability caused by the ongoing multi-sided Syrian Civil War.

The IDF is unique among the militaries of the world due to its regulated conscription of women since its formation. It is one of the most prominent institutions in Israeli society due to its influence on the country's economy and political scene. It uses several technologies developed within Israel, with many of them made specifically to cater to its needs in its operational environment in the Levant. Prominent Israeli-developed military equipment includes: the Merkava, a main battle tank; the Achzarit, an armored personnel carrier; Iron Dome, an air defense system; Trophy, an active protection system; the IMI Galil and IWI Tavor families of assault rifles; and the Uzi, a family of submachine guns. Since 1967, the IDF has had a close security relationship with the United States,[4] including in research and development cooperation, with joint efforts on the F-15I, the Tactical High-Energy Laser, and the Arrow, among others.

The IDF is believed to have maintained an operational nuclear weapons capability since 1967, possibly possessing between 80 and 400 nuclear warheads;[5] its nuclear-delivery system structure is widely suspected of having been successfully developed into a nuclear triad, primarily consisting of Jericho land-based intercontinental ballistic missiles, Popeye Turbo maritime-based submarine-launched cruise missiles, and various delivery-capable aircraft.