Who are the Israeli Defense Forces?

The Israeli Defense Forces are the military forces of the State of Israel. They were founded shortly after the states est. in 1948. The group’s security objectives are to defend the existence, territorial integrity and sovereignty of the State of Israel, deter all of Israel’s enemies and curb all forms of terrorism. The October 2014 issue of Business Insider Magazine listed the IDF as the most powerful military in the Middle East and the world’s top air force.

Who serves?

Israel is the only country  in the world where military services make it compulsory for both males and females to enlist. Women constitute approximately one-third of the conscripts and close to 20 percent of the standing professional army. Males serve for three years and females for just less than two years. Israel also has one of the highest recruitment rates in the world — nearly 80 percent of those who receive summons serve. People from all over the world, including Thailand and Indonesia, have served. Those who are exempt from service include most minority groups, those who are not physically or psychologically fit, married women, women with children, religious males who are studying in an accredited Jewish Law institution and religious females who choose to pursue national service and community work.

What about leadership?

After 38 years of service, Lt. General Benny Gantz recently finished his term as the IDF chief of staff. A new chief is to be appointed within the coming weeks.

In recent news?

Recently, the IDF’s dropout rates have come under media attention. Currently, one out of every six men drafted into the IDF drops out before completing his three-year term. Almost 50 percent of soldiers who drop out of the army do so for psychological reasons. In an effort to get a dropout rate of less than 13.5 percent for men and 4.5 percent for women,  IDF has recently added provisions to what is defined as “mentaly unstable to serve” and have increased services available for soldiers during their service.

So what?

The Israel-Palestine conflict continues to cause millions of deaths and displaced people. Understanding significant players in the conflict, such as the IDF, is essential in remaining part of the conversation.

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