10 Things You (Probably) Didn’t Know About the IDF

Learn more about The Army of Defense for Israel

Written by Winston Behle


Founded shortly after the State of Israel in May 1948, the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) serves as the sole military wing of the Israeli special forces and consists of ground forces, air force and navy. But that's just one fact Here are 10 more things you (probably) didn't know:

  1. IWI_IDF_03.pngThe founders of the IDF were so desperately short of resources that up until the 1950s, even senior commanders mostly earned no wage, were in their early twenties and lived by growing their own food.

  2. There are currently 176,500 active soldiers serving in the IDF.

  3. Israel’s Airforce is ranked No. 1 in the world due to its space assets, advanced fighter jets, high-tech armed drones and nuclear weapons. Israeli’s military is ranked No. 1 in the Middle East.

  4. The IDF is one of the world's most informal and least hierarchical armies. Its officers do not come from academies, but rather rise through the ranks solely on the basis of their leadership and command capabilities. Officers often sleep and eat with their soldiers and the army makes scant use of saluting and parades.

  5. The IDF requires conscription, meaning that every 18 year oldmale and femaleis required to serve. Men must serve for three years and women for two. Released soldiers continue serving as reservists into their early 50s, contributing up to over a month's worth of service each year, both training and active service.

  6. IWI_IDF_02-(1).pngWomen typically do not serve in combat roles, though there are female pilots and infantry units that allow women. According to the IDF, 535 female Israeli soldiers were been killed in combat operations between 1962-2016 (the number killed before 1962 is unknown). Women can avoid conscription through a religious exemption, in which more than third of Israeli women do.

  7. Israel is the only country in the world that requires the deaf and hearing impaired to serve in the military. Sign language interpreters are provided during training and many of them serve in noncombat capacities such as mappers, office work, etc.

  8. Since 2006, the IDF has fought in four major engagements, including the Second Lebanon War.

  9. IDF troops do not deploy; they protect Israel, its borders and its people.

  10. IWI_IDF_04.pngThe IDF have their own version of the Navy SEALs called Shayetet 13. The unit is one of the most secretive in the Israeli military and the details of many missions and the identities of active operatives are highly classified. The unit’s motto is, “As the bat emerges from the darkness, As the blade cuts through with silence, As the grenade smashes in rage.” The unit trains extensively in Krav Maga and all manner of weapons. The unit is referred to by others in the military as the “people of silence.”
How many of these did you know about the IDF? Tell us in a comment below.

Joe Kriz | 12/19/2016 9:00:00 AM | 11 comments


I knew #3 & #5.
12/30/2016 3:13:42 PM

God Bless Them.
12/27/2016 7:53:01 PM

Bill Nowicki
Great article!
12/24/2016 10:08:12 AM

I did not realize everyone had to serve in the military. GOD will always have His hand on Israel. May the United States continue to back Israel also.
12/23/2016 9:34:52 AM

Michael McDonnell
I only knew #5 fact.
12/23/2016 12:17:02 AM

I knew half of them. We could improve the entire US youth by adopting a similar system but - Libtards.
12/22/2016 3:48:39 PM

John A. OBrien
I have admired Israel's military for years,and would volunteer to fight with them,if need be.
12/22/2016 1:53:58 PM

Knew about four, number 4, 5, 8, 9. Have always been impressed by the IDFs ability to preform tasks required to protect the population from terror.
12/22/2016 1:53:22 PM

In my day (a long time ago) we referred to Israel as "Fort Apache" and said that a fair fight with the IDF and their enemies was about 40:1 and the IDF would still win!In my opinion, nothing has changed.

If I was up to my butt in alligators, nothing would give me a sense of survival like knowing that the IDF had by back!

12/22/2016 1:26:37 PM

m shaw
Fascinating.I knew 4, 5, and 8. Guess I am not as knowledgeable as I thought. Thanks for the info.
12/22/2016 11:23:46 AM

Sayeret Matkal
I knew since I served
Nice for the others
12/22/2016 11:15:04 AM


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