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The Israel Defense Forces

2 December 2016

The Israel Defense Forces, often abbreviated as IDF, is the official name of the Israeli army. Its job is to protect the citizens of Israel and to fight against all forms of terrorism that endanger their lives. Partly thanks to the IDF, Israel holds the number 8 spot on the list of the most powerful countries in the world.

Establishment of the Israel Defense Forces

Israeli Defense Forces ceremony

View of an Israeli soldiers fraternity ceremony on the Western Wall plaza in the old city of Jerusalem in the evening.

On 26 May 1948, Israel founded the Israel Defense Forces. This happened more than a week after the declaration of the Jewish state of Israel. The IDF is a successor to the Haganah. The Haganah was a Zionist paramilitary organization that protected the Jewish community during British Mandatory Palestine.


In Israel, every young person from the age of 18 has to fulfill active military duty. A minimum of three years applies for men and two years for women. During this period of service, they follow training courses that prepare them for complex situations. Young people in an officer program are obliged to follow an extra year of service. When the active service years have been completed, the reserve service follows. Both men and women are called up for active duty several weeks a year. Women only have to return for a few years, but men have standby duty until they are forty years old.

Today, the IDF also has a special program for people suffering from Asperger’s Syndrome. This program taps into the autistic soldier’s unique spatial intelligence and visual perception.