Israel's defense is based on general military duty (for
Jews and Druze) with an initial service of 36 months (women
24 months). Services for non-Mosaic professors are
voluntary. To see related acronyms about this country, please check ABBREVIATIONFINDER where you can see that ISR stands for Israel. In total, the defense comprises 168,000 men with
408,000 men in reserve. Defense spending has occasionally
been as high as 35% of GDP for a long period. During the
period 1985-90, the proportion fell from 21 to 13% and
(2005) amounts to 6.8%. Israel receives significant support
for defense purposes, including USA, based on agreements
from 1952 and 1984. The country has an advanced defense
industry with a large export share. Officially, Israel does
not dispose of nuclear weapons; However, several sources
indicate that the country has about 200 warheads in the
strategic forces. During the 1991 Kuwait War, Israel took a
cautious stance despite Iraqi action of about 40 Scud
missiles and allowed the grouping of foreign combat forces
into its territory in the form of American and Dutch
anti-aircraft missiles. Since 1996, Israel has an agreement
with Turkey on flight training from bases in Turkey.
The defense (2005) focuses on conflict management,
defense against ground robots and non-conventional weapons
("suicide bombers"). The army with 125,000 men, 625,000 men
fully staffed, is flexible and adapted to the current
situation. The base consists of two mechanized divisions and
four infantry divisions with eight divisions in reserve.
4,300 tanks and a large element of command units/brigades.
The Navy with 5,500 men, 11,500 men fully staffed, disposes
of three submarines and 54 fighters, and the Air Force has
35,000 men, 59,000 men fully manned, with 402 fighter
aircraft and 95 attack helicopters. Semi-military units for
border and coastal surveillance amount to 8,500 men.
The defense equipment is modern. To reduce costs and
other sacrifices for defense purposes, a discussion on
shortened military service time is ongoing, mainly for
reservists, who usually serve one month a year.
Israel's defense overview
The Israeli defense force, Tsva ha-Haganah
LeYisrael (Tzahal, or Zahal), is
internationally known by the English name Israel Defense
Forces (IDF). It consists of the military forces of the
Israeli state, established on May 31, 1948, shortly after
independence, and during the country's liberation war
(Palestine War). The forces have fought several wars against
foreign attackers, and have launched a number of military
operations against targets abroad as well. The IDF is one of
the most important Israeli community institutions, and has
won international recognition for its innovation and
efficiency - as well as criticism for alleged civilian
The IDF's main task is to defend the existence of Israel,
its territory and its population, against external enemies,
and together with other actors contribute to its security.
The IDF, together with a border police, is also responsible
for securing Israeli borders and contributing to the
security of Jewish settlements in occupied areas.
Military strengths and materials
The total force numbers for Israel's armed forces are
169,500 active personnel, with a reserve of 465,000
personnel (2018, IISS). In addition there are about 8000
semi-military border police.
The army has a workforce of 126,000 active personnel,
including 100,000 conscripts. Heavier materials include 490
tanks of a Merkava, about 300 reconnaissance vehicles, and
1,300 armored personnel.
The Air Force has a workforce of 34,000 active personnel.
Material comprising 58 fighters of a F-15 Eagle, 264 combat
aircraft (25 F-15I Ra'am, 225 F-16, including 98 F-16I Sufa,
and 14 F-35I Adir), four ELINT aircraft, six reconnaissance
aircraft, four AEW aircraft 11 tanker, 62 transport, 67
trainers, and 143 helicopters, of which 43 gunships central
Apache). In addition, heavy, medium and light drones.
The Navy has a workforce of 9500 active personnel,
including 2,500 conscripts. The fleet includes five tactical
submarines, three corvettes, 42 patrol vessels, two landings
and three logistics and auxiliary vessels.