Israel Defense ForcesEmblem of the IDF
The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) (Hebrew: צבא ההגנה לישראל Tsva HaHagana LeYisrael (help·info), "Defense Military of Israel", commonly known in Israel by the Hebrew acronym צה"ל, pronounced Tsahal), are Israel's military forces, comprising the Israeli Army, Air Force and Sea Corps. Israel has produced one of the strongest armies in the world despite it's size. The IDF is credited with some of the greatest military victories in modern warfare.
- 1 History
- 2 Overview
- 3 Expenditures and alliances
- 4 High command (General Staff)
- 5 Weapons and equipment
- 6 Ranks and insignia
- 7 Code of Conduct
- 8 Controversies
- 9 Counterterrorism tactics
- 10 See also
- 11 References and footnotes
- 12 External links
HistoryMilitary of Israel
Military age 18 Conscription 18 Available for
military service 1,499,186 males, age 17-49 (2000 est.),
1,462,063 females, age 17-49 (2000 est.) Fit for
military service 1,226,903 males, age 17-49 (2000 est.),
1,192,319 females, age 17-49 (2000 est.) Reaching military
age annually 50,348 males (2000 est.),
47,996 females (2000 est.) Active personnel 168,000 (ranked 33rd) Expenditures Budget $18.7 billion (FY99) Percent of GDP 9.4% (FY99)
- Main articles: History of the Israel Defense Forces and Military operations conducted by the Israeli Defense Forces
The IDF was founded May 26, 1948 after the establishment of the state of Israel "to protect the inhabitants of Israel and to combat all forms of terrorism which threaten the daily life". The IDF succeeded the Haganah (in particular, its operational branch, the Palmach) as the permanent army of the Jewish state. It was also joined by former elements of the Jewish Brigade that fought under the British flag during World War II.
After the establishment of the IDF the two Jewish underground organizations the Etzel and Lehi joined with the IDF in a loose confederation but were allowed to operate independently in some sectors until the end of the 1948 Arab-Israeli War, after which these two organizations were disbanded, and their members integrated into the IDF. The modern IDF came into existence during the period from 1949 to 1956 by experience gained through regional conflicts with their Arab neighbors. From 1956 to 1966, the IDF faced less conflict and used this time to purchase new equipment and change from an upstart army to a professional fighting force. As well, this period allegedly saw Israel develop its nuclear capability. Following these developments, the IDF increasingly emerged as one of the most powerful and modern military forces in the world recognized by many as "The Modern Sparta". 
Men serve three years in the IDF, while women serve two. The IDF allowed women who volunteer for several combat positions to serve for three years because combat soldiers must undergo a lengthy period of training. Women in other positions, such as programmers, who require lengthy training time may also serve three years. Women in most combat positions are also required to serve as reserve for several years after their dismissal from regular service.IDF soldiers of the religious 97th "Netzah Yehuda" Infantry Battalion. Female soldiers at the train station.
Men in the Haredi community may choose to be exempt while enrolled in yeshivot (see Tal committee), a practice that is a source of tension. Haredim are allowed to serve in the IDF in an atmosphere conducive to their religious convictions (for example, in a Hesder unit). However, most Haredim do not serve in the IDF.
Women in the IDF
Following their active service, women, like men, are in theory required to serve up to one month annually in reserve duty. However, in practice only some women in combat roles get called for active reserve duty, and only for a few years following their active service, with many exit points (e.g., pregnancy).
Apart from the 1948 Arab-Israeli War, when manpower shortages saw many of them taking active part in battles on the ground, women were historically barred from battle in the IDF, serving in a variety of technical and administrative support roles. During this period the IDF utilized female instructors for training male soldiers in certain roles, particularly tank crews. After a landmark 1994 High Court appeal by Alice Miller, a Jewish immigrant from South Africa, the Air Force was instructed to open its pilots course to women (several served as transport pilots during the first Arab-Israeli War in 1948 and "Operation Kadesh" in 1956, but the Air Force later closed its ranks to women fliers). Miller failed the entrance exams, but since her initiative, many additional combat roles were opened. As of 2005, women are allowed to serve in 83% of all positions in the military, including Shipboard Navy Service (except submarines), and Artillery. Combat roles are voluntary for women.
As of 2002, 33% of lower rank officers are women, 21% of Captains and Majors, and 3% of the most senior ranks.
450 women currently serve in combat units of Israel's security forces, primarily in the Border Police. Yael Rom, the first female pilot in the Israeli Air Force earned her wings in 1951. The first female jet fighter pilot, Roni Zuckerman, received her wings in 2001. In November 2007 the first woman was appointed to the rank of deputy squadron commander.
In a controversial move, the IDF abolished its "Women's Corps" command in 2001, with a view that it had become an anachronism and a stumbling block towards integration of women in the army as regular soldiers with no special status. However, after pressures from feminist lobbies, The Chief of Staff was persuaded to keep an "adviser for women's affairs".
Minorities in the IDFThis section does not citeany references or sources. (October 2007)
Please help improve this sectionby adding citations to reliable sources. Unverifiablematerial may be challenged and removed.
Druze and Circassians are subject to mandatory conscription to the IDF just like Israeli Jews. Originally, they served in the framework of a special unit called "The Minorities' Unit", which still exists today, in the form of the Harev independent battalion. However, since the 1980s Druze soldiers have increasingly protested this practice, which they considered a means of segregating them and denying them access to elite units. The army has increasingly admitted Druze soldiers to regular combat units and promoting them to higher ranks from which they had been previously excluded. In recent years, several Druze officers have reached ranks as high as Major General and many have received commendations for distinguished service. It is important to note that, proportionally to their numbers, the Druze people achieve much higher—documented—levels in the Israeli army than other soldiers. Nevertheless, some Druze still charge that discrimination continues, such as exclusion from the Air Force, although the official low security classification for Druze has been abolished for some time. The first Druze aircraft navigator completed his training course in 2005; his identity is protected as with all air force pilots. After the battle of Ramat Yohanan during the Israel's War of Independence, approximately 1000 Syrian Druze soldiers and officers deserted and joined Israel.
The issue of their mandatory conscription, unlike other Israeli Arab citizens, is the subject of an ongoing controversy inside the Druze community itself. Since the late 1970s the Druze Initiative Committee centered at the village of Beit Jan and linked to the Israeli Communist Party had been campaigning to abolish Druze conscription - arguing that the Druze are Arabs and Palestinians and should not be compelled to fight their brothers and sisters; that Druze conscription was instituted in 1956 following an appeal by the heads of the Druze community to then PM Ben Gurion which should not be considered binding on youths born many decades later.The factual accuracy of this article is disputed.
Please see the relevant discussion on the talk page. (March 2008)
By law, all Israeli citizens are subject to conscription and it is the Defense Minister's complete discretion to grant exemption to individual citizens or classes of citizens. A long-standing policy dating to Israel's early years extends an exemption to all other Israeli minorities (most notably Israeli Arabs). However, there is a long-standing government policy of encouraging Bedouins to volunteer and offer them various inducements, and in some impoverished Bedouin communities a military career seems one of the few means of (relative) social mobility available.An Israeli checkpoint on the West Bank.
From among non-Bedouin Arab citizens, the number of volunteers for military service—some Christian Arabs and even a few Muslim Arabs—is minute, and the government makes no special effort to increase it. Six Israeli Arabs have received orders of distinction as a part of their military service; of them the most famous is a Bedouin officer, Lieutenant Colonel Abd el-Amin Hajer (also known as Amos Yarkoni), who received the Order of Distinction. Recently, a Bedouin officer was promoted to the rank of Colonel.
Until the second term of Yitzchak Rabin as Prime Minister, social benefits given to families in which at least one member (including a grandfather, uncle or cousin) had served at some time in the armed forces were significantly higher than to "non-military" families, which was considered a means of blatant discrimination between Jews and Arabs. Rabin had led the abolition of the measure, in the teeth of strong opposition from the Right. At present, the only official advantage from military service is the attaining of security clearance and serving in some types of government positions (in most cases, security-related), as well as some indirect benefits. In practice, however, a large number of Israeli employers placing "wanted" ads include the requirement "after military service" even when the job is in no way security-related, which is considered as a euphemism for "no Arab/Haredim need apply". The test of former military service is also frequently applied in admittance to various newly-founded communities, effectively barring Arabs from living there. Also, the Israeli national airline El Al hires only pilots who had served in the Air Force, which in practice excludes Arabs from the job.
On the other hand, non-Arab Israelis argue that the mandatory three-year (two years for women) military service puts them at a disadvantage, as they effectively lose three years of their life through their service in the IDF, while the Arab Israelis are able to start right into their jobs after school, or study at a university. In fact, the most frequently heard argument whenever the subject of the discrimination of Arabs comes up - whether on the Knesset floor, in the media or among ordinary citizens - is that the Arabs' "non fulfillment of military duty" justifies their exclusion from some or all the benefits of citizenship. The late former general Rafael Eitan, when he went into politics in the 1980s, proposed that the right to vote be linked to military service. The idea occasionally crops up again among right-wing groups and parties.
According to the 2004 U.S. State Department Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for Israel and the occupied territories, "Israeli Arabs were not required to perform mandatory military service and, in practice, only a small percentage of Israeli Arabs served in the military. Those who did not serve in the army had less access than other citizens to social and economic benefits for which military service was a prerequisite or an advantage, such as housing, new-household subsidies, and employment, especially government or security-related industrial employment. Regarding the latter, for security reasons, Israeli Arabs generally were restricted from working in companies with defense contracts or in security-related fields."
In recent years, there have been several initiatives to enable Israeli Arabs to volunteer for civilian National Service instead of to the IDF, completion of which would grant the same privileges as those granted to IDF veterans. However, this plan has gained strong resistance from Arab members of the parliament, and as a result, has not been implemented yet.
Since 1993, homosexuals have been allowed to openly serve in the military, including special units.
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Please improve this articleif you can (October 2007).
Foreigners typically serve with the IDF in one of four ways:
- The Mahal-IDF-Volunteers program is for young non-Israeli Jews (men younger than 24 and women younger than 21). The program consists typically of 14 1/2 of IDF service, including a lengthy training for those in combat units or 1 month of non-combat training and additional 3 months of learning Hebrew after enlisting, if necessary. Volunteering for longer service is possible. There are also two subcategories of Mahal, both geared solely for religious men: Mahal Nahal Haredi - 14 1/2 months, and Mahal Hesder, which combines yeshiva study of 6 1/2 months with IDF service of 14 1/2 months (for a total of 21 months). Similar IDF programs exist for Israeli overseas residents. Volunteers can register online on the http://mahal-idf-volunteers.org website.
- Sar-El is a program for non-Israeli citizens, Jews and non-Jews, who are 16 years or older. It usually consists of three weeks unarmed auxiliary service with (not in) the IDF.
- Garin Tzabar is a program mainly for North American Jews. Although a basic knowledge of the Hebrew language is not mandatory, it is helpful. Of all the programs listed, only Garin Tzabar does not offer a less than full length service in the IDF. The program is set up in stages: first the participants go through five seminars in the country of origin, and then one has the absorption period in Israel at a Kibbutz. Each Garin is adopted by a Kibbutz in Israel and has living quarters designated for the Garin. The Garin shares responsibilities on the Kibbutz when on military leave. Participants start the program 3 months before being enlisted in the army at the beginning of August.
- Marva is a program for anyone who is 18 years or older. The program consists of two months of actual basic training in the Israel Defense Forces.
Following regular service, men may be called for reserve service of up to one month annually, until the age of 43-45 (reservists may volunteer after this age), and may be called for active duty immediately in times of crisis. In most cases, the reserve duty is carried out in the same unit for years, in many cases the same unit as the active service and by the same people. Many soldiers who have served together in active service continue to meet in reserve duty for years after their discharge, causing reserve duty to become a strong male bonding experience in Israeli society. A well-known Israeli joke refers to civilians as soldiers on 11-month furlough.
Although still available to be called up in times of crisis, most Israeli men, and virtually all women, do not actually perform reserve service in any given year. Units do not always call up all of their reservists every year, and a variety of exemptions are available if called for regular reserve service. Virtually no exemptions exist for reservists called up in a time of crisis, but experience has shown that in such cases (most recently, Second Lebanon War in 2006) exemptions are rarely requested or exercised; units generally achieve recruitment rates above those considered fully-manned.
Recently, legislation has been proposed for reform in the reserve service, lowering the maximum service age to 40, designating it as a purely emergency force, as well as many other changes to the current structure (although the Defence Minister can suspend any portion of it at any time for security reasons). The age threshold for many reservists whose positions are not listed, though, will be fixed at 49. The legislation is set out to take effect by 13 March 2008.A Magav Sufa in Jerusalem with the Mount of Olives in the background.
Border Guard service
Some IDF soldiers will serve their mandatory military service in the Mishmar HaGvul (Magav), the Israel Border Police - a section of the Israel Police. Once the soldiers complete their IDF combat training they undergo additional counter-terror and Border Guard training. They are then assigned to any one of the Border Guard units around the country.
The Border Guard units fight side by side with the regular IDF combat units. They also are responsible for security in heavy urban areas such as the City of Jerusalem.
Many officers in the Border Guard come from the IDF combat units. While the Border Guard does retain their own command structure, on the ground they are almost indistinguishable from the regular IDF units.
Expenditures and alliances
- See also Israel-United States military relations.
During 1950-66, Israel spent an average of 9% of its GDP on defense. Defense expenditures increased dramatically after both the 1967 and 1973 wars. They reached a high of about 24% of GDP in the 1980s, but have since come back down to about 9%, about $15 billion, following the signing of peace agreements with Jordan and Egypt.
In 1983, the United States and Israel established a Joint Political Military Group, which convenes twice a year. Both the U.S. and Israel participate in joint military planning and combined exercises, and have collaborated on military research and weapons development. Additionally the U.S. military maintains two classified, pre-positioned War Reserve Stocks in Israel valued at $493 million. Israel has the official distinction of being an American Major non-NATO ally. As a result of this, The US and Israel share the vast majority of their security and military technology.
Since 1976, Israel had been the largest annual recipient of U.S. foreign assistance. In 2004, Israel was receiving $2.16 billion a year in Foreign Military Financing (FMF) grants from the Department of Defense. This amount has increased in recent years due to non-military economic aid being shifted to military aid. A large proportion of this military aid is for the purchase of American military equipment only.
High command (General Staff)For a list of individual members (2005), see Israeli General Staff.
All branches of the IDF are subordinate to a single General Staff. The Chief of the General Staff (Hebrew acronym: רמטכ"ל, pronounced: Ramatkal) is the only serving officer having the rank of Lieutenant General (in Hebrew: רב אלוף, pronounced: "Rav Aluf"). He reports directly to the Defense Minister and indirectly to the Prime Minister of Israel and the cabinet. Chiefs of Staff are formally appointed by the cabinet, based on the Defense Minister's recommendation, for three years, but the government can vote to extend their service to four (and in rare occasions even five) years. The current chief of staff is (Lieutenant) General (Rav-Aluf) Gabi Ashkenazi. He replaced Dan Halutz, who announced his resignation on January 17, 2007, following a critical report by former Chief of Staff Dan Shomron concerning some aspects of the 2006 Lebanon War.
Land-based Force structure
The IDF is composed of the following bodies (those whose respective heads are members of the General Staff are in bold):Structure of the IDF land-based Forces. (click to enlarge)
- Air and Space Arm
- Sea Arm
- Israeli Iran Command (created summer 2006, commanded by Major General Eliezer Shkedi)
- Military Advocate General
- Military Court of Appeals
- Financial Advisor to the Chief of Staff
- Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories
- Military Academies
- Command and Staff College
- Military Secretary of the Prime Minister
The following bodies work closely with the IDF, but do not (or only partially) belong to its formal structure (those whose respective heads are members of the General Staff are in bold).
- Israel Military Industries (IMI)
- Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI)
- Rafael Advanced Defense Systems Ltd.
- Administration for the Development of Weapons and the Technological Industry
Weapons and equipment
- Main article: Military equipment of Israel
Israeli military technology
The IDF possesses top-of-the-line weapons and computer systems used and recognized worldwide. Some is American-made (with some equipment being modified for IDF use) such as the M4A1 assault rifle, F-15 Eagle and F-16 Fighting Falcon jets and Apache helicopter). Israel also has developed its own independent weapons industry, which has developed weapons and vehicles such as the Merkava battle tank series, Kfir fighter aircraft, and various small arms such as the Galil and Tavor assault rifles and the Uzi submachine gun.
The IDF also has several large internal research and development departments, and it purchases many technologies produced by the Israeli security industries including IAI, IMI, Elbit, El-Op, Rafael, Soltam and dozens of smaller firms. Many of these developments have been battle-tested in Israel's numerous military engagements, making the relationship mutually beneficial, the IDF getting tailor-made solutions and the industries a very high repute.An Israeli Merkava main battle tank.
Main Israeli developments
Israel's military technology is most famous for its guns, armored fighting vehicles (tanks, tank-converted APCs, armoured bulldozers, etc.) and rocketry (missiles and rockets). Israel also designs and in some cases it has manufactured aircraft (Kfir, Lavi; both discontinued) and naval systems (patrol and missile ships). Much of the IDF's electronic systems (intelligence, communication, command and control, navigation etc.) are Israeli-developed, including many systems installed on foreign platforms (esp. aircraft, tanks and submarines). So are many of its precision-guided munitions.
Israel is the only country in the world with an operational anti-ballistic missile defense system ("Hetz", Arrow, developed with funding and technology from the United States), though an operational system is in place protecting the Moscow area. Israel has also worked with the U.S. on development of a tactical high energy laser system against medium range rockets (called Nautilus or THEL).
Israel has the independent capability of launching reconnaissance satellites into orbit (a capability which only Russia, the United States, the United Kingdom, France, Germany, the People's Republic of China, India, Japan and Ukraine hold). Both the satellites (Ofeq) and the launchers (Shavit) were developed by the Israeli security industries.An Israeli Wolf APC.
Israel is also said to have developed an indigenous nuclear capability, although no official details or acknowledgments have ever been publicized. On the issue of this nuclear weapons program, Israel chooses to follow a policy of deliberate ambiguity.
Israel has also recently purchased the brand new APC, The Wolf Armoured Vehicle, to be used in urban warfare and to protect an official.
Ranks and insignia
Unlike most world armies, these ranks are common for all corps in the IDF, including the air force and navy. All enlisted ranks, as well as some of the officer and NCO ranks, are given as a result of time spent in service, an not for accomplishment or merit.
NCOs past mandatory service (Nagadim)
- First Sergeant (Rav Samal)
- Master Sergeant (Rav Samal Rishon)
- Sergeant Major (Rav Samal Mitkadem)
- Warrant Officer (Rav Samal Bakhir)
- Chief Warrant Officer (Rav Nagad)
Academic officers (Ktzinim Akadema'im)
- Katzin Miktzo'i Akadema'i
- Katzin Akadema'i Bakhir
- Second Lieutenant (Segen Mishneh)
- Lieutenant (Segen)
- Captain (Seren)
- Major (Rav Seren)
- Lieutenant Colonel (Sgan Aluf)
- Colonel (Aluf Mishneh)
- Brigadier General (Tat Aluf)
- Major General (Aluf)
- Lieutenant General/General (Rav Aluf)
Code of Conduct
In 1992, the IDF drafted a Code of Conduct that is a combination of international law, Israeli law, Jewish heritage and the IDF's own traditional ethical code - the IDF Spirit (Hebrew: רוח צה"ל, Ru'ah Tzahal).
The Stated Values of the IDF
- Tenacity of Purpose in Performing Missions and Drive to Victory - "The IDF servicemen and women will fight and conduct themselves with courage in the face of all dangers and obstacles; They will persevere in their missions resolutely and thoughtfully even to the point of endangering their lives."
- Responsibility - "The IDF servicemen or women will see themselves as active participants in the defense of the state, its citizens and residents. They will carry out their duties at all times with initiative, involvement and diligence with common sense and within the framework of their authority, while prepared to bear responsibility for their conduct."
- Credibility - "The IDF servicemen and women shall present things objectively, completely and precisely, in planning, performing and reporting. They will act in such a manner that their peers and commanders can rely upon them in performing their tasks."
- Personal Example - "The IDF servicemen and women will comport themselves as required of them, and will demand of themselves as they demand of others, out of recognition of their ability and responsibility within the military and without to serve as a deserving role model."
- Human Life - "The IDF servicemen and women will act in a judicious and safe manner in all they do, out of recognition of the supreme value of human life. During combat they will endanger themselves and their comrades only to the extent required to carry out their mission."
- Purity of Arms - "The soldier shall make use of his weaponry and power only for the fulfillment of the mission and solely to the extent required; he will maintain his humanity even in combat. The soldier shall not employ his weaponry and power in order to harm non-combatants or prisoners of war, and shall do all he can to avoid harming their lives, body, honor and property."
- Professionalism - "The IDF servicemen and women will acquire the professional knowledge and skills required to perform their tasks, and will implement them while striving continuously to perfect their personal and collective achievements."
- Discipline - "The IDF servicemen and women will strive to the best of their ability to fully and successfully complete all that is required of them according to orders and their spirit. IDF soldiers will be meticulous in giving only lawful orders, and shall refrain from obeying blatantly illegal orders."
- Comradeship - "The IDF servicemen and women will act out of fraternity and devotion to their comrades, and will always go to their assistance when they need their help or depend on them, despite any danger or difficulty, even to the point of risking their lives."
- Sense of Mission - "The IDF soldiers view their service in the IDF as a mission; They will be ready to give their all in order to defend the state, its citizens and residents. This is due to the fact that they are representatives of the IDF who act on the basis and in the framework of the authority given to them in accordance with IDF orders."
Code of Conduct against militants and Palestinian civilians
Recently, a team of professors, commanders and former judges, led by Tel Aviv University the holder of the Ethics chair, Professor Asa Kasher, developed a code of conduct which emphasizes the right behavior in low intensity warfare against terrorists, where soldiers must operate within a civilian population. Reserve units and regular units alike are taught the following eleven rules of conduct, which are an addition to the more general IDF Spirit:
- Military action can only be taken against military targets.
- The use of force must be proportional.
- Soldiers may only use weaponry they were issued by the IDF.
- Anyone who surrenders cannot be attacked.
- Only those who are properly trained can interrogate prisoners.
- Soldiers must accord dignity and respect to the Palestinian population and those arrested.
- Soldiers must give appropriate medical care, when conditions allow, to oneself and one's enemy.
- Pillaging is absolutely and totally illegal.
- Soldiers must show proper respect for religious and cultural sites and artifacts.
- Soldiers must protect international aid workers, including their property and vehicles.
- Soldiers must report all violations of this code.
The IDF has become embroiled in a number of controversies over its human rights record, and has been increasingly accused by such organisations such as B'tselem, Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch of violating the laws of war. Its supporters dismiss such accusations as biased that they do not take into account the reality of the threats faced by the IDF.
Several specific allegations of killings of prisoners of war by members of the IDF have been made by former members with regard to incidents in the 1956 Sinai War and the 1967 Six-Day War. On June 8, 1967, during the Six-Day War, IDF forces fired on a U.S. Navy intelligence ship, USS Liberty in the USS Liberty incident, the IDF forces mistook the Liberty for an Egyptian naval vessel, as it was not in international waters. The attack resulted in the deaths of 34 U.S. servicemen and injuries to 173 others.
In September, 1982, it is alleged by some Arab and other left-wing groups that IDF forces permitted Lebanese Phalangist troops to enter the Sabra and Shatilla refugee camps. The Lebanese troops then carried out a massacre of Palestinian civilians. Tens of thousands of Israelis demonstrated against the killings and the Knesset appointed commission of inquiry, presided over by Yitzhak Kahan. The commission found (p.104 of its report) that Minister of Defense Arial Sharon bore indirect personal responsibility.
Gaza Strip, West Bank
Palestinian news agencies, and the Palestinian Center for Human Rights, as well as some pro-Palestinian activists abroad, call the IDF the "Israeli Occupation Forces" ("IOF") rather than "Israel Defense Forces." This attempt to reframe discourse has been recommended by some Palestinian activists and rejected by others.
Owing to the ongoing Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the tactics of the IDF have been adapted for low intensity warfare primarily against Palestinian militants operating from within densely-populated civilian territory.
The IDF employs a strategy of "focused foiling" (Hebrew: סיכול ממוקד, Sikul Memukad) of Palestinian terrorists, often referred to as "targeted killing" or "targeted assassination", aimed at preventing future acts of violence by killing terrorists who have been previously responsible for Israeli deaths or injuries, and are thought to be about to commit more acts of terrorism such as suicide bombings. Those "focused foilings" are possible thanks to human intelligence providers who warn in advance that such an act is about to be committed.
- Main article: House demolition in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict
The IDF has historically used a strategy of demolishing houses of family members of suicide bombers, originally claiming that this was a very effective prevention tactic: would-be bombers' families sometimes prevent the bomber, sometimes even going as far as informing to the IDF, in the hope of preventing their family-member's death as well as their house being demolished. Some would-be bombers even relented at the last moment, fearing their parent's home would be demolished. Critics, including human right organizations, contend that effectiveness (i.e., actually preventing Israeli civilians' deaths in a terrorist attack) does not legitimize excessive force.
During the recent conflict, the number of houses demolished has increased significantly, both as the result of an increase in the number of suicide bombers, as well as due to more lenient criteria for house demolition. The IDF now routinely demolishes houses from which shots were fired at nearby traffic or settlements, houses harboring concealed Smuggling tunnel entrances in the Gaza strip, and for other security reasons.
Another main source for house demolition is in the course of fighting. After several IDF soldiers were killed early in the conflict while searching houses containing militants, the IDF started employing a tactic of surrounding such houses, calling on the occupants (civilian and militant) to exit, and demolishing the house on top of the militants that do not surrender. This tactic, called "Noal Sir Lachatz" נוהל סיר לחץ "Pressure Pot" ,is now used whenever feasible (i.e., non multi-rise building that's separated from other houses). Palestinians claim several cases in which houses were demolished on top of incapacitated or deaf civilian occupants. However, the IDF claims that in the vast majority of cases the occupants were militants. In some heavy fighting incidents, esp. in the Battle of Jenin 2002 and Operation Rainbow in Rafah 2004, heavily-armored IDF Caterpillar D9 bulldozers were used to demolish houses to widen alleyways or to secure locations for IDF troops. The use of the D9 proved to be effective, as it prevented further casualties in Jenin and prevented casualties at Rafah.
Palestinians and international organizations say the use of bulldozers for purposes of demolishing civilian structures is illegal. In one well-known incident, International Solidarity Movement activist Rachel Corrie was killed when she tried to obstruct a Caterpillar D9 armoured bulldozer in Rafah after being ordered several times by the IDF soldiers to exit the area of the demolition.
In the summer 2005, after numerous houses had been destroyed, the Israeli army itself came to the conclusion that these demolitions had outgrown their usefulness and announced putting an end to this policy. This does not however mean that, as part of its low intensity warfare doctrine, the IDF would not destroy civilian homes that are used by enemy combatants.
- Arab-Israeli conflict
- Israeli Security Forces
- History of the Israel Defense Forces
- Israel Defense Forces ranks and insignia
- Israel Defense Forces insignia
- List of brigades in the Israeli Defence Forces
- Israeli Air Force
- Mottoes of IDF units
- Krav Maga
References and footnotes
- ^ Global Security entry
- ^ a b "First woman pilot in Israeli Air Force dies", The Jewish news weekly of Northern California, June 2, 2005. Accessed Jan 20, 2008.
- ^ Azoulay, Yuval "Israel Air Force appoints first female deputy squadron commander", Haaretz, November 28, 2007. Accessed Jan 20, 2008.
- ^ Seitz, Charmaine. Israel's Defense Budget: The Business Side of War,". The Jerusalem Fund. Retrieved on 2008-05-30.
- ^ Global Security.org. 31st Munitions Squadron [31st MUNS]. Retrieved on 2007-10-10.
- ^ US House of Representatives. Summary and Analysis of the President's 2004 Budget. Retrieved on 2007-10-10.
- ^ US State Department. Congressional Budget Justification for Foreign Operations. Retrieved on 2007-10-10.
- ^ "Halutz names officer to prepare for possible war with Iran" from Haaretz
- ^ "A Soldier's Confession", Time magazine, August 28, 1995
- ^ "Opening Grave Wounds", Time magazine, October 2, 1995
- ^ 'Suggested language for talking about the Palestinian struggle for self-determination.' Palestine Media Watch
- ^ Mor, Ben D. 'Strategic Self-Preservation in Public Diplomacy: The Israeli-Palestinian Case.' Paper presented at the annual conference of the Midwest Political Science Association, Chicago 04-2003
- ^ Finkelstein,
Norman. 'How can we help the Palestinian cause?' Workshop hosted by
The Federation of Student Islamic Societies at Birkbeck College, University of
Quote: "It is the IDF, and it's also illegally occupying Gaza, it's illegally invading them. But don't use terminology which is going to make it seem as if you're a propagandist. Use the terminology that everybody else uses. [...] You should insist on [the term "occupation."] But I would not use 'IOF.' It's 'IDF.' We don't have to become propagandists because we could just use the mainstream [term] and still succeed."
- ^ Human Rights Watch - Mass Home Demolitions in the Gaza Strip
- Rosenthal, Donna. The Israelis. Free Press, 2003, ISBN 0-7432-7035-5
External linksWikimedia Commons has media related to: Israel Defense Forces
- IDF official website
- IDF Code of Conduct
- The IDF Spirit - the ethical code of the IDF
- Palestinian violence and terror attacks since September 2000
- A list of Israeli civilians who died during Palestinian terror attacks since September 2000
- CNN.com Special - Victims of Terror
- isayeret.com - The Israeli Special Forces Database
- Israeli Weapons
- Jerusalem volunteer Border Guard
- Israeli Armed Forces at Flags of the World
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Afghanistan · Armenia · Azerbaijan1 · Bahrain · Bangladesh · Bhutan · Brunei · Burma (Myanmar) · Cambodia · China* · Cyprus · East Timor1 · Egypt1 · Georgia1 · India · Indonesia1 · Iran · Iraq · Israel · Japan · Jordan · Kazakhstan1 · Korea (North Korea · South Korea) · Kuwait · Kyrgyzstan · Laos · Lebanon · Malaysia · Maldives · Mongolia · Nepal · Northern Cyprus2 · Oman · Pakistan · Palestinian territories3 · Philippines · Qatar · Russia1 · Saudi Arabia · Singapore · Sri Lanka · Syria · Tajikistan · Thailand · Turkey1 · Turkmenistan · United Arab Emirates · Uzbekistan · Vietnam · Yemen1Transcontinental country. 2 Only recognised by Turkey. 3 Not fully independent.
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