War, military, combat, ground forces, security… many words flash across our minds when we hear the words “defense force.” Taking a look inside the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF), we see a picture of the human will to defend its own and the heart to thrive. This, in contrast to the common scenes of stoic faces seen across the media.
When was the IDF established?
The IDF was established in 1948, shortly after Israel’s statehood. It is one of the most highly trained military forces in the world.
“In October 2014 the IDF topped Business Insider Magazine’s list of most powerful militaries in the Middle East, and also the list of the top air force's in the entire world. A close security relationship with the United States, as well as a booming defense industry, gave Israel an edge over the other countries on the list.”[i]
The Israeli military is the livelihood for both those serving and civilians. With enemies surrounding Israel, the nation has a deep appreciation and respect for the cultural decision to protect its own.
Men and women in the IDF know that if they don’t protect themselves and teach future generations how to as well, no one else will. They would be left without hope.
Out of necessity, the IDF has become equipped with advanced weaponry intelligence. The daily threat of terrorism is very real along the borders of Israel. Protecting the land and its people are not something taken lightly. The nation depends on the men and women in the defense force.
What makes up the IDF?
The Israeli Defense Forces are technologically driven and has a commitment to innovation. The three areas of defense are:
- Israeli Air Force— The IAF is progressive in terms of technology and innovation. Revolutionary ideas like the Arrow anti-ballistic missile system were born out of Israel’s cutting-edge approach to survival.
Due to Israel’s small size and the reality of missile attacks, the nation understood the life-threatening implications this type of warfare had on civilians. Israel’s Arrow missile battery was the first operational system in the world that could shoot down incoming missiles.
It is for reasons such as this that the U.S. Air Force has begun joint training with Israeli pilots.
- Israeli Navy— The naval arm of the IDF is responsible for insuring offshore nuclear second-strike capabilities. Essential to nuclear war, the Navy is equipped to respond to attacks with progressive retaliation if need be.
- Israeli Ground Forces— The ground forces are comprised of maneuvering and combat support. Tanks, such as the Merkava, were built out of necessity. In the 1970’s some countries refused to sell tanks to the IDF, therefore Israel, known for innovation, built her own.
Today, the Merkava is another cutting-edge technological example, able to be fitted for mission specific armor and having a personal defense missile system.
Israel has been in a constant state of conflict since her statehood in 1948. The nation had a choice to defend and prepare, or lose hope. Because of Israel’s deep roots of steadfast survival, the Jewish nation has sharpened their minds and their weapons, all while still maintaining their culture to care for each other. For this reason, My Olive Tree chooses to stand with Israel, coming alongside soldiers to plant hope for the future.