An outsider looking in may find mandatory military service in the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) hard-edged. However, to truly understand a culture or country, you must take a look inside the history and heart of the people.
The Jewish nation was recognized as a state in 1948. This meant they had the ability to finally establish the land that was promised to them through biblical prophecy. This sparked more passion within the Jewish nation. The unity among the people continued to grow as they defended their Holy Land.
Israel’s first Prime Minister, David Ben-Gurion, could see the need to be proactive and advanced when it came to defense. Even when victorious, the nation’s security and freedom depended on unification and perseverance.
“Let us not be intoxicated with victory. To many people, and not only among ourselves, it would appear to be a miracle: a small nation of 700,000 persons stood up against six nations numbering 30 million. However, none of us knows whether the trial by bloodshed has yet ended. The enemy forces in the neighboring countries and in the world at large have not yet despaired of their scheme to annihilate Israel in its own land or at least to pare away its borders, and we do not yet know whether the recent war, which we fought in the Negev and which ended in victory for the IDF, is the last battle or not, and as long as we cannot be confident that we have won the last battle, let us not glory.”—David Ben-Gurion[i]
Rite of Passage.
It is a rite of passage to be drafted into Israel’s military at the age of 18. Men typically serve almost three years and women two years. This varies depending upon positions. After the time of service is completed, they typically move on to a second career.
The culture of Israel’s military creates a unique mind-set among young men and women. Viewing their service as a milestone, it shapes them into responsible citizens who stand together, regardless of personal differences, and prepares them for their future.
Surrounded by enemies, Israel understands the vital need to defend herself. The Jewish nation is connected in many ways to the IDF. Civilians honor, respect, and recognize the protection it provides.
Given the milestone at 18 to serve, another connection is that everyone seems to personally know a service man or woman. Be it their grandchildren, daughters, sons, mothers, or fathers—they stand together.
Will you stand with Israel?
Israel’s past is sobering, and their present is inspiring. They take terrible adversity and turn it into a strengthened society that is always progressing and creating unprecedented technologies and education.
My Olive Tree is honored to stand with the Jewish nation and plant trees within Israel army bases, supporting service men and women. When we stand with this influential nation in the Middle East, we provide hope and support, while solidifying a crucial relationship during unstable times in our world.