Israel Defense Forces:
The Mission of the Israel Defense Forces
To defend the existence and territorial sovereignty of the state of Israel.
To protect the inhabitants of Israel and to combat all forms of terrorism which threaten daily life.
Defense Goal and Policy: The State of Israel has always and a single defense goal - to ensure the existence of israel and the security of its citizens. Israel's defense policy has been, therefore, to maintain a strong deterrent capacity to dissuade potential enemies from attacking.
Defense Strategy: Israel's security doctrine dictates that Israel cannot lose a single war. If war breaks out, Israel must defeat the enemy quickly and decisively. Since it lacks strategic depth, Israel must prevent the enemy from entering its territory, and must try to quickly transfer the battle to enemy territory.
Basic Defense Problems and Solutions: There has always been a basic asymmetry between Israel and its Arab neighbors. Israel covers a tiny area on the map compared with its neighbors.
Israel's population is also very small so it has never been able to amass a large army, certainly nothing near the size of that of a large Arab state, equipped to cope with immediate security needs. Israel relies heavily on its reserve forces and in time of war, most of the population is called up. To make up for this quantitative disadvantage, it is essential that Israel maintain as large a qualitative lead as possible. The IDF makes up for its lack of size by superior maneuverability and fire power, and by relying on intelligence.
Main Areas of
Through War and Peace: The IDF was formed in the throes of war with the establishment of the state half a century ago. And in the course of its short fifty years, Israel was forced into wars most reckoned it could not survive. But the IDF came out victorious. It fought boldly against Arab armies who wanted to destroy the state, and won against overwhelming odds.
Born in battle, the Israel Defense Forces had to face the greatest challenges to defend israel against large Arab armies which sought to destroy the Jewish state
1948 War of Independence. The day after the State of Israel was declared, five Arab armies advanced on the new state. The IDF is established and the whole of Israel is mobilized as the country fights for its existence. Israel repels the attack and a cease-fire is reached in 1949.
1956 Sinai Campaign. Israel tries to put an end to repeated terrorist incursions from Egypt and lift the Egyptian blockade on Eilat.
1967 Six Day War. Arab armies, led by Egypt mass their troops on Israel's borders. Israel preempts an Arab offensive with a well-orchestrated attack against Arab air forces. In a war fought only six days on three fronts, against Egypt, Jordan and Syria, Israel succeeds in capturing the West Bank, Sinai, the Golan Heights, and unifies its capital, Jerusalem.
1968-71 War of Attrition. In this three-year long conflict Israel confronts repeated incursions, guerrila warfare and static artillery from Egypt.
1973 Yom Kipur War. A surprise attack by Egypt and Syria on the holiest day of the jewish year. The IDF is initially taken by surprise but eventually manages to turn the tide, with Israeli troops advancing past the Suez Canal into Egypt and nearing Damascus in Syria.
1976 Operation Jonathan, the Entebbe Rescue Operation. In this daring act against terrorism, IDF commandos fly to Uganda and rescue over a 100 hostages held on a plane hijacked to this distant African country.
1978 Operation Litani. An anti-terrorist operation into Lebanon after terrorists kill 37 civilians on the coastal road near Tel Aviv.
1979 Peace with Egypt. Egyptian President Anwar Sadat becomes the first leader of an Arab state to make peace with Israel. As part of the treaty Israel withdraws from the Sinai.
1981 Destruction of the Iraqi nuclear reactor. With Iraq's programs to develop nuclear arms moving into advanced stages, Israel launches a successful air attacks , destroying the Iraqi Osirak nuclearreactor.
1982 Operation Peace for Galilee. After repeated terrorist attacks, Israel enters Lebanon to act against PLO bases. IDF troops reach Beirut and evict the PLO from Lebanon.
1982-85 The Lebanon Withdrawal. IDF gradually withdraws from Lebanon, setting up security zone in southern Lebanon, north of Israel's border.
1987 Intifada. Beginning of a Palestinian uprising (Intifada) in the Administered Territories.
1991 Gulf War. Iraq fires Scud missles on Israeli cities. This is the first time Israel is faced with the threat of a non-conventinal weapon attack.
1993 Declaration of Principles with the PLO (Oslo 1). The PLO recognizes Israel's existence and Israel commits to setting up a Palestinian Authority in the West Bank and Gaza. Operation Accountability. Limited operation in Lebanon against Hizbullah terrorists to ensure the safety of northern Israel.
1994 Peace treaty with Jordan. Formalization and expansion of unofficial relations which had existed between the two countries. The IDF redeploys in Gaza and Jericho.
1995 Interim Agreement with the Palestinians (Oslo 2). The IDF moves out of six cities and populated Arab areas in the West Bank.
1996 Operation Grapes of Wrath. Another operation against Hizbullah terrorists in Lebanon after repeated Katyusha rocket firing into the north of Israel.
1996 Flare-up in the territories. Palestinian Police join rioters and fire on Israeli troops.
1997 Redeployment in Hebron. (in the context of Oslo 2).
From the signing of the Declaration of Principles between Israel and the PLO on September 13, 1993, until September 2000, 256 civilians and soldiers were killed in terrorist attacks in Israel.
On the Road to Peace: Today Israel faces a different reality, and is presented with new challenges. Hopefully, Israel is now entering an era of peace with its immediate neighbors. Israel has signed peace treaties with Egypt and Jordan, is in the midst of a peace process with the palestinians, and is attempting to pursue a dialogue with Syria. While peace is the best form of security for Israel, a strong IDF is essential for securing that peace.
The Non-Conventional Threat: Today Israel faces a growing threat from peripheral states in the Middle East, such as Iraq, Iran and Libya, which are acquiring conventional and non-conventional weapons of mass destruction with long-range capabilities. Syria too is developing its missile program and arming itself with conventional and non-conventional weapons.
The Menace from the North: The IDF continues to find itself embroiled in a day-to-day guerrilla war north of its border in southern Lebanon. The IDF is fighting the radical Shiite Hizbullah organization to protect towns and villages in northern Israel from Katyusha rocket attacks and terrorist infiltrations.
Fighting Terrorism: Terrorism is recognized worldwide as a strategic and global threat, with nations around the world joining together in the war against terror. The IDF has accepted the fact that one of its main tasks for the future is fighting insurgency and terrorism. Israel today is faced with terrorism by Islamic fundamentalist groups - Hizbullah in southern Lebanon and Hamas in the territories. In the recent years terrorism by these groups has increased and has taken a heavier toll. In 1996 an inter-agency committee was set up in the Prime Minister's Office to coordinate anti-terrorist activities
The Homefront: Based on the the experience of the Gulf War when Israel's cities were hit by Iraqi Scud missles, the IDF is focusing its attention on protecting the civilian population from the threat of missiles and the possibility of a non-conventional war. The IDF is currently recognizing and strengthening the civil defense under the Homefront Command to coordinate IDF and civilian emergency services in time of war. It is also modifying its doctrine to minimize the danger of a possible non-conventional attack.
Missile Defense: Another lesson of the Gulf War was the need to develop a national missile defense system. Israel is now developing the Arrow missile which is designed to intercept and destroy incoming missiles in mid-air. The project, supported by the United States, is at the forefront of missile defense technology and will be operational before the year 2000. Israel is also developing other missile defense systems including the Nautilus - a laser system which will destroy incoming katyusha rockets - and the Boost Phase Intercept.
Command, Control, Communications and Intelligence: Modern warfare has become increasingly linked to hi-tech, and Israel is a world leader in the field. The IDF's qualitative edge has always been supported by extensive investment in research and development. The IDF works hand in hand with Israel's defense industries to develop custom-made weapons systems to meet Israel's needs. Advanced defense technology enables Israel to control large-scale forces on an integrated battlefield and to obtain real-time pictures of enemy deployments. The IDF is improving its intelligence and early warning capabilities. The IDF now obtains advanced satellite information to detect missile launches and has developed its own tactical intelligence by using unmanned air vehicles and more sophisticated radar.
Accuracy and Range: Israel is constantly increasing its operational range. The Israel Air Force is acquiring the F-15I, the world's leading fighter aircraft, with increased range and better night and all-weather capabilities. The newly acquired Blackhawk helicopter is also the most advanced of its kind, offering enhanced maneuverability and survivability.
Manpower: Perhaps the greatest advantage the IDF possesses is its manpower. It is the men and women in uniform who put to maximal use Israel's high technology, and it is they, with their sense of duty, commitment and motivation, who make the IDF the army that it is.
The IDF is not only a fine military force, it is also an army of the people. Practically the entire nation serves in the IDF and the army in turn is intimately bound with the people of Israel. The IDF derives its raison d'etre from the people, and provides them with the means of ensuring their continued, secure existence in their homeland.
Regular and Reserve Components: The IDF consists of a regular army of conscripts and a small number of career servicemen; and a large reserve force. Compulsory military service is three years for men and 21 months for women, with men continuing to serve in the reserves until their forties. The IDF does not produce officers through academies, rather commanders rise through the ranks by their leadership and command abilities.
Women's Service: The IDF is the only army in the world which maintains compulsory service for women. While women do not participate in combat, almost all other military positions are open to them. Women serve in intelligence, operations, as instructors, technicians, radar operators, medics and in many other areas. Recently women have been admitted to the prestigious Israel Air Force Flight School.
Integrating Force: Israel's first prime minister, David Ben-Gurion, saw the IDF not only as the means to defend the country but also as a framework for integrating israeli society. The IDF today continues to serve as a melting pot, with young men and women from every background serving together, living in the same tents and given the same responsibility. The IDF brings together native israelis and new immigrants, youngsters from privileged homes and development towns, religious and secular, Jew and even Arab. Together they endure the demands and rigors of army life, and forge a common identity as equal members of society.
Minorities: There are many non-Jews serving in the IDF. Most are from the Druze and Circassian communities, who were long allied with Israel and drafted into the IDF. Bedouins, who are the IDF's best scouts, and a small number of Christian and Muslim Arab volunteer to serve in the IDF.
The Individual: One of the secrets of the IDF's strength is the quality and moral fortitude of the men and women in its ranks. The underlying foundation of the army is the individual soldier and the IDF works to cultivate and meet the needs of each one.
Tailored to the People and the Country: Aware of the diversity in Israeli society, the IDF offers a wide range of options for every type of conscript. For example, Nahal ('The Fighting Pioneer Youth') Command combines military service in comabt units with civilian agricultural work and community service. Army-affiliated religious academies (yeshivot hesder) combine military service with study in a religious acadamy. The Education and Youth Corps offers scores of programs to both soldiers and civilians. IDF servicemen and women serve as counselors among high school students; they teach Hebrew to immigrants in absorption centers and work in the rehabilitation of underprivileged youth.
Army of the Jewish People: The history of the IDF has been highlighted by bold missions of national importance. These range from the 1991 Operation Solomon airlift which brought 15,000 Ethiopian Jews to Israel in the course of a single day; to rescue and humanitarian relief missions in Rawanda, Mexico, Argentina and Armenia, to the legendary 1976 rescue of hostages on a hijacked plane in Entebbe. These operations underscore the IDF's commitment to the citizens of Israel and to the Jewish people, wherever they may be. The Israel Defense Forces ultimately derives its strength from the people of Israel, with its values rooted in the tradition of the Jewish people. It looks forward to the challenges of the future, strengthened by the past.
For 50 years, beginning on January 1, 1952 when seven armed terrorists attacked and killed a nineteen year-old girl in her home, in the neighborhood of Beit Yisrael, in Jerusalem, Israel has fought against terrorism. Those who have lost their lives to terrorism are listed here:
"The civilized world is rallying to America's side. They understand that if this terror goes unpunished, their own cities, their own citizens may be next. Terror, unanswered, can not only bring down buildings, it can threaten the stability of legitimate governments. And you know what -- we're not going to allow it." George W. Bush
In the attacks of September 11, 2001, our Nation suffered the loss of over 3,000 innocent men, women, and children. Since that fateful day, our ally Israel has suffered a comparable loss. With 6 million citizens compared to our 280 million, Israel's 60 victims between September and December, 2001 equates to over 2,700 American victims.
Passed by Congress On December 4, 2001:
Expressing solidarity with Israel in the fight against terrorism.
Whereas 26 innocent people in Israel were murdered in cold blood and at least 175 wounded by Palestinian terrorists, all within 14 hours, during the weekend of December 1-2, 2001;
Whereas this is the equivalent, on a proportional basis, of 1,200 American deaths and 8,000 wounded;
Whereas United States Middle East envoy Anthony Zinni has labeled the terrorism of December 1-2, 2001, `the deepest evil one can imagine';
Whereas this bloody weekend is part of an ongoing terror campaign often targeted at youth and families and perpetrated by the Islamic fundamentalist groups Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad and other Palestinian terrorist groups;
Whereas President Bush declared at a joint session of Congress on September 20, 2001, that "Every nation, in every region, now has a decision to make. Either you are with us, or you are with the terrorists. From this day forward, any nation that continues to harbor or support terrorism will be regarded by the United States as a hostile regime"; and
Whereas President Bush declared on December 2, 2001, that "Chairman Arafat must do everything in his power to find those who murdered innocent Israelis and bring them to justice": Now, therefore, be it
Resolved by the House of Representatives (the Senate concurring), That Congress--
|He Who blessed our
forefathers Abraham, Isaac and Jacob - may He bless the
fighters of the Israel Defense Force, who stand guard
over our land and the cities of our G-d from the border
of the Lebanon to the desert of Egypt, and from the Great
Sea unto the approach of the Aravah, on the land, in the
air, and on the sea.
May Hashem cause the enemies who rise up against us to be struck down before them. May the Holy One, Blessed is He, preserve and rescue our fighting men from every trouble and distress and from every plague and illness, and may He send blessing and success in their every endeavor.
May He lead our enemies under their sway and may He grant them salvation and crown them with victory. And may there be fulfilled for them the verse: For it is Hashem, your G-d, Who goes with you to battle your enemies for you to save you.
This Tribute was prepared by me in September of 2002 and posted at a one of the largest conservative, Republican political discussion forums on the internet to serve as a reminder that:
House Resolution 280 clearly expresses the solidarity of the United States with Israel in our common struggle against the scourge of terrorism.
House Resolution 280 clearly condemns the terrorist acts perpetuated against Israel.
House Resolution 280 clearly states a commitment by the United States of America to support Israel in its fight against terrorism.
In preparing this Tribute, I shamelessy borrowed much information from the Israel Defense Force Website and thank them for graciously allowing me to do so.
The information contained in the linked listing of Terror Attacks comes from Israel's Ministry of Foreign Affairs, all I did was consolidate the various listings available. I have continued to maintain and update the listing as these atrocities continue to occur and innocent people continue to fall victim to such horrors. I find it both an outrage and a sad reflection on humanity as a whole that I have had to redesign the graphics on the page to reflect 51 years of terror.
If you note any innaccuracies or ommissions or have any comments you would like to make, please e-mail me at Linda@lindasog.com