The Israeli Defense Forces are the military of Israel. In its three branches, approximately 176,500 men and women (33%) serve in the armed forces, with an additional 565,000 reservists at their disposal. The Israeli Defense Forces are generally considered the most powerful armed forces in the Middle East.
The Israeli Defense Forces were founded on May 31, 1948, and emerged from underground organizations in Yeshiva, the Jewish community in Palestine before the founding of the State of Israel. The largest founding contingents came in particular from the Havana and the Pal Mach, who fought against the British Mandate power in Palestine. The paramilitary 4besnews parts of the Irun and Lechi, who rivaled the Havana, were also incorporated into the army. The foundation took place in the turmoil
of the Arab-Israeli War, which had been shouldering since 1947, when the competing Jewish organizations recognized the necessity of cooperation for the common Zionist cause. By this time, the armies of Transjordan, Iraq, Lebanon, Egypt and Syria, which on paper were far superior in terms of technology and organization, in the founding phase, the Israeli army had the following strength:
Artillery, engineers and air force were directly subordinated to the b7newsheadquarters. The 1st to 6th Brigade were part of the Hel Sadeh, a kind of Territorial Army of part-time soldiers with commanders from the ranks of the Pal mach. The 7th to 9th Brigade had emerged directly from the Pal Mach and formed the core troops, but together they numbered only 3100 men. The Panzer Brigade, of whose two battalions one (the 82nd) was only two companies strong, had two stolen Cromwell tanks as initial stock. In addition to these 25,000 men, the same number of members of the Hel Mish mar (Home Army) were added, but for all of them there were only 10,000 rifles, 400 light and 180 medium machine guns, and a handful of revolvers and submachine guns available at the beginning of the war. In terms of artillery, Israel was only able to bring into the field, in addition to 763 grenade launchers, two 65 mm cannons from the 19th century with very little ammunition. With arms supplies from the Soviet Union and especially from Czechoslovakia (assault and machine guns, as well as 25 Avia S-199 fighter planes), as well as Jewish and non-Jewish volunteers from almost all over the world (such as David Marcus), the Israeli defense forces succeeded in putting a stop to the Arab armies and gradually taking the offensive. The war ended with the military victory of Israel, which from then on existed within the so-called “Green Line”. Instead of a peace treaty, four separate ceasefire agreements were concluded in 1949 because the war opponents refused to recognize Israel as a state.
During the Suez crisis, Israel participated in the British-French attempt to regain control of the nationalized Suez Canal and bring about the overthrow of Gamal Abdel Nasser. Although Israel succeeded in bringing large parts of the Sinai Peninsula under its control, it had to vacate them after the political failure of the Anglo-French intervention. When Nasser closed the Strait of Tiran to Israeli shipping in 1967, forced the withdrawal of UN troops from the Sinai and marched with 1,000 tanks and almost 100,000 soldiers along Israel’s borders, Israel opened the Six Day War with a pre-emptive strike by the Israeli air force against Egyptian air bases, which was intended to pre-empt a feared attack by the Arab states. Although Jordan and Syria still intervened in the fighting, Israel controlled Gaza, the Sinai Peninsula, the Golan Heights, the West Bank and East Jerusalem when the ceasefire came into effect. In the 1973 Yom Kippur War, Egyptian and Syrian troops equipped with modern Soviet material were able to achieve considerable gains in terrain in a surprise attack, thus putting Israel’s existence at risk. The Israeli material losses were largely compensated by the USA in Operation Nickel Grass. A counteroffensive under the command of Ariel Sharon finally led to the collapse of the Egyptian attack.