Amir Landsman: How the IDF Protects Israel

As a former member of the Israel Defense Forces (IDF), Amir Landsman has firsthand knowledge of this elite fighting force. The IDF is the equivalent of the U.S. Army, Navy and Air Force in one combined organization and is responsible for defending Israel against foreign attacks. Founded in 1948 shortly after the establishment of an independent Israel in the Middle East, the IDF was a target of controversy immediately upon its creation. Two paramilitary organizations disputed the IDF’s claim as the sole Israeli military force. The Irgun, a paramilitary group, engaged in armed combat with the IDF before being assimilated into the forces designated to protect Israel.

Israel has been under constant threat of attack since its inception in 1948. The country of Palestine was partitioned to form the fledgling country. As a result, Palestinian forces were joined by troops from Egypt, Iraq, Syria and Jordan in an attack on Israel immediately after the country declared its independence and sovereignty in its new territory. The war continued with intermittent truces throughout 1948 and into 1949, when a relatively long-lived armistice was achieved by agreement between Israel and Syria. IDF forces continued to defend Israel against guerrilla warfare attacks by Palestinians for nearly a full decade after official hostilities ended.

The Suez Crisis in 1956 represented a formidable challenge for the IDF. Triggered by the nationalization of the Suez Canal by Egypt in 1956, this move threatened international access to the oil produced in the Middle East and was met with military action by Israel, Great Britain and France with the tacit support of the United States. Although the attack on Egypt was not deemed successful by Israel’s allies, Israel did win valuable concessions from the conflict that included the right to travel through the Straits of Tiran.

More recent threats to Israel have come from radical Islamic factions in the Middle East, including Hezbollah in Syria. These groups have engaged in suicide bombings and other acts of terrorism against Israel. The IDF has retaliated with direct attacks on the nations harboring these groups and it has achieved many military victories. IDF is also responsible for protecting Israel’s borders and interests in the Middle East region and around the world.

Today, Israel requires a period of mandatory service for all citizens over the age of 18. The law governing military services was amended in 2000 to stipulate that women had the legal right to serve in all positions open to male members of the IDF. Men are subject to a three-year period of service, while women are required to perform two years of military duty. Men and women alike can be assigned to serve in combat positions and are subject to extended periods of reserve duty as well. Qualifying men and women may be tapped to serve in special forces units that offer advanced training and are assigned to perform mission-critical tasks.

Thanks to the efforts of dedicated military personnel like Amir Landsman, the IDF continues its work in defending the nation of Israel.

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