Israel is a state measuring 27,000 square kilometers (including the West Bank and Gaza), with about 20,000 square kilometers within the Green Line, Israel’s pre-1967 border.
Israel is a state measuring 27,000 square kilometers (including the West Bank and Gaza), with about 20,000 square kilometers within the Green Line, Israel’s pre-1967 border. It has a population of about 6 million. It is a country where there is no distinction between foreign and defense policy and where the prime minister traditionally holds the defense portfolio. Israel has concluded peace agreements with Egypt and Jordan but is still technically in a state of war with all its remaining neighboring countries.
The formation of the Israeli army goes back to the 1920’s and 1930’s, when
The country’s response to border attacks by guerrilla groups in the past has been described as a form of massive retaliation. Following the American campaign in Iraq, however, the Israelis resorted to short military operations of the
Israel’s clear qualitative edge and regional monopoly over nuclear weapons failed to create a state of total security as a result of several factors. One of these is the potential failure of advance warning by military intelligence, as in the 1973
Jewish soldiers training in Palestine in 1948.
The Israeli attack on the
Early weapons of the IDF were acquired from the United States and Czechoslovakia during and just before the
Israel is known to have acquired a significant
Israel’s defense industries had a modest start when Bedek Aircraft, Ltd., was formed by the late 1940’s, in order to provide maintenance services for the country’s fledgling air force. Later, this company developed into
Thus, while the Israeli IDF suffer from a dramatic negative quantitative comparison with the standing armies of the surrounding Arab countries, even when all the reserve units are mobilized, Israel continues to enjoy a decisive qualitative edge when it comes to the total effectiveness of its units. Israel’s limited territorial depth made it vulnerable prior to the acquisition of Sinai, the Golan Heights, and the West Bank in the 1967 war. Although much ameliorated, this vulnerability continues to be addressed through a strong and extensive early-warning system. Israel’s dependence on a vast army of reservists and its frequent lengthy mobilization of manpower and civilian transport vehicles often resulted in severe economic disruption. This was the case prior to the 1967 war, when a monthlong period of mobilization along all fronts aggravated the political crisis, leading to a preemptive attack against all surrounding Arab air bases.
Israel’s faith in its own strategic doctrine changed as a result of its 1967 occupation of the
Israeli paratroopers stand ready to shoot Hamas militants in the Gaza Strip in January, 2009.
A new challenge to Israel’s nuclear hegemony in the Middle East materialized when
Even though a
As the field is a relatively current one, there is much in the way of archival, firsthand material on the history of the Israeli military. Much information on the early wars surrounding the founding of the state of Israel is available in the David Ben-Gurion Archive, held at the Ben-Gurion University of the Negev’s Sede Boker campus. The archive contains not only Ben-Gurion’s personal papers and speeches, but also the minutes of meetings and other documents produced by Israel’s first prime minister. In addition, the Israel State Archives in Jerusalem holds its record groups 72 and 153, which contain the private papers of many prominent Israeli politicians and government officials.
Bar-On, Mordechai. Never-Ending Conflict: Israeli Military History. Mechanicsburg, Pa.: Stackpole Books, 2006. Dunstan, Simon. The Yom Kippur War: The Arab-Israeli War of 1973. New York: Osprey, 2007. Karsh, Efraim. The Arab-Israeli Conflict: The Palestine War 1948. New York: Osprey, 2002. Maman, Daniel, Eyal Ben-Ari, and Zeev Rosenhek, eds. Military, State, and Society in Israel: Theoretical and Comparative Perspectives. Piscataway, N.J.: Transaction, 2001. Varble, Derek. The Suez Crisis 1956. New York: Osprey, 2003. Beaufort. Feature film. Keshet Broadcasting, 2007. Cast a Giant Shadow. Feature film. Batjac Productions, 1966 Clear Skies: The Story of the Israeli Air Force. Documentary. TES Video, 1990. The Fifty Years’ War: Israel and the Arabs. Documentary. Public Broadcasting Service, 2000. Operation Thunderbolt. Feature film. Warner Bros., 1978. Six Days in June: The War That Redefined the Middle East. Documentary. WGBH Boston, 2007.
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The Cold War: The United States, NATO, and the Right
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Colonial Wars of Independence
Warfare in Vietnam
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