Throughout the state’s existence, Israel has repeatedly altered its military doctrine with regard to the alignment of its structures and systems, particularly with regard to the weighting between troop species and with the strengthening of the air defense. Already in the 1950s, great emphasis was placed on parachute training, and paratroopers played a central role in the infantry and then throughout the army from the 1960s. This was driven, among other things, by experiences with the first special forces established to fight back against Palestinian guerrillas, including Unit 101, led by Israel’s later Minister of Defense and Prime Minister Ariel Sharon. Subsequently, the armored forces played a crucial role in the army structure.
The numerical inferiority, both in terms of personnel and material, is compensated by a high degree of competence and efficient use of available systems. In war, the utilization of the air force (1967) and the speed and precision of the armored forces (1973) proved crucial.
The IDF is also guided by a code of ethics that includes defense of the state and loyalty to the country, and human dignity. Israeli soldiers should value human life and not use gun power to harm civilians. The IDF has long been known for a more relaxed relationship with traditional military discipline than other defense forces, such as a legacy of Haganah and Palmach. Israeli officers have been known to participate in combat with their soldiers. Higher officers in the IDF reach their degrees faster than is common in most countries, and are replaced at a relatively young age, encouraged to take a second career.
IDF has used military equipment from a number of suppliers, in addition to the fact that Israeli industry has developed many solutions. Around independence, Israel received material from Czechoslovakia in particular, including Italy and Sweden, but much was acquired illegally, and much older material – both heavier material and personal equipment – was long in use. Material choices had long been governed by both financial constraints and difficulties in obtaining weapons. Several countries had restrictions on weapons supplies to Israel, including the United States until 1967. Prior to that, France was the main supplier, including the supply of Mirage combat aircraft; from 1968, French deliveries were stopped for a period. Especially after the 1967 and 1973 wars, Israel conquered much Soviet material from Egypt and Syria, not least tanks, which were then modified and included in the Israeli army. During the 1967 Six-Day War, the Air Force consisted of French machines; Only then is it built up based on American material. Check Computergees to see more articles about this country and Middle East.
Especially after the October war in 1973, and even more so after Israel signed the peace treaty with Egypt in 1979, the United States has contributed to the modernization of the IDF through the supply of modern weapons systems, as well as development cooperation. Not least, the IAF has been modernized using US systems, including F-15 and F-16 fighter jets and AH-1 Cobra and AH-64D Apache combat helicopters. The artillery weapon was developed especially after the six-day war, with both American and captured Soviet material
In cooperation with the IDF, Israeli industry – and often in collaboration with the US defense industry, partly supported by US aid – has developed several platforms. The most well-known are Merkava tanks, Kfir fighter jets, Reeshef, Dvora and Saar-class naval vessels, Jericho and Gabriel missiles, Arrow rocket defense and the Iron Dome air defense system. Homemade standard handguns include the Galil rifle and the Uzi machine gun. Israeli defense industry has taken a leading position in electronics, including electronic warfare. The IDF was also early in the process of deploying unmanned aerial vehicles (drones).
It is known that Israel has developed nuclear weapons, and that several systems have been adapted to their use, but the Israeli authorities have refused to confirm this. Heavy water from Norway has contributed to Israel’s nuclear program, and testing of Israeli nuclear weapons was done in collaboration with the apartheid state of South Africa, which Israel also collaborated with in the military in other areas. Norwegian players also helped Israel in 1968 to acquire missile torpedo boats from France, in violation of the prevailing French arms embargo on the country. Norway does not sell weapons equipment directly to Israel, and there are restrictions on imports of defense equipment from Israel to Norway.
Israel is estimated to have between 80 and 90 nuclear warheads (2019, ICAN), which with intercontinental ballistic missiles have a range of up to 6,500 kilometers.