Israeli History Part I

Israeli History Part I

The Israeli defense has its roots in semi-military Jewish self-defense groups from the years before the independence of the State of Israel, especially the underground organization Haganah, founded in 1920, and its Palmach commando forces, established in 1941. These, in turn, relied to some extent on earlier groups that held more guard than the military. activity, among them especially Hashomer, created in 1909, which included Bar-Giora established in 1907. These were essential guard forces to protect particularly kibbutzim, mostly against criminals. Jewish soldiers were organized in their own units during World War I, which also contributed to the foundation of the IDF. After Hashomer disbanded himself in 1920, the Zionist leadership in Palestine decided to establish a new military self-defense organization, Haganah, initiated by the trade unionist Histadrut, in response to Arab riots. Before this was a Jewish battalion, Jewish Legion, set up in 1917, after Britain had taken control of Palestine during the First World War. In 1931, a split in Haganah led to the creation of another underground organization, Irgun. A split that led to the establishment of a third, and more militant guerrilla group, Lehi, in 1940. Check Areacodesexplorer to see more articles about this country and Middle East.

When Israel was proclaimed on May 14, 1948, the Jewish community in Palestine was already at war, and immediately the new state was attacked by a group of Arab states. Israel Defense Forces was established through a regulation of 26 May. At its inception, Haganah constituted the bulk of the IDF, which was based on Haganah’s organization, doctrine and command structure, until the war was won and the further development of the defense could take place. Irgun and Lehi were also incorporated in the IDF in 1948.

When the Palestine War ended in 1949, the IDF consisted of 12 brigades, three of them from Palmach, and a small air force and a smaller navy, both built up by Palmach; a total of over 80,000 soldiers.


The IDF has been involved in several major wars and participated in longer periods of low intensity warfare. Particularly extensive has been the efforts in the great Arab-Israeli wars in 1948, 1956, 1967 and 1973. Israel has triumphed out of all these, and especially the IDF became famous after the six-day war in 1967, when Israel went on strike against Egypt and Syria. In contrast, the IDF – and Israel’s political leadership – were criticized for failing to adequately prepare for the Egyptian-Syrian attack during the October 1973 war; military intelligence in particular was then criticized for not interpreting available information well enough.

As a result of Israel’s 1979 peace treaty with Egypt, the IDF concentrated more of its forces in the north, toward Lebanon and Syria. The peace process between Israel and Syria did not go ahead, and Syria became the biggest military threat. On top of that came Syria’s closest ally, Iran, against which the IDF had to plan actions, especially under threat of nuclear capability development. The threat from Iraq defended with the regime change in 2003; During the 1991 Gulf War, Israel was shot down by rockets from Iraq, but – following pressure from the United States – the Israelis chose not to respond to them, not to create internal conflict within the international coalition.

During these wars, the IDF also won widespread international recognition. Respect, both nationally and internationally, was weakened after the Israeli invasion of Lebanon in 1982, and the ensuing occupation. When the IDF finally withdrew from Lebanon in 2000, it was after protracted military pressure from the Hezbollah militia group, which claimed to be the first Arab force to defeat the Israeli armed forces. The IDF also invaded southern Lebanon in 1978, and again in 2006.

Particularly from the 1960s, the IDF has been increasingly engaged in counterterrorism activities, mostly to fight Palestinian guerrillas – first in and from neighboring countries, later from the occupied territories of the Gaza Strip and the West Bank. Early attacks by Palestinian guerrillas, the Fedayeen, first from Jordan (and the Jordanian-controlled West Bank), later from Lebanon, helped the IDF create special forces. These carried out several actions in the West Bank and into Jordan and Lebanon.

After the Six Day War in 1967, the IDF was given new duties as an occupying power, including establishing a military administration in the occupied territories. Here, the IDF was later deployed to defeat the Palestinian uprising, intifada, from 1987, then from 2000. The armed Palestinian resistance against Israel then became particularly pronounced on the Gaza Strip, especially from the mid-2000s. The IDF conducted several major operations there, specifically targeting Hamas, including 2000 (Operation Cast Lead), 2012 (Operation Pillar of Cloud) and 2014 (Operation Protective Edge).

IDF has also launched military operations outside Israel and neighboring countries, including in an action to release hostages from a hijacked aircraft at Entebbe airport in Uganda (1976), the bombing of Iraq’s nuclear reactor (1982) and the attack on the headquarters of the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) in Tunis (1985).

Israeli History 1