Addressing a Parivartan rally at Mandi in Madhya Pradesh on Tuesday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi likened the Indian army’s anti-terror surgical strikes to the functioning of Israel’s defense forces. “Our army’s valour is being discussed across the country these days. We used to hear earlier that Israel has done this. The nation has seen that Indian army is no less than anybody,” he said.
The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) was founded in 1948 soon after the country’s independence from the British Mandate. The foremost priority of the forces since its inception to protect the Israeli state’s sovereignty and territorial integrity. The IDF doctrine at every level of strategy is to defend the country using every means at its disposal. The most striking characteristic feature of the Israeli army that marks it out from most other national armies is the phenomenal impact it has on overall social structure of the country.
Some major instances when the Israeli army has been involved in defense and rescue operations carried out by Israel’s defense forces include:
Operation Ezra and Nehemiah: Between 1950 and 52, the Israeli government carried out a highly structured operation to airlift close to 120,000 Jews from Iraq to Israel. Following the independence of the Israeli state, Iraq had put a restriction on Jews’ emigration to Israel. The success of this operation paved the way for several such instances when the Israeli army rescued Jews from various places around the world who found themselves in dangerous and life threatening situations.
Six days war: Between June 5 and 10 in 1967, the Israeli army was involved in war with the neighbuoring states of Egypt, Jordan and Syria. Israel’s defense forces carried out a preemptive strike against Egypt in response to Egyptian forces being mobilised along the Israeli border. The attack led to the loss of nearly the entire air force of Egypt.
Operation Entebbe: In June 1976 an Air France plane with Israeli passengers had been hijacked by two members of the Popular Front of the Liberation of Palestine- External Operations with the objective to free Palestinian militants in Israel. The plane was held up at Entebbe in Uganda where it was warmly welcomed by Idi Amin. The Israeli forces carried out an operation whereby transport planes carried 100 commandos to Uganda and within a matter of 90 minutes, 102 hostages were rescued. All the hijackers and several Ugandan soldiers were killed in the operation.
Operation Moses: In 1984 when Ethiopian Jews were stuck in a famine in Sudan, the Israeli army carried out an operation to rescue them from the hard conditions and moving them to Israel. The seven-week airlift operation led to the rescue of nearly 8,000 Jews from refugee camps in Sudan.
Operation Defensive Shield: Between March and May 2002, the armed forces of Israel carried out a large scale anti-terrorist operation in Palestinian towns and villages in the West Bank. The operation came in response to suicide bombings carried out by Palestine in Israel. Reportedly the attack led to massive destruction of terrorist infrastructure in Palestine.
Here are few things you would want to know about the Israel Defense Forces.
1. Having been involved in about 20 major wars in the course of its short history, the IDF is ranked as one of the most battle-tested armed forces in the world.
2. The Israeli army differs from most other national military forces in its capacity to influence the social and cultural space in Israel. It is even involved in nation building enterprise by providing supplementary education to its civilian population. In 1965, it won the Israeli award for its contribution to education.
3. In order to defend the country, Israel manufactures a large number of indigenous military equipment including artillery, aircraft, tanks and various other missiles that are specific to the country’s requirements.
4. Recruitment in the IDF includes mandatory conscription of both men and women at the age of 18. They are called up regularly for training and are immediately mobilised in times of crises.
5. The Israeli army shares a very close relationship with the United States in terms of sharing military technology and the shared interest in maintaining security in the Middle East.