Israel Defense Forces

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Israel Defence Army or Israel Defence Forces (Hebrew: צבא ההגנה לישראל, acronym: IDF or צה"ל, Tsah-hál) is the name of the military external defence forces of the state of Israel. The IDF is a small, modern army comprised of career army soldiers, conscripted soldiers and a reserve force.

The three main branches of the army are the ground forces, the air force and the sea corps. They are not divided into a separate army, navy and air force.

The IDF was founded on May 26, 1948, shortly after the founding of the state of Israel. It succeeded (and combined it its name) by the pre-state Haganah organisation.


Its doctrine is founded on a highly educated and motivated population, as high a technology base as anywhere in the world, and intensive training. IDF describes its basic doctrine:[1]

  • Basic points
    • Israel cannot afford to lose a single war
    • Defensive on the strategic level, no territorial ambitions
    • Desire to avoid war by political means and a credible deterrent posture
    • Preventing escalation
    • Determine the outcome of war quickly and decisively
    • Combating terrorism
    • Very low casualty ratio
    • Prepare for Defense
    • A small standing army with an early warning capability, regular air force and navy
    • An efficient reserve mobilization and transportation system
  • Move to Counter-Attack
    • Multi-arm coordination
    • Transferring the battle to enemy's territory quickly
    • Quick attainment of war objectives


A high-level view divides it into four regional commands, the main branches of service that prepare troops, a General Staff, and various supporting and staff organizations. The Chief of Staff of the Israeli Defense Forces is the senior officer and only lieutenant general, currently Gabi Ashkenazi. Major General Benjamin "Benny" Gantz is the Deputy Chief of Staff

Its senior rank structure is exceptionally compact; the Chief of Staff would be a full general in most national militaries, so there is an unusual concentration at the major general rank.

General staff

  • Director of Military Intelligence: Major General Amos Yedlin; head of the Aman military intelligence agency
  • Head of Personnel Directorate: Major General Avi Zamir
  • Head of Operations Directorate: Major General Tal Russo
  • Head of Plans and Policy Directorate: Major General Amir Eshel


  • Commander of the IDF Army Headquarters: Major General Sami Turgeman
  • Commander of the Israel Air Force: Major General Ido Nechushtan
  • Commander of the Israel Navy: Admiral Eliezer Marom


  • General Officer Commanding (GOC) Northern Command: Major General Gadi Eizenkot
  • GOC Central Command: Major General Avi Mizrahi
  • GOC Southern Command: Major General Yoav Galant
  • GOC Homefront Command: Major General Yair Golan


  • Head of Technological and Logistics Directorate: Major General Dan Biton
  • Commander of the Northern Corps and Commander of the Military Colleges: Major General Gershon Hacohen
  • Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories: Major General Eitan Dangot
  • President of the Military Court of Appeals: Major General Shai Yaniv
  • Head of C4I: Major General Ami Shafran
  • IDF Spokesperson: Brigadier General Avi Benayahu
  • Director of Development of Weapons Systems Infrastructure: Brigadier General Shmuel Keren
  • Defense Establishment Comptroller :Brigadier General Yossi Beinhorn
  • Military Advocate General: Major General Avichai Mendelblit
  • Financial Advisor to the Chief of Staff: Brigadier General Maharan Prosenfer
  • Commander of the General Staff Corps and Commander of Training and Courses for the IDF Senior Ranking: Major General Yishai Be'er


  1. Main Doctrine, Israel Defense Forces