Defending Israel – the IDF

The Israel Defense Forces: a Necessity

See also God defends Israel


The Jewish community’s primary defense force – the Haganah – became a full-scale defense force following the 1936-1939 Arab revolt. The Haganah (and other Jewish fighting forces) helped fight for Israel’s independence leading up to the British withdrawal on May 13, 1948.

On May 31, 1948, the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) officially began operations to protect the new State of Israel. By the end of the 1949 War of Independence the IDF had defeated five invading Arab armies. By July 1949, the IDF had beaten back every invading Arab army and armistice agreements were signed between Israel and its major opponents – effectively ending the fighting and securing the existence of the State of Israel.

Threats from Militant Islam

Militant Islam has vowed to ‘eliminate Israel’. The threat comes from Hezbollah in Lebanon, Hamas in Gaza, Iran, and ISIS. Currently, the threat of war from Israel’s northern border is “many times greater” than the threat from Gaza [Major General Yair Golan, 2015]. Hezbollah (‘the party of Allah’) has built an arsenal of more than 65,000 missiles to use against Israel. Some of these missiles may have sophisticated guidance systems designed to thwart Israel’s Iron Dome. For more details see The Islamic Threat.

The June 1967 War

The most significant attack todate is the Six-Day War. In June 1967, the Israeli government ordered the Israel Air Force to destroy the Egyptian Air Force and airfields, initiating a preemptive strike in order to prevent the alliance of Egypt, Jordan, Syria and Iraq from carrying out a potentially devastating attack on Israel. Six days later, the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) had won comprehensive land and air victories against the Syrian, Egyptian and Jordanian forces, despite overwhelming odds.

The IDF Today

The mission of the IDF is to defend the existence, territorial integrity and sovereignty of the State of Israel. That is, to protect the inhabitants of Israel and to combat all forms of terrorism which threaten daily life. Israel’s military draws upon some 3 million available personnel, nearly 4,000 tanks, some 10,000 armoured fighting vehicles, 700 aircraft and a naval strength of over 100 vessels.

defending Israel

Israel’s Iron Dome Defense System. Image: IDF and Nehemiya Gershoni Flickr, CC-BY-SA-3.0

The Israeli Air Force is universally recognized as one of the world’s most powerful aerial fighting forces. The Navy protects Israel from all threats emanating from the sea. It also warns of impending warfare and plays a crucial role in preventing the smuggling of weapons to terrorist organizations. The IDF’s Ground Forces have played a key role in all of Israel’s wars, acting as the last line of defense for the home front and entering deep into neighbouring territory to battle enemy forces. The Intelligence Corps supplies the government with key information during wartime and closely tracks terrorists and other enemies seeking to harm Israel.

Military Technology

The IDF uses several technologies developed in Israel. For example, the Merkava (‘chariot’) battle tank has been used successfully in every battle since 1982, and today the Merkava Mk-IV has been described as “the most modern in the world”. Its cutting edge technology includes the ‘Trophy‘ protection system against anti-tank missiles. The Trophy active protection system is suitable for multiple platforms. IDF technology also includes Galil and Tavor assault rifles, the Achzarit armoured personnel carrier, the Iron Dome missile defense system, and Arrow-2 and Arrow-3 missiles.

Iron Dome: The effectiveness if Iron Dome is hotly debated, but according to statistics from the Israeli Air Force, of the 600 rockets deemed dangerous in the 50-day Gaza war, over 90% were neutralized by the Iron Dome, link. Israel is also developing Iron Beam, a laser system for vaporizing short-range rockets, artillery shells, and mortar bombs with trajectories too small for Iron Dome to track, link.

Arrow 3: Following 1967, the IDF has close military relations with the United States, including development cooperation, such as the THEL laser defense system, and the Arrow missile defense system. The new Arrow-3 ballistic missile interceptor is designed to shoot down intercontinental ballistic missiles outside the atmosphere, link. This is a crucial deterrent since it intercepts the weapons (which may have nuclear, biological or chemical warheads) close to their launch sites e.g. in Iran!

defending Israel

Israeli F16 Fighter
Image: Sergeant K. J. Gruenwald, License: Creative Commons via Wikimedia Commons

The Air Force uses a modified form of F16 fighter. To make the pilot’s job as easy and effective as possible, the F-16I (I stands for Israel) has been outfitted with cutting-edge weapons system hardware, a specially constructed radar system and a unique helmet technology that allows the pilot to launch weapons at an enemy aircraft using sight systems. Israel took delivery of two state-of-the-art F-35 Lightning fighter jets in December 2016. This was the first of a purchase of fifty F-35’s from the US, link.

Pilots are always concerned about GPS jamming and surface-to-air missiles. Israel’s latest solution is the SPICE 250 missile (glide bomb) that fits various aerial platforms, including the F-16’S, link.

So much for hi-tech defense. But at the end of the day the defense of Israel rests with the God of Israel, not with man. And one day Israel will lay down her defenses as Christ ushers in world-wide peace:

Nation will not lift up sword against nation, and never again will they learn war  (Isa 2.4)

God is Defending Israel: ISIS Beware!

How do we know this? First and foremost, God’s protection of the people of Israel is promised in the Old Testament scriptures:

Whoever assails you will fall because of you … no weapon that is formed against you will prosper … I will be a wall of fire around her … he who touches you, touches the apple of His (the Lord’s) eye
(Isa 54.15,17,  Zech 2.5,8)

Sometimes this protection is through mighty angels. For example, in the book of Daniel we read that the archangel Michael protects the people of Israel (Dan 12.1). Another way is via God-given ingenuity, as in Israel’s cutting-edge weaponry used by the Israel Defense Forces (IDF), link.

Protection is Sometimes Conditional

Of course, when the nation of Israel walked away from their God and Protector these promises seemed not to apply and Israel was scattered throughout the nations for some 2,500 years. The scenario is similar today. Most of the 8 million inhabitants of Israel do not recognize Yeshua (Jesus) as their promised Messiah. So, according to prophecy, in the near future is seems Israel will go through a time of great trouble. It will be a time of the refining of Israel until they recognize their true Messiah.

Historical Verification of Protection

There is historical verification of the biblical promises. Despite some 2,500 years of scattering and persecution the people of Israel (generically, the Jewish race) have survived. Despite furious attempts to annihilate this people they have all failed. From the Babylonians to Queen Isabella to Hitler, and now the Islamic conspiracy (Hamas, ISIL) to exterminate the Jews. Moreover, in recent years God has restored the nation of Israel and actually blessed her. It seems that, right now, Israel is once again under God’s protection so that the nations can see the God of Israel in action! As John F. Kennedy remarked:

Israel was not created in order to disappear – Israel will endure and flourish. It is the child of hope and the home of the brave. It can neither be broken by adversity nor demoralized by success. It carries the shield of democracy and it honors the sword of freedom.

There are recent historical examples of God’s miraculous protection. As the Jewish State was born in 1948, five Arab armies (Egypt, Syria, Jordan, Lebanon and Iraq) immediately invaded Israel. The Arabs had no difficulty obtaining all the arms they needed. But they were defeated by a fledgling Israeli defense force. Similarly, in the Six-Day War of June 5–10, 1967, the armies of Egypt, Jordan, Syria, Lebanon (and later Iraq) attacked Israel. Their goal was “to wipe Israel off the map”. Israel defeated the attack even though the Arab armies had huge superiority in armour, aircraft and troops. And in October 1973 Egypt and Syria launched another attack on Israel (the Yom Kippur War). This was at a time when Israel was “resting” in Yom Kippur. Despite the surprise and consequent losses, Israel once again defeated the attack.

Did God Protect Israel against ISIS? Early December 2016 a strange storm cloud (dust and rain) put a barrier between Israel and ISIS. Reports say the storm stopped on the border of Syria and was ‘unable’ to enter Israel’s Golan Heights area. Many believe God intervened on behalf of Israel, to prevent ISIS from entering Israel, link.

A Final Thought. At the end of this age we find confirmation of the root cause of conflicts with Israel and the root cause of the persecution of the Jews. Jesus referred to a future time of ‘great tribulation’ for Israel (Mat 24.15-28), driven by a world dictator (Dan 9.27). The point here is that this despicable person is merely the human arm of Satan: “the dragon (Satan) gave him his power” (Rev 13.2). This confirms that the root cause of conflicts with Israel is hatred from Satan. It is a spiritual war. But the politicians cannot see it! So, at the end of the day, the defense of Israel rests with the God of Israel, not with man:

No weapon that is formed against you will prosper … I will be a wall of fire around her (Isa 54.17  Zech 2.5)

And one day Israel will lay down her defenses as Christ ushers in world-wide peace:

Nation will not lift up sword against nation, and never again will they learn war  (Isa 2.4)

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