Israel Defense Forces

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The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) (Hebrew: צְבָא הַהֲגָנָה לְיִשְׂרָאֵל‎‎, About this sound Tzva Hahagana LeYisra'el , lit. Defensive Army for Israel, Arabic: جيش الدفاع الإسرائيلي‎), commonly known in Israel by the Hebrew acronym Tzahal (צה"ל), are the military forces of the State of Israel. They consist of the ground forces, air force and navy. It is the sole military wing of the Israeli security forces, and has no civilian jurisdiction within Israel. The IDF is headed by its Chief of General Staff, the Ramatkal, subordinate to the Defense Minister of Israel; as of 2010 Rav Aluf Gabi Ashkenazi has served as Chief of Staff since 2007.

An order of Defense Minister David Ben-Gurion on May 26, 1948, officially set up the Israel Defense Forces as a conscript army formed out of the paramilitary group Haganah, incorporating the militant groups Irgun and Lehi. The IDF served as Israel's armed forces in all the country's major military operations — including the 1948 War of Independence, the 1956 Sinai War, the 1967 Six-Day War, the War of Attrition, the 1973 Yom Kippur War, Operation Litani, the 1982 Lebanon War, Operation Defensive Shield, the 2006 Lebanon War and the Gaza War. While originally the IDF operated on three fronts—against Lebanon and Syria in the north, Jordan and Iraq in the east, and Egypt in the south—after the 1979 Egyptian–Israeli Peace Treaty, it has concentrated its activities in southern Lebanon and the Palestinian Territories, including the First and the Second Intifada.

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