Making an Army
The IDF had its start in 1948, at the height of the War of Independence. On May 25, 1948, the IDF was established by a decision of the temporary government of the State of Israel, and its soldiers pledged allegiance to the newly-formed state. With the establishment of the IDF, the Palmach brigades and the field corps, the military units of the Haganah, became IDF brigades. Etzel and Lehi units were disbanded and their forces were divided among different IDF units. At first, the IDF experienced difficulties as it had to adapt from an army of volunteers, characterized by guerrilla warfare to a regular army, with uniforms and ceremonies, a rigid chain of command and structured warfare.
The IDF’s military doctrine, in principle, is based on deterrence and defeating the enemy. The IDF aspires to deter the enemy from starting a war, and to soundly defeat the enemy if a war breaks out. In keeping with this doctrine, the IDF builds its forces, arms them and trains them. From the very beginning, the IDF tried to function according to a moral code, purity of arms. It tries to instill in its soldiers knowledge of the battles it fought, the IDF heritage, and a love of Israel.
The IDF is an army of the people and it reflects the prevailing mood of the country and the country’s characteristics.
Service in the IDF has significance which differs from service in the armies of many other countries in the world. It plays an important role in absorbing and integrating new immigrants, making them part of the people of Israel.