The israeli defence forces at cior winter meeting

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1 by Cap. ff GdiF (R) ITA Antonio Albanese The israeli defence forces at cior winter meeting

2 Tzahal, the Israeli defence forces (IDF), are part of Israel s security forces. The IDF includes a large number of reservists; citizens who serve when their country needs them, being deployed when necessary. NATO Outreach to Israel forms part of the Mediterranean dialogue. Since 1994, NATO has continued to develop and increase its ties to the region, currently involving seven non- NATO countries of the Mediterranean region: Algeria, Egypt, Israel, Jordan, Mauritania, Morocco and Tunisia. The Dialogue reflects the Alliance s view that security in Europe is closely linked to security and stability in the Mediterranean. It is an integral part of NATO s adaptation to the post-cold War security environment, as well as an important component of the Alliance s policy of outreach and cooperation. The Mediterranean Dialogue s overall aim is to contribute to regional security and stability; to achieve better mutual understanding; and to dispel any misconceptions about NATO among Dialogue countries. In fact, the Alliance s southern border was not paid much attention until 1989, but the collapse of the soviet empire and, later, 911 caused this to change. This information allows us to better understand the presence and the speech of IDF Colonel (R) Gidi Netzer at the CIOR Winter Meeting in Brussels. In his civilian life, Dr Gidi Netzer is an international expert in counter-terrorism and conflict crisis management and is a member of the International Institute for Terrorism. Counter- On February 14 th, Netzer s words fall into a silent hall: he is speaking about his reserve officer experiince, he is speaking about his life and his duties to his country and family. Netzer has helped create 17 legal colonies. In the previous days, he spoke about counter-terrorism at the CIOR Seminar at Wesseling; but on this Valentine s Day he discusses his experience in the dramatic evacuation of some of his colonies, about his No to Prime Minister Sharon to operate against their populations, and about his presence in the conflict with Lebanon in the summer of But the central

3 point of his speech is the relationship between military and civilians in a complex society such as the Israeli one: a country with 7 million inhabitants, of which about a million are of Arab descent. Netzer discusses the social web necessary for a nation whose reserve forces are vital and who serve their country in large numbers including employer support through job protection as well as family support. He explains these two facets go hand-in-hand, with Israel assisting its young people serving their country to complete their studies, while at the same time supporting those families who have lost sons or fathers to pass through their most difficult moments. But one thing is clear, says Netzer, No soldier, officer or not, can use his rank or uniform to march against the government. The armed forces cannot decide where to go; this is a political matter. I do not know if in some countries it is possible, but in my country it is forbidden. This is an important concept, he underlines, as it represents the division between political and military areas, reflecting one of the pillars of modern western democracies that is at the base of our modern politics.

4 IDF OVERVIEW The Israel Defense Forces are part of the Israeli Security Forces. The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) (Hebrew: Tzva HaHagana LeYsrael, Defense Military of Israel, commonly known in Israel by the Hebrew acronym Tzahal), is Israel s military forces, comprising the Israel Army, Air Force and Sea Corps. IDF Mission To defend the existence, territorial integrity and sovereignty of the state of Israel. To protect the inhabitants of Israel and to combat all forms of terrorism which threaten daily life. Main Doctrine 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 The Operational Level Defensive Strategy - Offensive Tactics Prepare for Defense Move to Counter-Attack A small standing army with an early warning capability, regular air force and navy An efficient reserve mobilization and transportation system Multi-arm coordination Transferring the battle to enemy s territory quickly Quick attainment of war objectives Regular service National military service is mandatory for Jewish and Druze men and Jewish women over the age of 18, although exceptions may be made on religious, physical or psychological grounds. Men serve three years in the IDF, while women serve two. However, the IDF allows women who volunteer for several combat positions to serve for three years because combat soldiers must undergo a lengthy period of training. Women in other positions, such as programmers,

5 who require lengthy training time may also serve three years. Women in most combat positions are also required to serve as reserve for several years after their dismissal from regular service. Reserve service Following regular service, men may be called for reserve service of up to one month annually, until the age of (reservists may volunteer after this age), and may be called for active duty immediately in times of crisis. In most cases, the reserve duty is carried out in the same unit for years, in many cases the same unit as the active service and by the same people. Many soldiers who have served together in active service continue to meet in reserve duty for years after their discharge, causing reserve duty to become a strong male bonding experience in Israeli society. Virtually no exemptions exist for reservists called up in a time of crisis, but experience has shown that in such cases (most recently, Second Lebanon War in 2006) exemptions are rarely requested or exercised; units generally achieve recruitment rates above those considered fully-manned. Recently, legislation has been proposed for reform in the reserve service, lowering the maximum service age to 40, designating it as a purely emergency force, as well as many other changes to the current structure (although the Defence Minister can suspend any portion of it at any time for security reasons). The age threshold for many reservists whose positions are not listed, though, will be fixed at 49. The legislation is set out to take effect by 13 March Border Guard service Some IDF soldiers will serve their mandatory military service in the Mishmar HaGvul (Magav), the Israel Border Police the combat branch of the Israel police. Once the soldiers complete their IDF combat training, they undergo additional counter-terror and Border Guard training. They are then assigned to any one of the Border Guard units around the country. The Border Guard units fight side by side with the regular IDF combat units. They also are responsible for security in heavy urban areas such as the City of Jerusalem. Many officers in the Border Guard come from the IDF combat units. While the Border Guard does retain their own command structure, on the ground they are almost indistinguishable from the regular IDF units. Website:

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