Imagine being 18 years old, fresh out of school, and forced to serve in the military. All your dreams are put on halt to protect your country from one of the most evil militant groups to date, ISIS…
If you are anything like me, my first thought was, “bring it on.” But, maybe you felt differently. Maybe you felt more terrified or angry.
This is exactly what the people of Israel face. Every girl and boy at the age of 18 are drafted into the IDF, Israel Defense Forces, to serve at least two years.
The IDF was founded in 1948 and has fought six major wars since. Although some may say that Israel lacks in size and has always been outnumbered by its enemies, they maintain an advantage by their weapons and high-caliber of soldiers.
Serving in the IDF has become a pivotal turning point for an Israeli. It is their rite of passage. These young adults experience what is it to be a faithful and good citizen, learning responsibility and practical skills.
What I love most about these soldiers is that they are taught to value all human life.
Human Dignity – The IDF and its soldiers are obligated to protect human dignity. Every human being is of value regardless of his or her origin, religion, nationality, gender, status or position. – IDF Code of Ethics
Even their enemies.
It is not uncommon that an IDF soldier or medic will save a wounded enemy. To me, that is such incredible character and strength. Not every military is indoctrinated with this.
The soldiers of the IDF are truly a melting pot. You will find a plethora of religious backgrounds, economic statuses, skin color and even disabilities. For example, the IDF accommodates those with autism. Those with autism may struggle with social development, but they excel in systematically oriented activities such as puzzles or drawing. This also allows them to see the finer details in things. So, the IDF has placed those with autism in aerial analysis.
The IDF makes a place for everyone. Cool, right?
Here are some more interesting facts about the IDF:
- Soldiers do not deploy. They are dedicated to protecting the grounds and borders of Israel.
- They have a Women’s affairs program to ensure opportunities and foster a suitable environment for women.
- People from all over the world move to Israel to serve in the IDF. The IDF honors them by providing housing and other benefits.
- Their air force satellites are the only in existence that launch in the opposite direction of earth’s rotation.