Israeli Security Forces

From Academic Kids


The Israel Security Forces (ISF) are several organizations collectively responsible for Israel's security. The organizations are independent but cooperate with each other. The list includes military, government agencies, law enforcement organizations and public officials as well as voluntary first aid organization, operated by civilians, and assisted by the state of Israel.

Most Israeli citizens upon reaching age 18 are required to serve three years in one of these organizations. Exemptions are provided to most Israeli Arabs, though Israeli Druze are drafted, and Bedouins typically serve. Exemptions are also provided to people studying in religious seminaries full time, which includes most Haredi Jews. As well, exemptions are often provided for health reasons.


Combat security organizations

  • Israeli Defence Forces: the military. The IDF operates air, ground and naval forces in order to protect Israel against foreign armies and terrorists. The IDF elite units are called Sayeret. The most famous Sayeret units are Sayeret Matkal and Shayetet-13.
  • Israeli police: a civilian force. As most other police forces in the world, their duties include crime fighting, traffic control and maintaining public safety.
    • Border Police ("MAGAV"): the combat arm of the Israeli Police. Border Police troops are trained by the IDF in high infantry level but serve under the police. They are deployed in the disputed territories and in the countryside. They are also deployed on the borders of Israel. YAMAM is the elite civilian counter terrorism unit of Israel.
    • MASHAZ (Civilian Guard): a volunteer organization of citizens which assists in daily police work. Members are trained to provide the initial response to a security situation until the police arrive. MASHAZ volunteers are armed with M1 Carbine and personal handguns. The MASHAZ also have special units, but their members require additional training and a higher level of commitment.
  • SHABAS - Prison service: the SHABAS is responsible for guarding Israeli prisons and make sure that the prisoners will not escape. The SHABAS special unit is called "Metzada" and is specialized for hostages situation inside the prisons.
  • Shin Bet (Israel Internal Security Service): Shin-Bet's duties are to protect ministers and high public officials (such as the president or the head of police), to prevent the violent insurrection, to gather intelligence, to pinpoint terrorist cells and prevent them from causing damage. Shin-Bet activities are classified.
  • Ha-Mossad le-Modiin ule-Tafkidim Meyuhadim (Hebrew: המוסד למודיעין ולתפקידים מיוחדים, "Institute for Intelligence and Special Tasks"): the Mossad is an Israeli intelligence agency. It is responsible for intelligence collection, covert action (including paramilitary activities and assassinations) and counter-terrorism. Its focus is on Arab nations and organizations throughout the world.
  • LOTAR Eilat: a special reserves unit for counter-terror which based in Eilat.
  • KABATs (Security Officers): public officials trained in combat and able to handle terrorist threats. The KABATs, beside supplying an initial response to threats, are experts in security issues. When they are deployed in small town or villages, they are responsible for that settlement's defense.

Non-combat security organizations

  • Magen David Adom: Israeli first aid organization responsible for emergency medical, disaster, ambulance and blood bank services. The name means "Red Star of David."
  • Mechabey Esh (Fire department): Israeli firefighters. They are responsible for extinguishing fires and extracting people trapped in structures (ranging from stuck elavators to collpased buildings).
  • Pikud HaOref Rescue Team: a military rescue team which handles large-scale civilians disasters such as earthquakes, collapsing buildings and missile attacks on cities.
  • ZAKA - Hessed Shel Emet ("True Grace"): a volunteer organization mostly comprised of Haredi Jews who assume the duty of collecting human remains following a disaster, to provide those remains a proper Jewish burial. ZAKA has gained much positive publicity for its efforts in handling remains of victims of suicide bombings. Their founder, Yehuda Meshi Zahav, was honored by being asked to light a beacon during the celebration of Israel's Independence Day. In addition to recovering body parts, ZAKA also provides first aid services and assists in searching for missing people.
  • Local Rescue teams: A rescue team on each of the Galil, the Golan Heights and the Negev rescues lost travelers and tourists.

General Remarks

The ISF have a viewed by most experts as one of the best in their fields, especially in counter-terrorism. Many of the world's security experts, as well as inventors of security technology, are Israelis who trained and served many years in the ISF. The ISF works within tight budgets are known for creativity and innovation in resolving difficult situations. Some Israeli SF units such as Sayeret Matkal, Shayetet 13 (naval commando) and the YAMAM are considered to be among the best special forces units in the world (along with the British SAS and the US Delta Force).

Other observers criticize the ISF for brutality, human rights violations, racism and sexism. Some reports state that the ISF oppresses Palestinians with executions, beatings and prison without trial. Others complain that the dreary desk jobs Israeli women have in the ISF continue in Israeli society.

External link

  • Israeli Special Forces ( (unofficial website)
  • Israeli Weapons ( (unofficial website)
  • Israel intelligence agencies Hebrew ( (Israeli Intelligence Legacy Center)
  • Shin Bet ( (FAS)
  • Israel's army struggles with its image ( (BBC)

he:מערכת הביטחון בישראל


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