21 February 2008

IDF Questions from Readers

Who serves in the IDF and how long is the period of active / mandatory service?

National military service is mandatory for Jewish and Druze men and Jewish women over the age of 18. Men serve three years in the IDF, while women serve two.

The IDF requires women who volunteer for combat positions to serve for three years because combat soldiers must undergo a lengthy period of training. Women in most combat positions are also required to serve as reserve for several years after their dismissal from regular service.

Druze is an Arab sect here in Israel. They are an integral part of the IDF, are highly motivated and in my opinion excellent soldiers.

Who serves in the IDF Reserves?

Following regular service, men may be called for reserve service of up to one month annually, until the age of 45 (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 many 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 on reserve duty for years after their discharge. A well-known Israeli joke refers to civilians as soldiers on 11-month furlough.

What is your Military Background and current rank?

I was originally trained as an infantryman. My MOS was APC driver, and 52mm Mortarman ( an honor given to the few that could actually carry the 52mm tube and the extremely heavy rounds that go with it).

I was chosen to "rise through the ranks" and went to IDF Officer Training School, and am currently a Captain in the IDF reserves.
I am also certified in unarmed combat, anti terror, sharpshooter, sniper, and a few others.

What weapons does the IDF Infantry Corps use?

This is a typical IDF infantry kit.

The personal weapon of most IDF soldiers is the M16, particularly, the M16A2, shortened CAR-15, M4, and M4A1 assault rifles. The majority of regular-service Infantry Corps soldiers are equipped with the shortened M16, but the longer model is still in use among recruits and reserve forces(like me).

In 2005, the IMI Tavor assault rifle was brought to operational use, and is intended to become the corps' principal assault rifle in the future.

Soldiers are also equipped with various hand grenades. The company and platoon weapons are diverse, and include the IMI Negev (in 5.56mm) and the Fabrique Nationale MAG-58 (in 7.62x51mm) belt fed machine guns. Heavier weapons include the Browning M2 and the General Dynamics Mk 19 grenade launcher. Various units also use sharpshooters and snipers who rely on the M16A2E3, the Remington M24 Sniper Weapon System, the Barret M82, and the SIG Sauer SR86. [edit] Missiles and rockets To engage armored targets, the corps uses a variety of grenades, rockets, and missiles. The corps units are equipped with Anti-tank RPGs such as the RPG-7, the M72 LAW, and B300 Shoulder-Launched Multipurpose Assault Weapon. These are relatively cheap and easy to operate weapons, and are in high availability to target vehicles or buildings.

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