• n. The national military of the State of Israel.

Example Sentences

Languages of Origin

  • English


  • initialism for Israel Defense Forces

    • Who Uses This

      • Israel: Diaspora Jews who feel connected to Israel and have spent time there
      • Non-Jews: (words that have spread outside of Jewish networks)


      • North America


      • The JPS Dictionary of Jewish Words, by Joyce Eisenberg and Ellen Scolnic, (Philadelphia, 2001).

      Alternative Spellings

      Israel Defence Forces


  • The Hebrew term for the IDF is TzaHal.

    "Established in 1948 to protect Israel, the IDF includes the air force, infantry, tank corps, navy, intelligence, and civil defense units. The IDF has three main components: officers, a mandatory corps of servicemen (ages 18–21) and servicewomen (ages 18–20), and a reserve of citizens who must serve 30 to 60 days a year until age 55. The continued compulsory reserve duty keeps most Israelis in a constant state of readiness and accounts for the IDF’s outstanding record. Exemptions from service are granted to married women and Orthodox Jews." (JPS)

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