Sunday, July 15, 2012

Israel's Citizens Army

The current debate in Israel on extending the draft to yeshiva students has raised the question whether the traditional concept of the IDF as a "citizens' army" is outdated. Some observers are even advocating a professional army. 
In the 1950s and 1960s things were very different. Almost all sections of society were mobilised for the defence of the young state, and service was seen as a privilege rather than a duty. For a historical perspective on how things used to be, we present this film from the Ministry of Tourism collection in  the Israel State Archives. The film is in English and shows the achievements of the Israel Defence Forces during the period of Chief of Staff  Haim Laskov (1958-1961).
You can see manouevres by an armoured unit, attended by Laskov and Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion, reservists coming to get their equipment and training, girl recruits doing their basic training and serving in a variety of units, NAHAL service on the borders, Air Force Day with the commander of the Israel Air Force Ezer Weizmann, paratroopers and the Navy.

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