How good is the Israeli military?

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Senior Airman
Mar 21, 2005
I, like probably most people, have always thought that the quality of the Israeli military is quite superb, pound for pound maybe even better than the U.S.

I was talking to two officers, one a U.S. Marine and the other, a Navy SEAL, who have been active in the Mid East and both of them said that the Israeli forces are not really any better than those of any of the Western European countries and that they just seem to be superior because they have been repeatedly tested against the inept, incompetent and impotent forces of the Arab states.

Basically, these guys were saying that it isn't that the Israelis are so good but that their opponents are so lousy.

Does anyone have any thoughts on this subject?
I really cannot speak from experience but have always believed that their Airforce and armoured forces are as good as anyone's, with at times a lack of discipline being an Achilles Heal that can strike at any time.
However their infantry I think are behind the best.

This tends to be bourne out by the latest developments.
Well these two US military personal said that the Israeli military was not better than any Western European militaries. Might I add that there are many fine militaries in Western Europe.

England and Germany have two of the best trained militaries in the world and are supplied by some of the finest military equipment there is out there.

The training is excellent, I can tell you that. Most US units statoined over here use German training facilities with German instructors such as the German Mountain Warfare School (reported to be the best of its kind) and what not.

England and Germany are equipped with some of the most state of the art aircraft ie. Typhoon, Tiger, etc., 2 of the worlds best tanks in the Challenger and the Leopard II's.

The G-36 is a great weapon and Germany is supplied with US artillary pieces and AA weapons.

I am not up to date on the British infantry weapons.

Either way England and Germany have 2 of the finest militaries in the world, so if they are comparing the Israeli military to western europes then it has to be good.

The one advantage the Israeli military has is this: They are combat seasoned because they practically live in combat since the 1960s.
The British military is currently equipped with the Lee Enfield SA-80 Mk.II which is poor. But we're are ordering , or have ordered, the G-36. The British Army is one of the best armies in the world. Our Royal Air Force and Royal Navy have some of the best pilots in the world. While our Royal Marines and RAF Regiment are world known as being one of, if not, the best standard infantry combat units.

Britain has also known counter-insurgency warfare since 1921 when Northern Ireland was created. The major decades were the 60s and 70s. We're not novices at war, or counter-insurgency. The British forces train in every terrain, and have fought in every terrain.

Just look at how precise we march! That's discipline.
That article is a joke. The U.S and U.K have an agreement that the US bases are practically US soil, and as said in the article, the British government doesn't need to know what's going through there. It's not Britain's fault if the U.S is supplying Israel.
It wasn't a comment on the use of UK airports or such it was simply an an article to indicate that the resupply was ongoing they are probably using Canadian airspace and aerodromes as well to resupply the IDF
Oh, don't mistake my rant. It wasn't directed at you. I know why you posted it. I was just saying the people in the article are dumb.
I live in a country which uses F-5s as the main fighter, with very few missiles for the whole air force and an army hardened with counter-inurgency

i don't know, but their AF way better than ours
plan_D said:
That article is a joke. The U.S and U.K have an agreement that the US bases are practically US soil, and as said in the article, the British government doesn't need to know what's going through there. It's not Britain's fault if the U.S is supplying Israel.

Same as the US bases here in Germany.
The IDF has never been beaten in combat since the inception of the country in 1948. No combined force even though it outnumbered the Israelis many times over in manpower, weapons and equipment has done jack against them. In the air their competition is simply a sad joke.

Proves one thing-arabs can't fight.
DerAdlerIstGelandet said:
The G-36 is a great weapon and Germany is supplied with US artillary pieces and AA weapons.
Agreed. I wish the U.S. Army and Marines would start using the G-36.

DerAlderIstGelandet said:
The one advantage the Israeli military has is this: They are combat seasoned because they practically live in combat since the 1960s.
Experiance is always the great weapon in a soldier. Alot of those guys fighting now saw combat in the 1990's along with their leaders.
Our special forces are now being issued the new SCAR (SOF Combat Assault Rifle).

This is a much better gun than the G-36. The accuracy is rep0orted to be 1 MOA or better which is amazing for most any rifle let alone a combat rifle.

Special Operations Combat Assault Rifle
Good article. Does anyone know just how big a 500m point target is or a 600m area target?

Just trying to get an understanding as to what we are talking about.

PS don't underestimate the latest version of the SA80. I work both a TA Para Captain and TA infantry Major. Both are convinced that they wouldn't have any any other weapon and both have served in Iraq, with the Para also having done a stint in Afganistan.
They both admit the earlier versions were close to useless.
A former Teammate of mine has test fired the SCAR H and loved it, saying that it and the L overall are far superior to the M4A1... The problem he saw is the retraining of Operators who have used the same weapon for years....

I myself find the weapon too bulky, and probably heavier, and the one thing a SpecWar Operator hates is extra weight...
The rifle from what Les posted seems very good. But to be honest, if I were some Navy SEAL, Green Beret, etc. I would prefer the G-36 anyday especially you go on those long dangerous missions where you have to carry heavy equipment.
Israeli pilots supposedly get more flying hours which is the main difference between them and say the USAF. The NATO minimum standard of flying hours isn't actually that much I think. Their enemies probably get even less.

OTOH they have whipped some RAF butt on at least one occaision, and in similar aircraft as well.
By the end of 1948 the tide had turned in the War of Independence and Israeli forces were pushing the invading Arab armies beyond the borders of mandatory Palestine. In a final bid to rout the Egyptian army, Israel launched operation "Horev", in which five Israeli brigades pushed into the Sinai desert in an attempt to encircle the retreating Egyptians. After five days of fighting, beginning on December 22nd 1948, Israeli victory was within sight. It was then however, that under an agreement with Egypt, Britain intervened and threatened Israel with retaliation should Israeli forces arrive in the Suez canal zone. Faced with such a warning Israeli plans changed and following the encirclement of the Egyptian forces in the Gaza strip, a ceasefire agreement was reached on January 6th 1949, due to go into effect on the afternoon of the 7th.

In order to further validate its warning, British presence in the air above the region was increased. At first a passive observer, the RAF based in Egypt started taking a more active role, intervening with IAF operations against the retreating Egyptian army. On the morning of January 7th 1949, a few hours before the ceasefire was due to come into effect, four RAF 208th Squadron Spitfire F.22s took off from Faid to observe Israeli operations in the Sinai. Once over Israeli forces, however, the four aircraft came under attack from Israeli anti aircraft fire. The formation's no. 2, Frank Close, took a direct hit to his engine and was forced to bail his stricken aircraft. Soon, two Israeli Spitfires of the 101st "First Fighter" Squadron, were also on the scene. The Israeli pilots, Chalmers Goodlin and John McElroy, volunteers from the US and Canada, spotted the Spitfires and engaged them. McElroy scored his first kill against a Spitfire flown by Ron Sayers, while Goodlin went after the RAF flight leader, Geoff Cooper, and shot him down after a short dogfight. McElroy, meanwhile, had spotted the fourth RAF Spitfire circling the wreckage of Close's aircraft. The last British Spitfire went down as well, its pilot, Tim McElhaw, bailing out before the aircraft hit the sand dunes of the Sinai. Ron Sayers was killed in the encounter, Close and McElhaw were captured by Israeli forces, while Cooper managed to evade capture and made it back to Egypt. The two captured pilots were released within a few days.

Although the IAF had gained overall air superiority in its encounters with the various Arab air forces, the prospect of facing the RAF was not one to be taken lightly and orders were issued to prevent a repeat of the combat with the British. These however, were soon ignored when four IAF Spitfires led by Ezer Weizman (former president of Israel) encoutered RAF Tempests looking for their four missing aircraft. In the ensueing dogfight, Bill Schroeder shot down an RAF Tempest, killing its pilot, David Tattersfield, while Weizman severely damaged another.
With the final result 5:0 in favor of Israel, a fierce British retaliation was expected. This failed to materialize however, apparently after the British government came under fire at home for intervening in Arab-Israeli affairs.

The General reputation of Israel being great is from the hard fought wars up until the late 1980s when they began getting decent stuff like F-15s and F-16s and made mince meat of their poorly equppied neighbours. By that stage they had virtually topline US aircraft with battle hardened and experienced pilots, it was a cakewalk against the Soviet supplied crap which wasn't that all great to start with and generally downgraded export versions as well. In the past they were fighting against a more even foe, even fighting against the odds in many cases. These days it's the opposite, they haven't have a hard fought war against a strong conventional enemy in many years and so their combat experience isn't all that better than anyone else, experienced pilots are long gone from most flying positions. I dare say the US probably has more 'combat' experienced pilots these days, certainly more than any other airforce recently even if they haven't had much aerial opposition.

Good article on a brief history of the IAF here
Israel Air Force Flight Journal - Find Articles
P38 Pilot said:
Agreed. I wish the U.S. Army and Marines would start using the G-36.

Alot of SWAT Teams in the U.S. and special forces units use the G-36, and I would imagine the U.S. has probably been experimenting with it, but if they were to use it they would probably replace the M4 with it which I see never happening

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