Nearly 177,000 Serve in the Israeli Military

 This constitutes less than 2% of the total population.

09/08/2023 - 19:55

Almost 177,000 individuals are currently serving in the Israeli military. Such figures from the previous year are available from open sources, as reported by

The Israeli armed forces are referred to as the IDF, which stands for the Israel Defense Forces. Approximately a quarter of the budget is allocated annually to the combat readiness and defense of the country. Notably, both young men and women serve in Israel's military. The conscription age ranges from 18 to 27 years, and those with "permanent resident" status and repatriates may receive draft notices.

The length of military service for men is 3 years, and for women, it is 2 years. Upon completing their military duties, soldiers and officers become part of the reserves. Following their period of active duty, servicemen and women have the option to continue their military service on a contractual basis.

Exemptions from Military Service

In Israel, there is a prevailing cultural inclination for citizens to join combat units, the military police, or security roles. Many Israeli companies prefer to hire individuals with military experience. Evading military service is only permissible under legitimate circumstances.

Exemption from conscription is granted to students of religious schools, married women, or women of conscription age who have children, as well as those with health issues.

If an Israeli citizen is undergoing higher education during a draft campaign, they are eligible for a deferment.

Female citizens whose religious beliefs prevent them from serving in the armed forces are offered an alternative service. They may be assigned to Israel's security agencies, institutions for absorbing new repatriates, schools, hospitals, elderly care facilities, childcare facilities, and more.

Women who have reached the age of 20 or older, and men aged 23 or older, may only join the armed forces voluntarily.


When Are Israeli Citizens Recalled to Military Service

To maintain a combat-ready reserve, reserve servicemen are annually called up for training sessions lasting from 2 to 5 weeks. Married women, women with children, and reservist women are exempt from this call-up.

Reserve forces may be called into active duty under the following circumstances:

  • Declaration of war;
  • Conducting military operations;
  • Large-scale natural disasters and other emergencies.


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