Part of what makes Israel, Israel, is the Israeli Army. All citizens must serve. To be a part of the Israeli army is to be a part of history! So much of Israel depends on protecting the borders here and keeping the land safe for all.
There is a job for everyone in the IDF, and for many, it helps them harness their skills and narrow down what they want to do in the future. There are army photographers, social workers, and even performers - Israeli popstar Noa Kirel is currently completing her service in the army! Men typically serve for three years, and women serve for two years. Women can serve in combat roles too!
So how does serving in the army affect Israelis?
Israelis know from a young age that they will serve in the army when they graduate high school. While around the world, young adults aged 18-22 are going to university, Israelis are serving their county.
It's very common after this service for Israelis to travel afterward to decompress after the pressures of the army. They usually go to South America, India, or Southeast Asia. By the time Israelis go to study at university, they are older and have had more life experiences.
The army instills a sense of pride and patriotism in young Israelis. It's a place where so many make lifelong friends and find direction and a sense of purpose for their life going forward.
If you want a taste of serving in the IDF, you can volunteer on Sar-El. Sar-El is a three-week program on an army base where participants can get a taste of IDF culture- complete with the classic green army uniform.