Since its establishment in 1948, the State of Israel has fought seven recognized wars, two Palestinian Intifadas, and a series of armed conflicts in the broader Arab-Israeli conflict.
Wars and other conflicts
Israel has been involved in a number of wars and large-scale military operations, including:
- Suez Crisis (October 1956) - A military attack on Egypt by Britain, France and Israel, beginning on 29 October 1956, with the intention to occupy the Sinai Peninsula and to take over the Suez Canal. The attack followed Egypt's decision of 26 July 1956 to nationalize the Suez Canal after the withdrawal of an offer by Britain and the United States to fund the building of the Aswan Dam. Although the Israeli invasion of the Sinai was successful, the US and USSR forced it to retreat. Even so, Israel managed to re-open the Straits of Tiran and pacified its southern border.
- War of Attrition (1967–1970) - A limited war fought between the Israeli military and forces of the Egyptian Republic, the USSR, Jordan, Syria and the Palestine Liberation Organization from 1967 to 1970. It was initiated by the Egyptians as a way of recapturing the Sinai from the Israelis, who had been in control of the territory since the mid-1967 Six-Day War. The hostilities ended with a ceasefire signed between the countries in 1970 with frontiers remaining in the same place as when the war began.
- Yom Kippur War (October 1973) - Fought from October 6 to October 26, 1973 by a coalition of Arab states led by Egypt and Syria against Israel as a way of recapturing part of the territories which they lost to the Israelis back in the Six-Day War. The war began with a surprise joint attack by Egypt and Syria on the Jewish holiday of Yom Kippur. Egypt and Syria crossed the cease-fire lines in the Sinai and Golan Heights, respectively. Eventually Arab forces were defeated by Israel and there were no significant territorial changes.
- Palestinian insurgency in South Lebanon (1971-1982) - PLO relocate to South Lebanon from Jordan and stage attacks on the Galilee and as a base for international operations. In 1978, Israel launches Operation Litani - the first Israeli large-scale invasion of Lebanon, which was carried out by the Israel Defense Forces in order to expel PLO forces from the territory. Continuing ground and rocket attacks and Israeli retaliations eventually escalate into the 1982 War.
- 2006 Lebanon War (summer 2006) - Began as a military operation in response to the abduction of two Israeli reserve soldiers by the Hezbollah. The operation gradually strengthened, to become a wider confrontation. The principal participants were Hezbollah paramilitary forces and the Israeli military. The conflict started on 12 July 2006 and continued until a United Nations-brokered ceasefire went into effect on 14 August 2006, though it formally ended on 8 September 2006, when Israel lifted its naval blockade of Lebanon. The war resulted in the pacification of southern Lebanon and in the weakness of the Hezbollah (which suffered serious casualties but managed to survive the Israeli onslaught).
- Gaza War (December 2008 - January 2009) - Three-week armed conflict between Israel and Hamas during the winter of 2008–2009. In an escalation of the ongoing Israeli–Palestinian conflict, Israel responded to ongoing rocket fire from the Gaza Strip with military force in an action titled "Operation Cast Lead". Israel opened the attack with a surprise air strike on December 27, 2008. Israel's stated aim was to stop such rocket fire from and the import of arms into Gaza. Israeli forces attacked military and terrorist-commandeered civilian targets, police stations, and government buildings in the opening assault. Israel declared an end to the conflict on January 18 and completed its withdrawal on January 21, 2009.
Considered wars by the Israeli Ministry of Defense (as they were named by Israel):
|Conflict||Combatant 1||Combatant 2||Results||Israeli commanders||Losses on the Israeli side|
|Israeli Prime Minister||Defense Minister of Israel||Chief of Staff of the IDF||IDF forces||Civilians|
|War of Independence|
| Israel|| Egypt|
|Victory||David Ben-Gurion||David Ben-Gurion||Yaakov Dori||4,000 killed||2,373 killed|
- Israeli occupation of Sinai until 1957, followed by a UNEF-controlled demilitarized zone.
|Moshe Dayan||177 killed|
|Six Day War|
| Israel|| Egypt|
|Victory||Levi Eshkol||Moshe Dayan||Yitzhak Rabin||779 killed|
|War of Attrition|
| Israel|| Egypt|
|Both sides claimed victory|
- Continued Israeli occupation of Sinai.
|Golda Meir||Haim Bar-Lev||594 killed|
|Yom Kippur War|
| Israel|| Egypt|
|Victory||David Elazar||2,656 killed|
|First Lebanon War|
|Victory||Menachem Begin||Ariel Sharon||Rafael Eitan||657 killed|
|Second Lebanon War|
| Israel|| Hezbollah||Both sides claimed victory|
- Hezbollah retreat from Southern Lebanon.
|Ehud Olmert||Amir Peretz||Dan Halutz||121 killed|
Other armed conflicts involving the IDF
- ^ Israeli military decorations by campaign
- ^ References:
- Herzog, The War of Atonement, Little, Brown and Company, 1975. Forward
- Insight Team of the London Sunday Times, Yom Kippur War, Double Day and Company, Inc, 1974, page 450
- Luttwak and Horowitz, The Israeli Army. Cambridge, MA, Abt Books, 1983
- Rabinovich, The Yom Kippur War, Schocken Books, 2004. Page 498
- 0-313-31302-4&lr=#v=onepage&q=&f=false Revisiting The Yom Kippur War, P.R. Kumaraswamy, pages 1–2
- Johnson and Tierney, Failing To Win, Perception of Victory and Defeat in International Politics. Page 177
- Charles Liebman, The Myth of Defeat: The Memory of the Yom Kippur war in Israeli Society Middle Eastern Studies, Vol 29, No. 3, July 1993. Published by Frank Cass, London. Page 411.
Recognized wars involving the Israeli Defense Forces