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BEWARE ENEMEIS OF THE JEWS: Israel ranked the mightiest army in the Middle East

No. 1 Israel


$15 billion defense budget
176,500 active frontline personnel
3,870 tanks
680 aircraft

The Israel Defense Forces has defended against a diverse range of enemies since the country achieved independence in 1948. Israel has successfully fought large conventional armies, like the Egyptian and Syrian militaries in 1967 and 1972, as well as asymmetrical foes, like Palestinian militant groups.

Israel has a conscription system in which most Jewish and Druze citizens of the country are required to serve in the military for either two or three years. A close defense relationship with the US and an energetic domestic defense industry give Israel a qualitative edge over all of the region’s other militaries: Israel has space assets, advanced fighter jets,high-tech armed drones, and nuclear weapons. Its air force has incredibly high entry and training standards. “Pilot to pilot, airframe to airframe, the Israeli air force is the best in the world,” Harmer says.

Israel also has one of the region’s most battle-ready armies, a force that has fought in four major engagements since 2006 and has experience securing a few of the most problematic borders on earth.

Israel’s military has also never attempted a coup or ruled the country directly, unlike several others on this list.

Thanks to Israel’s small size, the military can rapidly mobilize its reserves on relatively short notice.

Key allies: The US is the major one, though Israel enjoys a degree of security cooperation with Jordan and Egypt.

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