The Israeli Defense Forces is the strongest military in the Middle East in spite of its relatively small size, according to a new ranking by Business Insider. The Israeli Air Force was ranked as not only the best air force in the Middle East, but in the entire world.
Once considered the underdog of the region, the IDF has come along way since its inception some 66 years ago.
The ranking of Middle Eastern armies were based on various criteria such as strength, budget, size of standing army and number of tanks and aircraft. Other criteria included battle experience with both conventional armies and asymmetrical forces, of which Israel has plenty.
A similar report published earlier in the year ranked the overall military strength of the top 11 militaries in the world. The IDF came in at number eleven. In the earlier ranking, the Turkish military came in eighth, followed by South Korea and Japan, with Israel ranking last.
In spite of the obvious discrepancy, there is little doubt that the IDF is definitely one of the top military powers in the world.
The high overall rankings of the IDF are attributed in part to the “energetic domestic defense industry (which) gives Israel a qualitative edge over all of the region’s other militaries.” Other factors include Israel’s space assets, advanced fighter jets, high tech attack drones as the claim that Israel has nuclear weapons.
While the size of the standing army of the IDF is small (176,500 active frontline personnel or ‘afp’) when compared with other regional powers such as Egypt, (468,500 afp) Turkey (410,500 afp), Saudi Arabia (233,500 afp), Syria (220,000 ), Iraq (271,500) and Iran (545,000), the IDF is praised for its ability to rapidly mobilize its reserves on relatively short notice.