The IDF: A heritage of sacrifice

Since 1860, a total of 22,687 people have died while defending the land of Israel, either in service of the pre-state Jewish community or the state of Israel

Date: 09/05/2011, 12:23 PM     Author: Barney Breen-Portnoy

Since 1860, a total of 22,867 men and women have died while defending the land of Israel, either in service of the pre-state Jewish community or the state of Israel that was established in 1948.

Since the end of the War of Independence, 2,443 people have been killed in terrorist attacks in Israel.

Over the past year, 183 members of the Israeli security establishment – IDF (Zahal), Border Police, Police, General Security Service and other organizations – have died in service of the state and 13 civilians were killed in terrorist attacks.
There are 4,999 widows currently living in Israel who have lost a husband in war. There are 3,252 couples who have lost a child and 2,543 children who have lost a parent.
The Independence War, fought in 1948-49, was Israel’s deadliest conflict. A total of 6,373 people were killed – around 1 percent of the entire Jewish population in the land of Israel. That number included around 4,000 soldiers and 2,400 civilians.

231 IDF (Zahal) soldiers were killed during the Sinai Campaign in 1956.

The Six-Day War broke out in June 1967 following Egypt’s mobilization of its army in the Sinai and its closing of the Straits of Tiran to Israeli shipping. In the conflict, Israeli forces established control over the Sinai Peninsula, the Golan Heights and Judea and Samaria. During Six-Day War, 776 IDF (Zahal) soldiers were killed.

In October 1973, Israel was attacked by a coalition of Arab states led by Egypt and Syria. The ensuing conflict lasted three weeks. 2,688 IDF (Zahal) lost their lives defending the state during the Yom Kippur War.

In response to Palestinian terrorism emanating from southern Lebanon, Israeli forces entered that country in June 1982 with the purpose of eliminating terrorist bases. In 1985, IDF (Zahal) forces withdrew from southern Lebanon (except for a security buffer zone along the border that was vacated in 2000). 1,216 IDF (Zahal) soldiers were killed in Lebanon between June 1982 and May 1985.

332 members of the Israeli security establishment were killed between 2000 and 2008 as a result of violence committed by Palestinians during the Second Intifada.

In July 2006, the Hezbollah terrorist organization attacked IDF (Zahal) forces on the northern border, prompting the outbreak of the Second Lebanon War. From July 12-August 14, 117 IDF (Zahal) soldiers were killed. Two more soldiers were killed following the cease-fire and one died a year later from wounds he suffered during the war.