I associated with and/or conducted liaison with The Israel Defense Force (IDF) for many years. This activity occurred as part of my regular duties as a US Army officer and later as a civilian executive of the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA). Since my retirement from US government service I have had many occasions to visit Israel and to watch the IDF in action against various groups of Palestinians all over the West Bank. I have many friends who are retired and/or reserve members of the IDF. My observations concerning the IDF are based on that experience.
I write here of the ground force. The air force and navy are unknown to me from personal experience except that I know some of their officers from their service in joint (inter-service) assignments like general staff intelligence.
IMO, the IDF is an army built to very specifically suit Israel's individual circumstances, needs, and philosophy. It is in some ways, a singular force. It actually more closely resembles the Swiss military establishment than it does a large standing force backed by reserve units in the way that the US Army is built.
The IDF ground force is essentially a reserve or militia army that keeps most of its forces in inactive status while maintaining a handful of units on active duty as a training base and a force in being to meet short term contingencies.
In this post I am writing of the "line" of the ground forces as represented by armor, infantry, paratroop and artillery units at brigade level and below, i.e., battalion and company.
The special operations forces are a small part of Israeli capabilities and are manned and maintained on a very different basis. In many ways they are more like a "SWAT" team than a military force.