Israeli Military Education: Historical Overview of a Unique Phenomenon (1941-2004)

Adi Sherzer*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This article traces the Israel Defence Forces (IDF) different perceptions of military education from the 1940s to the 2000s and discusses their place in the Israeli military strategy. It first compares the founding principles of Israeli military education with other concepts from around the world, and then examines the changes in the Israeli concept between the 1940s-1970s. Finally, it addresses some of the trends and challenges of the Education Corps from the mid-1970s onwards, which are still relevant today. The historical discussion starts with the educational doctrine of the Palmach, a pre-state military force established in 1941, and culminates in 2004, with the articulation of the military education doctrine in a formal document. The main argument is that the Israeli case presents a unique understanding of military education, which is important not only in historical context, but also in the wider context of the relationship between armed forces and society, and the never-ending question of what motivates the soldier to put his life in danger.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)971-992
Number of pages22
JournalBritish Journal of Middle Eastern Studies
Issue number5
StatePublished - 2022

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© 2021 British Society for Middle Eastern Studies.


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