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In Israel, military service in the Israeli Defence Force (IDF) is mandatory. Unless an individual has a medical problem or is extremely religious - at 18-years-old, all citizens are drafted into the army. Boys serve for three years and girls, in most cases, serve for two years.


Israel is one of the only countries in the world which has mandatory service for women. Historically, women assisted the fighting men and did not serve on the frontier, but over the years, women have fought to broaden the scope of the roles they can serve. Today, there are women in the Israeli army who are pilots, who train paratroopers and who hold executive positions. They serve alongside the many women who still hold desk jobs.


Since everyone is drafted into the army at 18-years-old, the IDF is often referred to as "the army of the nation" and as a melting pot of the Israeli society. Friendships are formed between people who otherwise probably wouldn't have met. Soldiers serving in the same unit come from vastly different backgrounds and often with different levels of commitment to their service, as it is mandatory and not a choice.


Unlike armies in large countries, where soldiers do not see their families for months, in Israel most soldiers go home more than once a month, and a significant percentage even live at home and commute to their bases daily.

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