The IDF is officially recognized as ‘Strongest army in the Middle East’


Business Insider puts IDF at top of list of 15 strongest regional armies, saying Israel has space assets, drones, advanced jets, nuclear weapons, & “the Israeli Air Force is the best in the world.”

By Yoni Hirsch and Israel Hayom Staff


Although the balance of power and geopolitical interests have rapidly shifted in the Middle East in recent years, it appears Israel has managed to maintain — at least for the time being — its military supremacy, according to the news website Business Insider. On Monday the website published its ranking of the 15 strongest armies in the region, and put the Israel Defense Forces at the top.

According to Business Insider, Israel has one of the most battle-ready armies in the region, with 176,500 active frontline personnel, 3,870 tanks and 680 aircraft – Photo: Albert Sadiko /JINI

Business Insider cited the IDF’s annual budget of $15 billion, 176,500 active frontline personnel, 3,870 tanks and 680 aircraft, while also accounting for regional and global alliances with Egypt, Jordan and the United States.

“Israel has a conscription system in which most Jewish and Druze citizens of the country are required to serve in the military for either two or three years,” the website said. “A close defense relationship with the U.S. and an energetic domestic defense industry give Israel a qualitative edge over all of the region’s other militaries: Israel has space assets, advanced fighter jets, high-tech armed drones, and nuclear weapons. Its air force has incredibly high entry and training standards.”

Chris Harmer, a senior naval analyst at the Institute for the Study of War, told Business Insider that “pilot to pilot, airframe to airframe, the Israeli Air Force is the best in the world.”

Additionally, according to Business Insider, Israel also has one of the most battle-ready armies in the region, with experience securing some of the most problematic borders on the planet.

“Israel’s military has also never attempted a coup or ruled the country directly, unlike several others on this list,” it said. “Thanks to Israel’s small size, the military can rapidly mobilize its reserves on relatively short notice.”

Meanwhile, due to regional tensions, four of the five fastest-growing defense markets in 2013 were in the Middle East, led by Oman (up 115 percent in a year) and Saudi Arabia (up 300 percent in a decade).

The second-strongest army in the region, according to Business Insider, is Turkey, with a defense budget of $18.1 billion, 410,500 active frontline personnel, 3,657 tanks and 989 aircraft.

Saudi Arabia ranked third with a defense budget of $56.7 billion, 233,500 active frontline personnel, 1,095 tanks and 652 aircraft.

Israel’s primary foe in the region, Iran, was ranked fifth on the list with a $6.3 billion defense budget, 545,000 active frontline personnel, 2,409 tanks and 481 aircraft.

The country’s two main security allies in the region, Egypt and Jordan, were ranked sixth and eighth respectively.

Egypt has an annual defense budget of $4.4 billion, 468,500 active frontline personnel, 4,767 tanks and 1,100 aircraft, while Jordan has a $1.5 billion defense budget with 110,700 active frontline personnel, 1,321 tanks and 246 aircraft.


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