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The glossary is comprised of nearly 250 terms related to the Israeli-Palestinian context. Given the rapidly shifting landscape, these terms cannot capture the full range of nuances, narratives and historical events. This tool is meant as a starting point and we encourage you to continue your exploration of this topic through further research. Last update and review: September 2015.


An acronym for Israel Defense Forces, commonly known in Israel by its Hebrew acronym Tzahal. The IDF is the State of Israel's military, including ground forces, air force and navy. Israeli Law requires that all Israeli citizens and permanent residents begin serving in the Israeli army at the age of 18. Men are required to serve three years and women to serve 20-21 months. All non-Jewish women, Arab men (except Druze) and (until the 2014 Equal Services Law) Haredi Jews are automatically exempt from service, although volunteers from these groups are occasionally admitted and the Israeli state encourages some Bedouins to join. Reserve service is required until the age of 51 in the case of men, and 24 in the case of women. There are different categories of "refuseniks:" Israelis who refuse to join the army, or refuse to continue serving in the reserves, many for reasons of conscientious objection due to the occupation. See "As an ex-soldier in the Israeli Defense Forces, I've seen how shockingly we treat Palestinians," Avner Gvaryahu, the Independent, July 15, 2015.See also the website for Breaking the Silence.