Israel's ground, air, and naval forces, known as the Israel Defense Force (IDF), fall under the command of a single general staff. Conscription is universal for Jewish men and women over the age of 18, although exemptions may be made on religious grounds. Druze, members of a small Islamic sect living in Israel's mountains, also serve in the IDF. Israeli Arabs, with few exceptions, do not serve. During 1950-66, Israel spent an average of 9% of GDP on defense. Real defense expenditures increased dramatically after both the 1967 and 1973 wars. In 1996, the military budget reached 10.6% of GDP and represented about 21.5% of the total 1996 budget.
In 1983, the United States and Israel established the Joint Political Military Group, which meets twice a year. Both the U.S. and Israel participate in joint military planning and combined exercises, and have collaborated on military research and weapons development.
Military branches: Israel Defense Forces (includes ground, naval, and air components), Pioneer Fighting Youth (Nahal), Frontier Guard, Chen (women); note - historically there have been no separate Israeli military services
Military manpower - military age: 18 years of age
Military manpower - availability:
males age 15-49: 1,499,186
females age 15-49: 1,462,063 (2000 est.)
Military manpower - fit for military service:
males age 15-49: 1,226,903
females age 15-49: 1,192,319 (2000 est.)
Military manpower - reaching military age annually:
females: 47,996 (2000 est.)
Military expenditures - dollar figure: $8.7 billion (FY99)
Military expenditures - percent of GDP: 9.4% (FY99)