Jerusalem • In its 65 years, Israel's military has fought a half-dozen wars, carried out countless operations at home and abroad and faced waves of suicide bombings and rocket attacks in its major cities.
It's no surprise that even in peace time, the shadow of Israel's military past looms large over everyday life. War memorials pepper the country. Decommissioned planes and tanks become landmarks. In some cases, rusting vehicles of war often become de facto jungle gyms in place of neighborhood playgrounds.
The military's influence is ever-present in Israeli civilian life. Most Jewish men are required to enlist at the age of 18 for three years of mandatory service followed by decades in the reserves. Women serve two years.