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The Israeli Defense Force

             As Kenneth Waltz put it, states operate in a "self-help" system in which threats to national security are omnipresent. Small states, in particular, have difficulties meeting challenges from powerful aggressors, since such states are by definition limited in their ability to build sizable and well-equipped military machines. .
             A few small states reconcile themselves to "defensive nihilism," the abandonment of hope to establish an effective defense. A few others, such as Switzerland and Sweden, adopt postures of self-reliance, attempting to meet security challenges without outside help. .
             Other small states augment their military capability by allying themselves with other countries. The mobilization of other countries' resources in confronting external threats is termed external balancing. .
             Alliances, however, can constrain a state's freedom of action. In many cases, a small state's room to maneuver is also constricted by the prevailing structure of the international system and its regional subsystem. Most small states attempt to devise strategic doctrines based on a mix of external and internal balancing in order to maximize military power and the freedom to use it.
             Israel is an example of such a small state. Israel always has aspired to self-reliance in its defense. Traditionally, Israeli leaders have placed little faith in the good intentions of the international community. Since it's establishment, Israel's leaders felt that their country faced an existential threat from the Arab states' desire to eradicate the Jewish state. They similarly understood that military power was critical to the country's ability to survive, and as a result, Israel invested heavily in developing a strong military machine. .
             David Ben-Gurion, Israel's first prime minister, knew that building a militarily strong country was extremely important to survive in the Middle East: "Israel stood up by its own strength and will stand firm only if it trusts first and foremost in itself as a power of growing greatness.

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