A while ago I was on the phone with Jack Murphy talking about the history of the IDF, its ops and other bits of information he was interested in when he asked me why is it that Israel has so many SOF or special operations capable units. This is a question I am asked a lot so I figure it was time to write about it.
Now, this is by no means an “official” answer. This is my own opinion after having lived in Israel for many years and having served in the IDF, sometimes attached to some of those SOF units.
Israel is a small country with a population of roughly 3+ million that can serve in the IDF both as active duty or as a reservist. The IDF is not a big military and has historically been composed of small units that can perform very specific tasks and be “regular” infantry when needed as well. Like in the Marines, every IDF soldier is a rifleman.