Israel is a modern-day Sparta. With a population of only 6.3 million, it can mobilize an army of up to 625,000 in 72 hours. Israel’s military is one of the best equipped and best trained in the world. Numerical comparisons to Arab nations are misleading as Israel has some of the most advanced battle tanks in the world, the Merkava series, and access to cutting-edge U.S. military technology, including combat aircraft and attack helicopters.
Israel receives $3 billion a year in U.S. military aid, and it engages in joint military research and development with – and outright spying on – its patron, enabling it to build a worldclass military with an annual budget of just $9 billion. It is one of only eight nations, for instance, to have an active space and satellite program.
According to the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, Israel has “sophisticated chemical and biological weapons programs… at the Israel Institute for Biological Research.”
Israel is also one of the big players in the nine-nation nuclear club. As of 1997, its arsenal was estimated at more than 400 “deliverable thermonuclear and nuclear weapons,” according to Janes Intelligence Weekly. And it is thought to have a highly sophisticated nuclear triad, that is, air-, land- and sea-launched bombs. Its rocket technology gives its missiles an estimated range of up to 4,700 miles, meaning Israel could nuke Beijing.
BY THE NUMBERS…
Population of the U.S.: 300 million
Population of Israel: 6.3 million
Size of Israeli Army that can be mobilized within 72 hours: Up to 625,000
Size of standing U.S. Army (including 107,000 reservists): 488,944
Estimated size of Hezbollah’s full-time fighting force: 3,000-6,000
Number of main battle tanks in Israeli Army: 3,657
Number of main battle tanks in U.S. Army: 7,620+
Number of armored personnel carriers in Israeli Army: 10,419+
Number of armored personnel carriers in U.S. Army: 16,008
Number of armored vehicles of all types possessed by Hezbollah: 0
Number of artillery pieces in Israeli Army: 5,432
Number of artillery pieces in U.S. Army: 6,530
Number of combat-capable aircraft in Israeli Air Force: 402
Number of combat-capable aircraft in U.S. Air Force: 1,659
Estimated range of Hezbollah’s longest-range missile, the Iranian-made Zelzal-2: 125 miles
Estimated range of an Israeli Intercontinental Ballistic Missile (based on its two-stage Shavit space
rocket): 4,700 miles for a half-ton payload
Estimated explosive yield of Israel’s nuclear arsenal: 50,000,000 tons
Explosive yield of a Zelzal-2: 2/3 of a ton
Annual amount Israel receives in U.S. aid: $3 billion
Estimated annual amount Hezbollah receives in Iranian aid: $50 million
Population density of Warsaw Ghetto: 110,800 people per sq. km.
Population density on average of eight refugee camps in Gaza Strip: 100,000 people per sq. km.