History of the Israel Defense Forces 1948 – 2000s The history of the Israel Defense Forces is connected with the birth of the State of Israel in 1948. The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) were formed following the independence on May 14 th, 1948. It was formed to defend the state of Israel, to protect the people of Israel and to combat all forms of terrorism which threaten their daily lives. 1949 – 1956 During these years the IDF started to build itself as a modern army. It got heavier weapons and formed an armored corps and the Israeli Air Force. In 1956 hostilities grew at the Israeli-Egyptian border and this led to the 1956 Suez War.