Dogs of the IDF


Does your puppy have what it takes to defend Israel?
The Times of Israel recently reported that the Israel Air Force is in hot water with an animal rights group for providing inadequate shade for guard dogs on their bases. 

Dogs have had a place in the IDF since its inception. The IDF has a separate, dedicated canine unit, called Oketz.

The forerunner to Oketz was established with the help of Dr. Rudolphina Menzel, an animal behavior specialist from Vienna who immigrated to Palestine in 1934. Menzel was asked by the Haganah to help train dogs for security purposes, and gained recognition for her development of the Canaan Dog breed.

In 1949, Menzel founded the Israel Institute for Mobility of Blind, where she applied her skills to train seeing eye dogs for many years.

Here’s a job description for four-legged defenders of Israel in 1949:

Israeli Army Mobilizes Dogs; Announces Requirements for Canine Recruits

TEL AVIV, Jan. 7 (JTA) – Canine recruits are being sought by the Israeli Army, it was announced here today. The Army is especially interested in recruiting Boxers, Alsatians, Dobermans and Airdale Terriers. The dogs must be under three years of age and must be at least 20 inches in height.

No mention of bark mitzvahs being required.

Rudolphina Menzel (L) with husband Rudolph, 1914

 Image: Dr. Rudolphina Menzel, pictured L, with husband rudolph.

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