Much of Israel’s history has, for better or worse, been written with guns. From the 1948 War of Independence to today, Israeli forces have used firearms to defend the state or its interests on almost yearly basis. Images of Israeli forces rushing the West Bank in 1967 or escorting rescued hostages from Entebbe are synonymous with the Jewish State, and some of Israel’s weapons have become quite famous in their own right. Here are five of Israel’s deadliest, and most famous firearms.
Uzi Submachine Gun: In the early years, Israel had little industrial capacity and many countries refused to sell arms to it. As a result, Israel was forced to start up its own arms industry from virtually nothing. Lt. Uziel Gal, an Israeli of German descent, patented a new machine gun that would go on to arm the Israel Defense Forces (IDF). The compact “Uzi” was a simple blowback machine gun with a twenty-five or thirty-two-round magazine seated in the pistol grip. The cocking lever resided on top, and it had simple iron sights. The Uzi was cheap and inexpensive to manufacture, and fired 9mm ammunition at a rate of 600 rounds per minute. In addition to Israel, the Uzi was also adopted by Japan, Germany, Belgium, Peru and Brazil.
FN FAL Battle Rifle: The early IDF was forced to rely on a mixed bag of infantry rifles, from modern weapons to bolt action rifles. This logistical nightmare was eliminated with the adoption of the FN FAL battle rifle. Adopted in 1955, the rifles were quickly put to use in the 1956 war, then the Six Day War, the War of Attrition and the 1973 Yom Kippur War. The FAL was a hefty weapon; made of steel and wood it tipped the scales at nine pounds. The rifle used a twenty round 7.62mm box magazine. The FAL’s 7.62mm round had the range to be useful in arid environments, but the forty-inch long rifle was not suitable for indoor or close-quarter use—hence the need for the Uzi. The FAL had a cyclic rate of fire of 650 to 700 rounds per minute. [full article]