An Israeli soldier from the Nahal Infantry Brigade aims his weapon during an urban warfare drill near an abandoned hotel in Arad, southern Israel, February 2017. 
Amir Cohen / REUTERS

Ofer Familier, a 35-year-old Israeli, works as business development director of Vayyar Imaging, a successful start-up that makes radar-based imaging sensors for breast cancer. At first glance, this work seems to stand apart from his former duties in the Israeli air force intelligence corps, where he completed his three-year mandatory military service. But in a larger sense, Familier’s stint in the military has been crucial to his entrepreneurship—as it has for that of many others. Two years ago, Nadav Zafrir, the head of the Israel Defense Forces’ signals intelligence department, left to launch a start-up tracking cybercrime. It swiftly raised $18 million in venture capital funding. There are hundreds more stories like theirs.

The IDF’s conscription system has brought great benefits to Israel’s economy. The armed forces meticulously place talented conscripts in technological, combat, and intelligence units. The skills that the conscripts acquire are a significant benefit

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