The Simpsons episode where Homer visits Israel includes one of the funniest scenes with a young Israeli girl beating up Bart Simpson using Krav Maga (The Israeli self-defense martial art).
Funny as the Simpsons scene was, Krav Maga is no joking matter. The name comes from two Hebrew words, Krav – Fight (Combat), and Maga – Contact. Krav Maga was founded by an Israeli immigrant, Imi Lichtenfeld, who came from Hungary and Slovakia, where anti-semitism was rampant. He created a method to defend, deflect, and redirect street attackers strength back at them. He emigrated to Palestine in 1940 and taught this method to the fledgling Jewish militia, the Haganah. By 1948, with the creation of the State of Israel, Krav Maga had become standard combat hand-to-hand training for all IDF (Israel Defense Forces) soldiers.
Over the years, Krav Maga has been refined and updated to include elements of Aikido, Wrestling, Judo, and even Western Boxing. Students are taught to avoid confrontation, but if attacked, or if necessary to attack, to “finish” decisively and quickly.
In the past month, there have been dozens of stabbing attacks by Palestinian terrorists. Many of these attacks have been carried out on Israeli soldiers waiting at bus stops, or as they walked on the sidewalk. IDF training has given soldiers the skills required to thwart and redirect these attacks. Thankfully, many lives have been saved by Krav Maga techniques.
Watch this short IDF video of Krav Maga techniques in action.