From the playground to the beach, Israelis face everyday reminders of conflict

Israelis enjoy a playground where a military aircraft is placed in memory of fallen soldiers, in Kibbutz Hulata, alongside the Israeli-Syrian border, Sept. 21, 2013. Even in peacetime, the military's influence seems to be felt everywhere in Israel, with uniformed soldiers seen at bus stations and shopping malls, and war memorials peppering the country. Oded Balilty / AP
People relax beside the Banias river, where a flipped Syrian armored personnel carrier from the six-day war in 1967 still lies, Oct. 5, 2013. Oded Balilty / AP
A woman crosses a road next to a tank turret placed as a memorial to Maj. Toval Gvirtzman, who was killed in the 1982 Israeli-Lebanese war, in the northern town of Hadera, Sept. 22, 2013. Oded Balilty / AP
Children play on a Syrian T-62 tank placed as a memorial to fallen soldiers from the armored corps who were killed in the 1982 Israeli-Lebanese war, in the town of Petah Tikva, Aug. 1, 2013. Oded Balilty / AP

By Oded Balilty, The Associated Press

In its 65 years, Israel's military has fought a half-dozen wars, assassinated enemies, enforced an occupation of the West Bank and faced waves of suicide bombings and rocket attacks in its major cities.

It's no surprise that even in peacetime, the shadow of Israel's military past looms large over everyday life. War memorials dot the countryside. Decommissioned planes and tanks become landmarks. In some cases, rusting vehicles of war often become de facto jungle gyms in place of neighborhood playgrounds.

The military's influence is ever-present in Israeli civilian life. Soldiers in uniform are a common sight in the street, at malls, even at the beach. Nearly every Israeli family has someone in service at any given moment.

From large bases in the southern Negev desert, to isolated outposts on the northern border, to the sprawling military headquarters in downtown Tel Aviv, the Israeli military is intertwined with life in the country. Read the full story.

Soldiers sit on the beach in Tel Aviv, June 24, 2012. Oded Balilty / AP
People climb on an old Nord military transport aircraft as they celebrate Israel's 65th independence day, in the Defender's Forest near Kibbutz Nahshon, central Israel, April 16, 2013. The aircraft was placed there as a monument for fallen soldiers from the parachute brigade. Oded Balilty / AP
Children run in a playground near a Fuga aircraft placed as a memorial to fallen soldiers at the Air Force Garden in the central town of Givatayim, Oct. 21, 2013. Oded Balilty / AP

See more photos by AP photographer Oded Balilty