Israel Defense Forces insignia

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This page details the uniforms and insignia of the Israel Defense Forces, excluding rank insignia. For ranks, see Israel Defense Forces ranks and insignia.

Uniforms[edit]

IDF uniform colors

The Israel Defense Forces has several types of uniforms:

  • Service dress (Madei Aleph)[1] - "Class A" uniform; everyday wear, worn by enlisted soldiers.
  • Field dress (Madei Bet)[2] - "Class B" uniform; worn into combat, training, work on base.
  • Officers / Ceremonial dress (Madei Srad)[3] - Ceremonial uniform; worn by non-commissioned officers, by commissioned officers above the rank seren or during special events/ceremonies.
  • Dress uniform and Mess dress - worn only abroad. There are several dress uniforms depending on the season and the branch. Dress uniforms follow the American model and Mess Dress uniforms follow the British and Commonwealth pattern.

The service uniform for all ground forces personnel is olive green; navy and air force uniforms are beige. The uniforms consist of a shirt, trousers, sweater, jacket or blouse, and shoes or boots. The navy has an all-white dress uniform. Green fatigues are the same for winter and summer and heavy winter gear is issued as needed. Women's dress parallels the men's but a woman may choose to substitute a skirt for the trousers, or sandals for boots.

Some corps or units have small variations in their uniforms - for instance, military policemen wear a white belt and white police hat. Similarly, while most IDF soldiers are issued black leather boots, some units issue reddish-brown leather boots for historical reasons- the paratroopers, Nahal and Kfir brigades, as well as some SF units (Sayeret Matkal, Oketz, Duvdevan, Maglan, Counter-Terror School). Additionally, certain special operations units are issued canvas hiking boots for wear during missions.

Berets[edit]

Soldiers of the Combat Engineering Corps being awarded with Grey berets

Each corps in the Israel Defense Forces has a beret of a different color and/or a different beret pin worn by its soldiers, independent of rank and position. Israel Defense Forces soldiers wear berets on their heads only on formal occasions, such as ceremonies and roll calls. The beret is placed beneath the left shoulder strap while wearing the service uniform (alef), but not while wearing the combat/work (bet) uniform in the field. On base it is left to the unit's discretion whether to wear berets or field hats. Air force and navy officers, military orchestra soldiers and military police law enforcement soldiers wear combination caps. Formerly, male soldiers of all ranks wore combination caps, while female soldiers wore the garrison cap. In the 1950s, the beret was adopted as the default headgear for the service uniform. The color of the air force beret was blue-gray; armored corps, artillery, and special operations personnel wore a black beret. Paratroopers, following the pattern of the British Army, wore maroon, all other infantry wore olive drab. Combat engineers wore a gray beret. For all other army personnel, except combat units, the beret for men was green and for women, black. Women in the navy wore a black beret with gold insignia while men wore the traditional white sailor cap like that of the US Navy.

IDF soldier from the Golani Brigade, in service dress (a S.F.C, medic, with the 2006 Lebanon war ribbon & citation)
Corps Color
Air Force
Air Force  
Infantry Corps
Golani Brigade  
Paratroopers Brigade and SF units  
Nahal Brigade  
Givati Brigade  
Kfir Brigade Camouflage.svg
Armor Corps
Armor Corps  
Artillery Corps
Artillery Corps  
Combat Intelligence Corps
Combat Intelligence Corps  
Engineering Corps
Engineering Corps  
Intelligence
Directorate of Military Intelligence  
Military Police
Military Police  
Border Police
Border Police  
Home Front
Home Front Command  
General
General Corps  
Navy
Sea Corps  

Beret pins[edit]

All berets in the Israel Defense Forces, other than general corps berets (when worn by recruits), have pins attached to their front, which represent the symbol of the corps. While soldiers may wear the beret of another corps due to serving at that corps' base, they will always wear the pin of their native corps. Each pin consists of the corps symbol as well as a certain ornament which also contains the name of the corps. Soldiers serving a term in military prison must wear a blank beret with no pins attached.

Corps Pin symbol
The Chief of Staff

Rosh HaMate HaKlali (Ramatkal)

Israel Defense Forces Emblem
Badge of the Israel Defense Forces.new.svg
General Staff

HaMate HaKlali

Sword wrapped by an olive branch
Home Front Command

Pikud HaOref (Heil HaOref)

Sword wrapped by an olive branch with a large triangle in the background
Military Rabbinate

HaRabanut HaTzva'it

Figure of the Ten Commandments with a sword in the foreground
Military Advocate General

HaPraklitut HaTzva'it

Israel Defense Forces Military Advocate General insignia.png
Scales and a sword
Air Force

Heil HaAvir

Coat of arms of the Israeli Air Force.png
Sword, olive branch, Star of David and wings (eagle wings, found at Bet-Shean excavations).
Infantry Corps

Heil HaRaglim

IDF Infantry Beret Pin.jpg
Sword wrapped by an olive branch
Armor Corps

Heil HaShiryon

Sikat heil shiryon-2.png
Tank with olive branches
Artillery Corps

Heil HaTothanim

Cannon/artillery piece
Combat Engineering Corps

Heil HaHandasa HaKravit

SemelHandasaKravit002.jpg
Sword and castle surrounded by blast's halo
Field Intelligence Corps

Heil Ha'Isuf Ha'Kravi

Sword and binoculars wrapped by an olive branch
Ordnance Corps

Heil HaHimush

Sword, torch and a cog
Medical Corps

Heil HaRefu'a

Snake around torch with Star of David on the bowl of the torch
Intelligence Corps

Heil HaModi'in

Fleur-de-lis with half a star.
C4I Corps

Heil HaTikshuv

Sword with wings and a pair of lightning bolts
Education and Youth Corps

Heil HaHinukh VeHaNo'ar

חיל החינוך והנוער2.jpg
Star of David, book and bow and arrow
Adjutant Corps

Heil HaShalishut

Sword wrapped by an olive branch, a book, and a disk
Logistics Corps

Heil HaLogistika

Sword, olive branch and a steering wheel
Military Police

Heil HaMishtara HaTzva'it

Shield and flame
Border Police

Mishmar HaGvul (Magav)

Israel Police Star of David
General Corps

HaHayil HaKlali

Two crossed swords and a fig leaf
Navy

Heil HaYam

Sword wrapped by an olive branch, anchor and seaweed

Shoulder tags[edit]

Typically, each IDF unit (yehida) has its own shoulder tag (tagei katef).[4] Shoulder tags consist of a long section and a tip, which can be one of four shapes: a circle (commands, directorates and air force units except anti-aircraft), a square (Golani Brigade), a diamond, or a shield-like shape (most common). Shoulder tags are only worn on dress uniforms, on the left shoulder attached to the shoulder strap.

Some of the IDF shoulder tags:

Commands[edit]

Idf Commands.PNG

Branches[edit]

Idf Branches.PNG

Corps[edit]

Idf corps.PNG

Insignia[edit]

Aiguillettes, Srochim in Hebrew are worn on the left shoulder of the uniform to indicate a soldier's specific role in the unit:[5]

  • Black: Commander of other commanders/ officers
  • Dark Blue: Commander in the Navy
  • Light Blue: Transportation Operations Instructor
  • Red: IDF Orchestra (right shoulder) or Navy Instructor (left shoulder)
  • Gray: Educators and trainers in the Education and Youth Corps.
  • Blue/ White: worn by the Chief Sergeant of the Base
  • Gold: Discipline Attaché
  • Blue/ Red: Military Police.
  • Pink: Multimedia Producer or Commander in an Educational Course
  • Black/ Green: Commander in the Commanders’ Course
  • Black/ Yellow: Instructor for Chemical Warfare
  • White/ Yellow: Combat Intelligence Instructor
  • Green: General Instructor or a Commander in Basic Training
  • Brown: Analyst
  • Purple: Service Rights Staff.
  • Purple/ Blue: Reserves Office Staff. In charge of coordinating and keeping track of a unit's reserve forces.
  • Orange/ Azure: Search and Rescue

References[edit]

 This article incorporates public domain material from the Library of Congress Country Studies website http://lcweb2.loc.gov/frd/cs/.

External links[edit]

Bibliography[edit]

  • Furlan, M. (1986). Israel Defense Forces Insignia. Canada: Militaria House. p. 68. ISBN 978-0929757124. 
  • Katz, Sam; Ronald Volstad (1988). Israeli Elite Units since 1948. United Kingdom: Osprey Publishing. p. 64. ISBN 978-0-85045-837-4. 
  • Katz, Sam; Ronald Volstad (1986). Israeli Elite Units since 1973. United Kingdom: Osprey Publishing. p. 64. ISBN 978-0-85045-687-5. 
  • Fridman, A. (2010). Jewish Cap Badges: British/Palestine and Israel Defense Forces. Israel. p. 60. 
  • Lubman, Roman; Shapiro Guy (2011). Israeli Defense Forces and Law Enforcement Hat Badges Catalog. Israel, Jerusalem. p. 92.