Rank, Insignia, and Uniforms
Three basic commissioned officer ranks existed in the IDF: commander
of tens (segen); commander of hundreds (seren);
and commander of thousands (aluf). All other ranks were
variations of these, with prefixes and suffixes to indicate relative
seniority. Thus, a lieutenant general was rav aluf,
a major general was aluf, a brigadier general was tat
aluf, and a colonel was aluf mishne. A captain was
seren and a major was rav seren. Rank titles
were the same for the ground forces, the navy, and the air force.
The rank of lieutenant general was held by only one officer serving
on active duty, the chief of staff. Major generals included each
of the three area commanders, the commander of the ground corps,
the chiefs of the five branches of the general staff, and the
commanders of the navy and air force.
United States equivalents for enlisted ranks were less exact
than for officers. The three senior NCO grades were often equated
to warrant officer rank; status and function were much alike.
The lowest career NCO rank was sergeant (samal).
For ground forces' officers, rank insignia were brass on a red
background; for the air force, silver on a blue background; and
for the navy, the standard gold worn on the sleeve. Officer insignia
were worn on epaulets on top of both shoulders. Insignia distinctive
to each service were worn on the cap .
Enlisted grades wore rank insignia on the sleeve, halfway between
the shoulder and the elbow. For the army and air force, the insignia
were white with blue interwoven threads backed with the appropriate
corps color. Navy personnel wore gold-colored rank insignia sewn
on navy blue material.
The service uniform for all ground forces personnel was olive
green; navy and air force uniforms were beige. The uniforms consisted
of shirt, trousers, sweater, jacket or blouse, and shoes. The
navy had an all white dress uniform. Green fatigues were the same
for winter and summer. Heavy winter gear was issued as needed.
Women's dress paralleled that of men but consisted of a skirt
a blouse, and a garrison cap. Headgear included a service cap
for dress and semi-dress and a field cap worn with fatigues. Army
and air force personnel also had berets, usually worn in lieu
of the service cap. The color of the air force beret was blue-gray;
for armored corps, mechanized infantry, and artillery personnel,
it was black; for infantry, olive drab; for paratroopers, red;
for combat engineers, gray; and for the Golani Infantry Brigade,
purple. 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.
Data as of December 1988