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Overview & Rank Insignia

Israel is defended by the Israeli Defense Force (IDF), a unified service. more...

There is a national Police Service . more...

There is a national Cadet Movement.  more...

Rank Insignia

bullet Israel - Navy / Cheylihayam 
 Israel - Air Force / Cheylihaavir 
 Israel  - Land Force (Army) /Tzava 
 Israel Formation & Branch Badges 


Israel is defended by the Israeli Defense Force (IDF), a unified service.  There is a single rank structure to the IDF, and all ranks use the same insignia and titles.  They differ only by colour: Tzava (ground forces) - bronze on olive; Cheylihayam (navy) - gold on navy blue; Cheylihaavir (Air Force) - silver on sky blue.

Before the establishment of the State of Israel, a number of armed Jewish defense organizations operated. In addition to the Haganah and Palmach, which answered to the elected leadership of the Jewish national institutions, other armed defense groups, namely the Lehi (Lohamei Herut Israel or 'fighters for the Freedom of Israel') and the IZL (Irgun Zevai Le'ummi or 'National Military Organization') operated independently. When the independence of the State of Israel was declared the new, legal Government would decide to establish a single, unified armed force loyal to the Government of the State of Israel: The Israel Defense Forces formed on 28 May 1948. 

The Chief of General Staff (Rosh Mattay Ha'Klali) has always come from the Tzava and currently holds the rank of Rav-Aluf (considered equivalent to a Lieutenant General, though as the military head of the IDF, he is accorded "Chief of Staff" rank. Generally only one officer holds the Rav-Aluf rank. 

Rank Changes

When the IDF was created, the senior rank was Aluf (Prince or Lion), then considered a "Brigadier".  When it was decided that more than one general was needed, they created Rav- Aluf as the senior officer.  In 1968 after the six day war, Tat-Aluf was added  below Aluf as the starting "General Officer" rank.

The IDF is comprised of "land forces (Tzava), a navy (Cheylihayam)  and an air force (Cheylihaavir)". The English equivalents such as IAF for Israeli Air Force are common. There have been major reorganizations in 1973 and 2001.  The original enlisted structure was based on the British (Commonwealth) army forces model and had very few ranks. In 1973, 5 more enlisted ranks were added above the existing structure (effectively taking the "American model").  go to Rank Insignia


There is a national Cadet Movement (COMING). go to Rank Insignia


There is a national Police Service (COMING).  go to Rank Insignia

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Last updated: 07/19/04.