Israel Defense Forces ranks

The Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) has a unique rank structure. Because the IDF is an integrated force, ranks are the same in all services (there is no differentiation between army, navy, air force, etc.) The ranks are derived from those used in the pre-state paramilitary Haganah, which operated during the Mandate period in order to protect the Yishuv. This is reflected in the slightly compacted rank structure: for instance, the Chief of Staff (rosh ha-mate ha-klali, initials: Ramatkal) is seemingly only equivalent to a lieutenant general in other militaries.

Video clips showing IDF soldiers with their ranks' insignias, from the archive of the Israeli News Company of Israel's Channel 2

Current ranks

Category Rank name,[1] rank equivalent and NATO code Insignia
Army IAF Navy
קציני מטה
General Officers
(רב-אלוף (רא"ל
Rav aluf (initials:Ra'al)

(Chief of General Staff)
(Lieutenant General, equivalent to NATO OF-8)
(Rav aluf means "chief champion" or "chief thousandman")

IDF rav aluf.svg IAF rav aluf.svg
IDF Navy Rav Aluf Prediction.png

(Commanding general of a branch of arms (ground force, air force or navy) or a regional command.
(Major General, equivalent to NATO OF-7)
(Aluf, meaning "champion" or "thousandman")
(Note that in the original IDF ranks of 1948, aluf was intended to loosely translate as colonel)

IDF aluf.svg IAF aluf.svg IDF Navy aluf.png
(תת-אלוף (תא"ל
Tat aluf (initials:Ta'al)

(Commanding general of an arm of service (service corps) or division commander)
(Brigadier General, equivalent to NATO OF-6)
(Tat aluf translates as "subordinate champion" or "sub-thousandman")
[Since 1968]

IDF tat aluf.svg IAF tat aluf.svg IDF Navy tat aluf.png
קצינים בכירים
Senior officers
Field grade officers
(אלוף משנה (אל"מ
Aluf mishne (initials:Alam)

(Executive officer of a division; Brigade commander)
(Colonel, equivalent to NATO OF-5)
(Aluf mishne translates as "secondary champion" or "secondary thousandman")

IDF aluf mishne.svg IAF aluf mishne.svg IDF Navy aluf mishne.png
(סגן-אלוף (סא"ל
Sgan aluf (initials:Sa'al)

(Executive officer of a brigade; Battalion Commander)
(Lieutenant Colonel, equivalent to NATO OF-4)
(Sgan aluf translates as "deputy champion" or "deputy thousandman")
(Note that in the original IDF ranks of 1948, sgan aluf was intended to loosely translate as lieutenant colonel)

IDF sgan aluf.svg IAF sgan aluf.svg IDF Navy sgan aluf.png
(רב סרן (רס"ן
Rav seren (initials:Rasan)
(Battalion XO [Executive Officer])

(Major, equivalent to NATO OF-3)
(Rav seren means "chief military commander")

IDF rav seren.svg IDF rav seren silver-2.svg IDF rav seren gold-2.svg
קצינים זוטרים
Junior officers
Company grade officers

(Company / Battery Commander)
(Captain, equivalent to NATO OF-2)
(Seren, meaning "captain", translates as "captain" or "military commander")

IDF seren.svg IAF seren.svg IDF Navy seren.png
Segen — [Since 1951]

(1948–1951) סגן ראשון,סג"ר
Segen rishon (initials:Sagar)[1948–51]
(Company XO; platoon leader)
(First lieutenant, equivalent to NATO OF-1)
(Segen rishon means "lieutenant first class"; segen literally translates as "deputy")

IDF segen.svg IAF segen.svg IDF Navy segen.png
(סגן-משנה (סג"מ
Segen mishne (initials:Sagam) — [Since 1951]

Segen — [From 1948–51]
(Platoon leader)
(Second lieutenant, equivalent to NATO OF-1)
(Segen mishne, means "second lieutenant"; segen literally translates as "deputy")

IDF segen mishne.svg IAF segen mishne.svg IDF Navy segen mishne.svg
קצינים אקדמאים
Ktzinim akademaim
Academic officers
(קצין אקדמאי בכיר (קא"ב
Katzín akademai bakhír (initials:Ka'ab)

(Professional officer of the first class in the reserve – equivalent to a brevet captain.)
(officer of medical service, officer of dental medical service, officer of veterinary service, officer of justice, officer of religion.)
(Senior academic officer)

IDF Ranks Ka'ab.svg
(קצין מקצועי אקדמאי (קמ"א
Katzín miktsoí akademai (initials:Kama)

(Professional officer of the second class in the reserve – equivalent to a brevet first lieutenant.)
(officer of medical service, officer of dental medical service, officer of veterinary service, officer of justice, officer of religion.)
(Professional academic officer)

IDF Ranks Kama.svg
Non-commissioned officers
(רב-נגד (רנ"ג
Rav nagad (initials:Ranag)

(Chief warrant officer, most senior specialist professional, equivalent to NATO OR-9)
(it translates as "chief warrant officer" or "chief NCO")
[Since 1993]

IDF Ranks Ranag.svg
[2](רב-נגד משנה (רנ"מ
Rav nagad mishne (initials:Ranam)

(Warrant officer, senior specialist professional, equivalent to NATO OR-8)
(it translates as "junior chief warrant officer" or "junior chief NCO")
[Since 2011]

IDF Ranks Ranam.svg
(רב-סמל בכיר (רס"ב
Rav samal bakhír (initials:Rasab)

(Command sergeant major, senior NCO of a Regiment or Brigade, equivalent to NATO OR-8)
(it translates as "senior chief sergeant")

IDF Ranks Rasab.svg
(רב-סמל מתקדם (רס"מ
Rav samal mitkadem (initials:Rasam)

(Sergeant major, senior NCO of a battalion, equivalent to NATO OR-7)
(it translates as "advanced chief sergeant")

IDF Ranks Rasam.svg
(רב-סמל ראשון (רס"ר
Rav samal rishon (initials:Rasar)

(Master sergeant, senior NCO of a company or battery, equivalent to NATO OR-6)
(it translates as "chief sergeant first class")

IDF Ranks Rasar.svg
(רב-סמל (רס"ל
Rav samal (initials:Rasal)

(Sergeant first class, a platoon sergeant, equivalent to NATO OR-5)
(it translates as "chief sergeant")

IDF Ranks Rasal.svg
(סמל ראשון (סמ"ר
Samal rishon (initials:Samar)

(Staff sergeant, a squad leader, NATO OR-4)
(it translates as "sergeant first class")

IDF Ranks Samar.svg

(Sergeant, a team leader, NATO OR-3)
(it translates as "sergeant".)

IDF Ranks Samal.svg
(רב טוראי (רב"ט
Rav turai (initials:Rabat)

(Corporal, a team leader, NATO OR-2)
(it translates as "chief private")

IDF Ranks Rav turai.svg

(Private E-2 or private, NATO OR-1)
(it translates as "private")


Officers (ktzinim): Volunteers who have completed the officer's course. Officers serve for at least 36 months (3 years) for women in non-combat position and 44 months (3 years, 8 months) for men. Positions in specialized units require their officers to serve for more than this (for example, seven years for pilots). Promotions are based on ability and time served. It takes about a year to be promoted from 2nd lieutenant to 1st lieutenant and three years to be promoted from 1st lieutenant to captain. Army officers have bronze-metal insignia (replaced with subdued black-metal insignia in 2002), air force officers have silver metal insignia, and navy officers have gold-metal insignia or gold braid bars. Officers without a university education can be promoted to a maximum of Rav Seren (Major), although the IDF often sponsors the studies for their majors.

Academic officers (ktzinim akademaim): Special rank given to soldiers who are delaying completing officers' training so they can complete a professional education (usually in engineering, medicine, or law). A kama is equivalent to a 2nd lieutenant, and a ka'ab is equivalent to a 1st lieutenant, but are treated as if they were breveted to the next higher rank. Officers of these ranks are considered professional manpower and rarely take posts of command. Upon finally completing officers' training, an academic officer is immediately awarded the corresponding next "real" rank due to their experience in grade. Their insignia bars are embossed with scrolls (megilot) rather than laurel branches (aronot).

Non-commissioned officers (nagadim): The professional non-commissioned and warrant ranks, drawn from volunteers who signed on for military service after completing conscription. They usually are assigned to head-up the headquarters staff of a unit. Samal is a Hebrew abbreviation for segen mi-khutz la-minyan, which translates as “supernumerary deputy”; it is a Field NCO rank equivalent to a British or Commonwealth "Sergeant". Rav samal translates as "chief sergeant"; it is a career NCO rank equivalent to a British or Commonwealth "Staff Sergeant" or "Sergeant Major" / "Warrant Officer". Nagad is a variant of the biblical word nagid, which means "ruler" or "leader". Rav nagad is a senior staff NCO rank equivalent to the American ranks of "Chief Warrant Officer" and "Master Warrant Officer".

Enlisted (hogrim): The conscript and field NCO ranks. All Jewish or Druze conscripts must start their compulsory service at 18 (unless they receive a deferment); Christians, Muslims, and Circassians may volunteer at 17 or older. Enlisted male conscripts serve for 32 months (2 years and 8 months) and female conscripts serve for 24 months (2 years). In the IDF enlisted ranks are earned by means of time in service (pazam), rather than by a particular post or assignment. After 4 to 12 months the conscript is promoted to rav turai, after 18 to 20 months promoted to samal, and after 24 to 32 months is promoted to samal rishon. (This means that female conscripts can reach no higher than samal during their compulsory service, unless they serve in combat positions).

Field NCOs (samal and samal rishon) who command sub-units (fire team or squad, respectively) are called mashak. This is an abbreviation that translates into English literally as "non-commissioned officer". It is a term of respect like the French Army's chef ("chief").

Recruits (tironim): Upon enlistment to military service in Israel, all soldiers begin a basic training course and undergo several weeks or months of 'integration' from citizens to soldiers. This course is called tironut ("recruit training") and the soldier being trained on this course is called a tiron (or "recruit"). This is often erroneously interpreted as a rank, similar to the US Army's private (E-1); tironim are ranked as turai (private), the same rank and paygrade as newly trained conscripts.[4]

Both officers and enlisted personnel have an obligation to serve in the Reserves after completing their active military service. Male personnel serve until 41–51 years old while female personnel serve until 24 years old.

Obsolete ranks

Category Rank name,[1] rank equivalent and NATO code Insignia
No longer in use
(ממלא מקום קצין (ממ"ק
Memale makom katzín (initials:Mamak)

(Acting officer or aspirant; A brevet officer ranking below a junior lieutenant)
(Memale makom translates as "substitute", and katzin means "officer")
(Memale makom literally translates as "filling in the place of another")
[Existed from the 1960s until 1994]

IDF Ranks Acting officer.png
(סמל בכיר (סמ"ב
Samal bakhír (initials:Samab)

(First Sergeant, NATO OR-8; it translates as "Senior Sergeant")
[Existed from 1948 to 1952 and no longer in use. (See comments in notes in the bottom)]

A Brass badge (a small oak leaf within a laurel wreath) on 3 half-chevrons
(רב טוראי ראשון (רט"ר
Rav turái rishón (initials:Ratár)

(First corporal, NATO OR-3; it translates as "chief private first class")
[Existed from 1972 to 1982 and no longer in use. (See comments in notes in the bottom)]

IDF Ranks Master Corporal.gif
(טוראי ראשון (טר"ש
Turai rishon (initials:Tarash)

(Private E-3 or private first class, Nato OR-3)
[Existed until 1999 and no longer in use. (See comments in notes in the bottom)]

IDF Ranks Private First Class.png

The rank of memale makom katzín, initials:Mamak (ממלא מקום קצין) or "substitute officer", was created in the 1960s. The rank was considered below a 2nd lieutenant (initials:sagam). It indicated a cadet in the Israeli army who had finished the basic preparation for an officer rank (קורס קצינים בסיסי), but for some reason abandoned their studies, failed to complete the professional officer preparation (השלמה חיילית), or completed it with a minimal passing grade but was still found worthy of command. They occupied the lowest officer posts until a normal officer rank was found for the position. Those who finished the officer preparation with a minimal passing grade and were substituting in a command position were eligible for promotion to normal officer rank after a set period. It was discontinued in 1994.

The rank of Samal Bakhír, initials:Samab ("Senior Sergeant") was used from 1948 to 1952. It was the equivalent of a US Army First Sergeant. It was replaced by the rank of Rav Samal Yekhidati ("Unit Senior Sergeant"), similar to a British or Commonwealth Army Warrant Officer II (Company Sergeant Major).

The rank of rav turái rishón, initials:Ratash, or "chief private first class", was used from 1972 to 1982. There was an expansion of staff NCO ranks during this period and the higher rank was offered to conscripts who planned to enlist after completing their national service.

The rank of turai rishon, initials:Tarash, or "private first class", was disestablished in the Regular IDF in 1990. It still continued to be used in the Reserves until it was finally discontinued in 1999. Privates now retain their rank until promoted to corporal, usually after 10 months of peacetime service or 6 months for support roles or 4 months for combatants during hostilities. Corporals in combat units traditionally do not wear their rank insignia, remaining without insignia until they are promoted to the rank of sergeant.


Aiguillettes, srochim in Hebrew:'[5]

  • Black cord: Instructors at the various Military Schools.
  • Blue cord: Staff at the various Military Schools.
  • Brown cord: A soldier or commanding officer serving as part of the psychological branch.
  • Red cord: Instructor at the Airborne Schools and senior instructors at the Naval Training Schools.
  • White cord: Educators and trainers in the Education and Youth Corps.
  • White & blue cords: Mefaked mishma'at ("discipline commander"; soldier in charge of unit discipline who assists the unit NCO-in-charge). When worn by hogrim, it reflects completion of tironut level 2.
  • Blue & red cords: Military police.
  • Diced blue and red cord: Prison service
  • Green cord: Mefaked ("commander"), worn by Hogrim that went through a commanding course, soldiers that did not go through officers course and that are in mandatory service of two years and eight months (for men and women in combatant units) or two years (for women in standard service). It is worn by combat leaders on the fire team (Sergeant), squad (Staff Sergeant), platoon (Lieutenant), company (Captain) and battalion (Major or Lieutenant Colonel) level.
  • Purple cord: Service rights staff. The mashak tash ("male service rights staff NCO") / mashakeet tash ("female service rights staff NCO")[6][7] is an NCO whose job it is to help conscripts settle into military life and handle any of their complaints or grievances. A specialized staff NCO who deals with the needs and rights of foreign volunteers is called a mashak/mashakeet aliyah, although they wear either white or green lanyards.[6][8] There is one mashak/mashakeet assigned to each company HQ.
  • Purple & blue cord: Reserves office staff. In charge of coordinating and keeping track of a unit's reserve forces.


When the IDF was created in 1948, there were 7 enlisted and NCO ranks, and 8 officer ranks. The ranks were as follows:[9]

Enlisted Insignia Officer Insignia
Rav samal (ras) [1948–1951]
("Chief sergeant", master sergeant)
Rav samal rishon (rasar) [1951–1955] ("chief sergeant first class", master sergeant)
An oak leaf within a laurel wreath on a red cloth circle (sleeve) [1948]
An oak leaf over a sword within a laurel wreath (cuff) [1951]
A vertical entwined sword and olive branch in a Star of David within a laurel wreath (cuff) [1968]
2 chevrons (epaulet) [1990–1998]
Rav aluf ("chief general", lieutenant general) An oak leaf within a laurel wreath [1948]
An oak leaf over an oak leaf within a laurel wreath [1950]
2 oak leaves over a crossed sword and olive branch [1950]
Rav samal (ras) [1951–1967]
("chief sergeant", master sergeant)
Rav Samal (ras) [1968–Present]
("chief sergeant", master sergeant)
An oak leaf within a laurel wreath (cuff) [1951]
An oak leaf in a Star of David within a laurel wreath (cuff) [1968]
1 chevron (epaulet) [1990–1998]
Aluf ("general", major general) [1950–present] 1 oak leaf over a crossed sword and olive branch [1950]
Samal bakhír [1948–1951]
("senior sergeant", first sergeant)
A small oak leaf within a laurel wreath on 3 half chevrons Aluf [1948–1950]
aluf-mishneh ("junior general", colonel) [1951–present]
3 oak leaves
Samal rishon
("sergeant first class", staff sergeant)
A small oak leaf on 3 half chevrons Sgan aluf ("deputy general", lieutenant colonel) 2 oak leaves
Samal (sergeant) 3 half chevrons Rav seren ("chief captain", major) 1 oak leaf
Rav turai ("chief private", corporal) 2 half chevrons Seren (captain) 3 bars
Turai rishon (private first class) [1948–1999] 1 half chevron Segen rishon (Lieutenant 1st class) [1948–1951]
Segen (lieutenant) [1951–present]
2 bars
Turai (private) No insignia Segen (lieutenant) [1948–1951]
Segen mishne (junior lieutenant) [1951–present]
1 bar
IDF Ranks 1949
IDF Ranks in 1949

IDF Ranks and their insignia were initially influenced by the British / Commonwealth model. This was due to the average Israeli servicemen's experience in the Commonwealth forces during World War Two. This was later reformed when the IDF started to adopt a rank system similar to the United States armed forces in 1973 and the 1990s.

Rank insignia were originally cut from cloth or embroidered onto cloth patches. Bronze-metal officer's rank insignia worn on a red cloth backing were introduced for the army in 1949. Enlisted stripes for all arms were originally individual white half-chevrons with space between them. In an economy move, senior NCOs were distinguished by using the same bronze insignia (an oak-leaf or oak-leaf-in-a-wreath) as senior officers pinned to their sleeve insignia. In 1951 the Navy adopted golden-yellow half-chevrons and the Air Force adopted blue half chevrons.

A samal rishon was equal to a British Army staff sergeant / colour sergeant or a US Army technical sergeant (sergeant first class) / platoon sergeant. For the other services, the bronze-metal oak-leaf on the army's samal rishon rank insignia was replaced with a yellow anchor in a white hexagon for the Navy and a blue Star of David on a white circle for the Air Force. This was later replaced in 1951 with a gold-metal oak leaf for the Navy and a silver-metal oak leaf for the Air Force.

A Samal Bakhír (1948–1951) was equivalent to a US Army First Sergeant. The rank insignia was a small bronze oak leaf in a wreath on 3 white half-chevrons for the Army; a yellow anchor in a yellow-bordered (1948) or solid-yellow (1950) hexagon on 3 white half-chevrons for the Navy; and a blue Star of David in a blue-bordered circle on 3 white half-chevrons for the Air Force. It was replaced by the reorganized Rav Samal rank in 1951 and the new Rav Samal Yehidati rank by 1955.

A Rav Samal (1951–1967) was equivalent to a British Army Warrant Officer II (Company Sergeant Major). The rank insignia was an Oak Leaf in a Laurel Wreath. It came in bronze-metal on a red enamel backing for the Army, gold-metal for the Navy, and silver-metal for the Air Force. It was worn on the lower right sleeve of the shirt or jacket or on a leather wrist strap when wearing short-sleeve order. It was divided into Rav-Samal Miktzoi ("Specialist Chief Sergeant"; a technical NCO) and Rav Samal Yekhidati ("Unit Chief Sergeant"; a command NCO) from 1955 to 1958.

A Rav Samal (1948–1951) was equivalent to a US Army Master Sergeant or Sergeant Major. The rank insignia was originally an oak leaf in a laurel wreath for the Army, a large yellow anchor in a yellow-bordered (1948) or solid-yellow (1950) hexagon for the Navy, and a large blue Star of David in a bordered circle for the Air Force. The rank was renamed Rav Samal Rishon (1951–Present) and was equivalent to a British Army Warrant Officer I (Regimental Sergeant Major). The new rank also received new insignia made of metal: an Oak Leaf over a vertical Sword in a Laurel Wreath. It came in bronze-metal on a red enamel backing for the Army, gold-metal for the Navy, and silver-metal for the Air Force. It was worn on the lower right sleeve of the shirt or jacket or on a leather wrist strap when wearing short-sleeve order. It was divided into Rav Samal Rishon Miktzoi ("Specialist Chief Sergeant First Class"; a technical NCO) and Rav Samal Rishon Yekhidati ("Unit Chief Sergeant First Class"; a command NCO) from 1955 to 1958.

Early ranks of the IDF (1948–1951)

From 1948 to 1951, IDF Ranks for each branch of service (the Ground, Sea, and Air Forces) had unique titles and distinct insignia.

US Army Rank IDF Army (Kheylot ha-Yabasha) IDF Navy (Kheyl ha-Yam) IDF Air Force (Kheyl ha-Avir)
Private Turai Malakh ("Crewman") [1948–1951] Avirai ("Airman") [1948–1951]
Private First Class Turai Rishon Malakh Rishon ("Crewman First Class") [1948–1951] Avirai Rishon ("Airman First Class") [1948–1951]
Corporal Rav Turai Rav Malakh ("Chief Crewman") [1948–1951] Avirai Musmakh ("Able-Bodied Airman") [1948–1951]
Sergeant Samal Samal ("Petty Officer") Samal Avir ("Aviation Sergeant") [1948–1951]
Staff Sergeant Samal Rishon Samal Rishon ("Petty Officer First Class") Samal Tayas ("Flight Sergeant") [1948–1951]
Sergeant First Class Rav-Samal Rav-Samal ("Chief Petty Officer") Samal Teufa ("Flying Sergeant") [1948–1951]
Master Sergeant Rav-Samal Rishon Rav-Samal Rishon
("Chief Petty Officer First Class")
Katsin Avir ("Acting Aviation Officer") [1948–1951]
Officer Candidate - Meshit ("Junior Officer" - Midshipman) [1948–1951] -
Second Lieutenant Segen Sgan Khovel ("Deputy Officer" - 'Ensign') [1948–1951] Pakkad Avir ("Aviation Officer") [1948–1951]
First Lieutenant Segen Rishon Khovel ("Officer" – Lieutenant) [1948–1951] Pakkad Tayas ("Pilot Officer") [1948–1951]
Captain Seren Khovel Rishon ("Officer First Class" - Senior Lieutenant) [1948–1951] Pakkad Teufa ("Flying Officer") [1948–1951]
Major Rav Seren Rav Khovel ("Chief Officer" - Lieutenant Commander) [1948–1951] Rosh Tayeset ("Squadron Leader") [1948–1951]
Lieutenant-Colonel Sgan aluf Sgan Kabarnit ("Deputy Captain" - Commander) [1948–1951] Rosh Kanaf ("Wing Commander") [1948–1951]
Colonel Aluf [1948–1950] /
Aluf Mishne [1950–1951]
Kabarnit ("Captain") [1948–1951] Rosh Lahak ("Air Command Leader" – Group captain) [1948–1951]
General Aluf [1950–1951] Aluf Yam ("Naval General" - Commodore) [1950–1951] Aluf Avir ("Aviation General" - Brigadier-General) [1950–1951]
Chief of Staff Rav Aluf ("Chief General" - Major General) - -

Rank insignia for the Navy and Air Force mirrored those of the Royal Navy and the Royal Air Force, respectively.


  • The term "Aluf" which is used in military ranks is of Biblical origin and originally meant a tribal chief, either as a military leader or a clan's laird.
  • In the IDF, the same rank titles are used throughout the military, including the Israeli Air Force and Israeli Navy. This contrasts with many other armed forces that have a separate rank system for different branches.[10] Officer insignia are silver with a dark blue background in the Air Force and gold with a black background in the Navy. In the Army, both lieutenant ranks usually have the blackish-gold ranks (shown above) with an olive-green background, until promoted to the rank of captain. Enlisted ranks are green in the Army, blue in the Air Force, and golden in the Navy. Subaltern officers (lieutenants and captains) wear rank bars embossed with laurel branches (aronot). Field and general officers wear "pips" that look like an oak-leaf (alim).
  • As the ranks of the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) are traditionally translated one-to-one to Western ranks then the rank of Aluf (אלוף) is translated as major general, and Rav Aluf (רב אלוף) is translated as lieutenant general. However, a more proper translation (in terms of both language and organizational role) of Aluf would be to full general (OF-9 in NATO terms). Similarly, as the Hebrew prefix Rav is equivalent to the English prefix arch- (as in archangel), a more fitting translation for the rank of Rav-Aluf would be Arch-General, or, more conventionally, field marshal (NATO OF-10).
  • Enlisted rank insignia are worn on the upper arm of the sleeves whereas NCO and officer insignia are worn on the shoulders.

Synopsis of NATO code OF 1–10 to IDF ranks

NATO code OF-10 OF-9 OF-8 OF-7 OF-6 OF-5 OF-4 OF-3 OF-2 OF-1 OF(D) Student officer
United Kingdom
Field Marshal General Lieutenant-General Major-General Brigadier Colonel Lieutenant-Colonel Major Captain Lieutenant Second Lieutenant Officer Cadet No equivalent
Field Marshal General Lieutenant-General Major-General Brigadier Colonel Lieutenant-Colonel Major Captain Lieutenant Second Lieutenant Officer Cadet
Israel Israel No equivalent
IDF rav aluf.svg IDF aluf.svg IDF tat aluf.svg IDF aluf mishne.svg IDF sgan aluf.svg IDF rav seren.svg IDF seren.svg IDF segen.svg IDF segen mishne.svg Unknown
Rav aluf
Chief General
Tat aluf
Subordinate General
Aluf mishne
Junior General
Sgan aluf
Deputy General
Rav seren
Chief Commander
Segen mishne
Junior Deputy
United States United States
General of the Army General Lieutenant General Major General Brigadier General Colonel Lieutenant Colonel Major Captain First Lieutenant Second Lieutenant Various Various
General of the Army General Lieutenant General Major General Brigadier General Colonel Lieutenant Colonel Major Captain First Lieutenant Second Lieutenant Officer Candidate Officer Cadet
NATO code OF-10 OF-9 OF-8 OF-7 OF-6 OF-5 OF-4 OF-3 OF-2 OF-1 OF(D) Student officer

See also


  1. ^ a b "IDF Ranks". IDF 2011. Archived from the original on 30 August 2009. Retrieved 19 October 2011.
  2. ^ Y Net, IL.
  3. ^ The word Samal originated as an acronym for Hebrew: סגן מחוץ למניןsegen mi-khutz la-minyan ("supernumerary lieutenant") (inspired by the abbreviation "NCO"). Nowadays is no longer treated as an acronym or an abbreviation. See e.g., Avraham Akavia, "Milon le-munakhey tzava" (1951), p. 220, 270; Avraham Even-Shoshan, "Ha-milon ha-khadash" (1967), vol. 4., p. 1814 ; Yaakov Kna'ani, "Otzar ha-lashon ha-ivrit" (1972), p. 4078; Zeev Shiff, Eitan Habber, "Leksikon le-bitkhon Yisrael" (1976), p. 114; "Milon Sapir" (ed. Eitan Avnian) (1998), vol. 5, p. 2019; Avraham Even-Shoshan, "Milon Even-Shoshan be-shisha krakhim" (2003), ISBN 965-517-059-4, vol. 4, p. 1302; "Entziklopedya Karta" (5th edition, 2004), ISBN 965-220-534-6, p. 409; "Milon Ariel" (ed. prof. Daniel Sivan and prof. Maya Fruchtman) (2007), ISBN 978-965-515-009-4, p. 765. (in Hebrew)
  4. ^ Laffin, John. The Israeli Army in The Middle East Wars (1948-1973) (Men At Arms Series #127). Osprey Press: London (1982). Plate G5 and page 38
  5. ^ Arik933 Israeli army ranks and what's what
  6. ^ a b Kefitzat Haderech; How to Fight The System, #2 Mashakeet Tash
  7. ^ tash is short for t’nai sherut or "service rights".
  8. ^ Aliyah literally means "ascent"; it symbolically means to immigrate to Israel.
  9. ^ Wallach, Jeuda; Lorekh, Netanel; Yitzhaki, Aryeh (1978). "Battles of the Jordan Valley". In Evyatar Nur (ed.). Carta's Atlas of Israel (in Hebrew). Volume 2: The First Years 1948–1961. Jerusalem, Israel: Carta. p. 91.
  10. ^

External links


Aluf (Hebrew: אלוף, lit. "champion") is a senior military rank in the Israel Defence Forces (IDF) for officers who in other countries would have the rank of general, air marshal, or admiral. In addition to the aluf rank itself, there are four other ranks which are derivatives of the word. Together, they constitute the five highest ranks in the IDF.

Aside from being a military rank, "Aluf" is also used in a civilian context, particularly in sports, meaning "champion".

Chief warrant officer

Chief warrant officer is a military rank used by the United States Armed Forces, the Canadian Armed Forces, the Pakistan Air Force, the Israel Defense Forces, the South African National Defence Force, the Lebanese Armed Forces and, since 2012, the Singapore Armed Forces. In the United States Armed Forces, chief warrant officers are commissioned officers, not non-commissioned officers (NCOs) like in other NATO forces.


Corporal is a military rank in use in some form by many militaries and by some police forces or other uniformed organizations. Within NATO, each member nation's corresponding military rank of corporal is combined under the NATO-standard rank scale code OR-3 or OR-4. However, there are often differences in how each nation (or service in each nation) employs corporals. Some militaries don't have corporals, but may instead have a Junior Sergeant.

In some militaries, the rank of corporal nominally corresponds to commanding a section or squad of soldiers. However, in the United States Army, the rank of corporal is considered a "lateral promotion" from E-4 Specialist and usually only occurs when the soldier has been selected by a promotion board to become an E-5 Sergeant and is serving in an E-5 billet such as a fireteam leader in a rifle squad. The lateral promotion is used to make the soldier a non-commissioned officer without changing the soldier's pay. As the Table of Organization & Equipment (TO&E) rank of a fire team leader is sergeant and that of squad leader is staff sergeant. In the United States Marine Corps, corporal is the Table of Organization (TO) rank for a rifle fire team leader, machine gun team leader, light mortar squad leader, and assault weapon squad leader, as well as gunner on most larger crew served weapons (i.e. medium mortars, heavy machine guns, and anti-tank missiles), armored vehicles (e.g. tanks, light armored vehicles, and armored assault vehicles), and the two assistant gunners on a howitzer (the gunner is a sergeant).

In most countries that derive their military structure from the British military system, corporal is a more senior rank than that of private. However, in several other countries, such as Canada, Italy and Norway, corporal is a junior rank, indicating a more experienced soldier than a private, and also on a higher pay scale, but having no particular command appointment corresponding to the rank, similar to specialist in the U.S. Army.

Israel Defense Forces

The Israel Defense Forces (IDF; Hebrew: צְבָא הַהֲגָנָה לְיִשְׂרָאֵל Tsva ha-Hagana le-Yisra'el, lit. "The Army of Defense for Israel"; Arabic: جيش الدفاع الإسرائيلي‎), commonly known in Israel by the Hebrew acronym Tzahal (צה״ל), are the military forces of the State of Israel. They consist of the ground forces, air force, and navy. It is the sole military wing of the Israeli security forces, and has no civilian jurisdiction within Israel. The IDF is headed by its Chief of General Staff, the Ramatkal, subordinate to the Defense Minister of Israel; Lieutenant General (Rav Aluf) Aviv Kochavi has served as Chief of Staff since January 15, 2019.

An order from Defense Minister David Ben-Gurion on 26 May 1948 officially set up the Israel Defense Forces as a conscript army formed out of the paramilitary group Haganah, incorporating the militant groups Irgun and Lehi. The IDF served as Israel's armed forces in all the country's major military operations—including the 1948 War of Independence, 1951–1956 Retribution operations, 1956 Sinai War, 1964–1967 War over Water, 1967 Six-Day War, 1967–1970 War of Attrition, 1968 Battle of Karameh, 1973 Operation Spring of Youth, 1973 Yom Kippur War, 1976 Operation Entebbe, 1978 Operation Litani, 1982 Lebanon War, 1982–2000 South Lebanon conflict, 1987–1993 First Intifada, 2000–2005 Second Intifada, 2002 Operation Defensive Shield, 2006 Lebanon War, 2008–2009 Operation Cast Lead, 2012 Operation Pillar of Defense, and 2014 Operation Protective Edge. According to, the number of wars and border conflicts in which the IDF has been involved in its short history makes it one of the most battle-trained armed forces in the world. While originally the IDF operated on three fronts—against Lebanon and Syria in the north, Jordan and Iraq in the east, and Egypt in the south—after the 1979 Egyptian–Israeli Peace Treaty, it has concentrated its activities in southern Lebanon and the Palestinian Territories, including the First and the Second Intifada.

The Israel Defense Forces is unique in its inclusion of mandatory conscription of women and its structure, which emphasizes close relations between the army, navy, and air force. Since its founding, the IDF has been specifically designed to match Israel's unique security situation. The IDF is one of Israeli society's most prominent institutions, influencing the country's economy, culture and political scene. In 1965, the Israel Defense Forces was awarded the Israel Prize for its contribution to education. The IDF uses several technologies developed in Israel, many of them made specifically to match the IDF's needs, such as the Merkava main battle tank, Achzarit armoured personnel carrier, high tech weapons systems, the Iron Dome missile defense system, Trophy active protection system for vehicles, and the Galil and Tavor assault rifles. The Uzi submachine gun was invented in Israel and used by the IDF until December 2003, ending a service that began in 1954. Since 1967, the IDF has had close military relations with the United States, including development cooperation, such as on the F-15I jet, THEL laser defense system, and the Arrow missile defense system.

The Israel Defense Forces are believed to have had an operational nuclear weapons capability since 1967, possibly possessing between 80 and 400 nuclear weapons, with delivery systems forming a nuclear triad, of plane launched-missiles, Jericho III intercontinental ballistic missiles and submarine launched cruise missiles.

Israel Defense Forces insignia

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

Israeli Air Force

The Israeli Air Force (IAF; Hebrew: זְרוֹעַ הָאֲוִיר וְהֶחָלָל, Zroa HaAvir VeHahalal, "Air and Space Arm", commonly known as חֵיל הָאֲוִיר, Kheil HaAvir, "Air Corps") operates as the aerial warfare branch of the Israel Defense Forces. It was founded on May 28, 1948, shortly after the Israeli Declaration of Independence. As of August 2017 Aluf Amikam Norkin serves as the Air Force Commander.

The Israeli Air Force was established using commandeered or donated civilian aircraft and obsolete and surplus World War II combat aircraft. Eventually, more aircraft were procured, including Boeing B-17s, Bristol Beaufighters, de Havilland Mosquitoes and P-51D Mustangs. The Israeli Air Force played an important part in Operation Kadesh, Israel's part in the 1956 Suez Crisis, dropping paratroopers at the Mitla Pass. On June 5, 1967, the first day of the Six-Day War, the Israeli Air Force performed Operation Focus, debilitating the opposing Arab air forces and attaining air supremacy for the remainder of the war. Shortly after the end of the Six-Day War, Egypt initiated the War of Attrition, and the Israeli Air Force performed repeated bombings of strategic targets deep within enemy territory. When the Yom Kippur War broke out on October 6, 1973, Egyptian and Syrian advances forced the IAF to abandon detailed plans for the destruction of enemy air defences. Forced to operate under the missile and anti-aircraft artillery threats, the close air support it provided allowed Israeli troops on the ground to stem the tide and eventually go on the offensive.

Since that war most of Israel's military aircraft have been obtained from the United States. Among these are the F-4 Phantom II, A-4 Skyhawk, F-15 Eagle and F-16 Fighting Falcon. The Israeli Air Force has also operated a number of domestically produced types such as the IAI Nesher, and later, the more advanced IAI Kfir. On June 7, 1981, eight IAF F-16A fighters covered by six F-15A jets carried out Operation Opera to destroy the Iraqi nuclear facilities at Osiraq. On June 9, 1982, the Israeli Air Force carried out Operation Mole Cricket 19, crippling the Syrian air defence array. The IAF continued to mount attacks on Hezbollah and PLO positions in south Lebanon. On October 1, 1985, In response to a PLO terrorist attack which murdered three Israeli civilians in Cyprus, the Israeli air force carried out Operation Wooden Leg. The strike involved the bombing of PLO Headquarters in Tunis, by F-15 Eagles. In 1991, the IAF carried out Operation Solomon which brought Ethiopian Jews to Israel. In 1993 and 1996, the IAF participated in Operation Accountability and Operation Grapes of Wrath, respectively. It took part in many missions since, including during the 2006 Lebanon War, Operation Cast Lead, Operation Pillar of Cloud and Operation Protective Edge. On September 6, 2007, the Israeli Air Force successfully bombed an alleged Syrian nuclear reactor in Operation Orchard.

Israeli Navy

The Israeli Navy (Hebrew: חיל הים הישראלי‎, Ḥeil HaYam HaYisraeli (English: Sea Corps of Israel); Arabic: البحرية الإسرائيلية‎) is the naval warfare service arm of the Israel Defense Forces, operating primarily in the Mediterranean Sea theater as well as the Gulf of Aqaba and the Red Sea theater. The current commander in chief of the Israeli Navy is Aluf Eli Sharvit. The Israeli Navy is believed to be responsible for maintaining Israel's offshore nuclear second strike capability.

Lieutenant general

Lieutenant general, lieutenant-general and similar (abbrev Lt Gen, LTG and similar) is a three-star military rank (NATO code OF-8) used in many countries. The rank traces its origins to the Middle Ages, where the title of lieutenant general was held by the second in command on the battlefield, who was normally subordinate to a captain general.

In modern armies, lieutenant general normally ranks immediately below general and above major general; it is equivalent to the navy rank of vice admiral, and in air forces with a separate rank structure, it is equivalent to air marshal. A lieutenant general commands an army corps, made up of typically three army divisions, and consisting of around 60,000–70,000 soldiers (U.S.).

The seeming incongruity that a lieutenant general outranks a major general (whereas a major outranks a lieutenant) is due to the derivation of the latter rank from sergeant major general, which was also subordinate to lieutenant general. In some countries (e.g. France and Italy), the ranks of corps general or lieutenant colonel general are used instead of lieutenant general, in an attempt to solve this apparent anomaly – these ranks are often translated into English as lieutenant general.However, some countries of Latin America such as Brazil and Chile use divisional general as the equivalent of lieutenant general. In addition, because no brigadier general rank is used in Japan, lieutenant general is the rank of divisional commander. Therefore, it corresponds to divisional general of these countries. In a number of smaller states which employ NATO and western style military organizational structures, because of the limited number of soldiers in their armies, the rank of lieutenant general is the highest army rank in use. In Latvia, Lithuania and Singapore, the chief of defence is a lieutenant general, and in the Irish Defence Forces and Israel Defense Forces, the Chief of Staff holds this rank.

Master sergeant

A master sergeant is the military rank for a senior non-commissioned officer in the armed forces of some countries.

Private (rank)

A private is a soldier of the lowest military rank (equivalent to NATO Rank Grades OR-1 to OR-3 depending on the force served in).

In modern military writing, "private" is abridged to "Pte" in the United Kingdom and other Commonwealth of Nations countries and to "Pvt." in the United States.


Sergeant ( SARJ-ənt; abbreviated to Sgt and capitalized when used as a named person's title) is a rank in many uniformed organizations, principally military and policing forces. The alternate spelling, "serjeant", is used in The Rifles and other units that draw their heritage from the British Light Infantry. Its origin is the Latin "serviens", "one who serves", through the French term "sergent".

The term "sergeant" refers to a non-commissioned officer placed above the rank of a corporal and a police officer immediately below a lieutenant or, in the UK Police forces, below an inspector.

In most armies the rank of sergeant corresponds to command of a squad (or section). In Commonwealth armies, it is a more senior rank, corresponding roughly to a platoon second-in-command. In the United States Army, sergeant is a more junior rank corresponding to a four-soldier fireteam leader.

More senior non-commissioned ranks are often variations on sergeant, for example staff sergeant, first sergeant, and sergeant major.

Many countries use sergeant rank, whether in English or using a cognate with the same origin in another language. The equivalent rank in Arab armies is "raqeeb", meaning "overseer" or "watcher".

Sergeant first class

Sergeant First Class (SFC) is a military rank in some militaries and other uniformed organizations around the world, typically that of a senior non-commissioned officer.

Sergeant major

Sergeant major is a senior non-commissioned rank or appointment in many militaries around the world. In Commonwealth countries, the various degrees of sergeant major are appointments held by warrant officers. In the United States, there are also various grades of sergeant major (command sergeant major, Sergeant Major of the Army, Sergeant Major of the Marine Corps), but they are all of the same pay grade of E-9. However, the Sergeant Major of the Army and the Sergeant Major of the Marine Corps, as their respective service's Senior Enlisted Advisor, receive a special rate of basic pay that is higher than all other sergeants major.

Staff sergeant

Staff sergeant is a rank of non-commissioned officer used in the armed forces of several countries. It is also a police rank in some police services.

Warrant officer

A warrant officer (WO) is an officer in a military organisation who is designated an officer by a warrant, as distinguished from a commissioned officer who is designated an officer by a commission, and a non-commissioned officer who is designated an officer, often by virtue of seniority.

The rank was first used in the 13th century in the Royal Navy and is today used in most services in many countries, including the Commonwealth nations and the United States.

Outside the United States, warrant officers are included in the "other ranks" (OR) category, equivalent to the US "E" (enlisted) category and rank between non-commissioned officers and commissioned officers. In the commonwealth warrant officers rank between chief petty officer and sub-lieutenant in the navy, between staff sergeant and second lieutenant in the army and between flight sergeant and pilot officer in the air force.

Warrant officers in the United States are classified as officers and are in the "W" category (NATO "WO"); they are technical leaders and specialists. Chief warrant officers are commissioned by the President of the United States and take the same oath as regular commissioned officers. They may be technical experts with a long service as enlisted personnel, or direct entrants such as U.S. Army helicopter pilots.

Military ranks and insignia by country
Post-Soviet states
Commonwealth of Nations


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