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.
|חיל הים הישראלי|
Cadets from the Israeli Naval Academy in December 2007
|Size||3 corvettes (Sa'ar 5 class)|
8 missile boats (Sa'ar 4.5 class)
5 submarines (Dolphin class)
45 patrol boats
2 support ships
|Part of||Israel Defense Forces|
|Garrison/HQ||HaKirya, Tel Aviv, Israel|
|Motto(s)||"Open Sea, Safe Coasts"|
|Engagements||1948 Arab–Israeli War|
War over Water
War of Attrition
Yom Kippur War
1982 Lebanon War
1982–2000 South Lebanon conflict
2006 Lebanon War
Blockade of the Gaza Strip
Operation Protective Edge
|Commander-in-Chief||Aluf Eli Sharvit|
The origins of the Israeli Navy lay in the founding of the Betar Naval Academy, a Jewish naval training school established in Civitavecchia, Italy, in 1934 by the Revisionist Zionist movement under the direction of Ze'ev Jabotinsky, with the agreement of Benito Mussolini. The Academy trained cadets from all over Europe, Palestine and South Africa and produced some of the future commanders of the Israeli Navy. In September 1937, the training ship Sarah I visited Haifa and Tel Aviv as part of a Mediterranean tour.
In 1938, encouraged by the Jewish Agency, Dr. Shlomo Bardin founded the Marine High School in Bosmat, the Technion's Junior Technical College. 1943 witnessed the founding of the Palyam, the naval branch of the Palmach, whose training was undertaken at the maritime school. The Jewish merchant marine was also raised, operating SS Tel-Aviv and cargo ships such as Atid.
In 1942, eleven hundred Haganah volunteers joined the Royal Navy, mostly in technical roles (12 of them were officers by the nomination agreement of the Jewish Agency with the Royal Navy). A few reached sea service and combat service. Two of them served with the Fleet Air Arm (FAA), one of whom was Edmond Wilhelm Brillant and the other Zvi Avidror. With the end of the Second World War, Palyam members took part in clandestine immigration activities, bringing Europe's Jews to Palestine, as well as commando actions against Royal Navy deportation ships. Royal Navy volunteers, meanwhile, rejoined the Haganah.
During the last months of British Mandate in Palestine, the former Royal Navy volunteers started work on the captured clandestine immigration ships (known as the Fleet of Shadows) in Haifa harbor, salvaged a few and pressed them into service. These were to become the Navy's first ships and saw service in the 1948 Israeli War of Independence.
At the outset of the 1948 war and with the founding of the IDF, the Israeli Navy consisted of four former Aliyah Bet ships impounded in Haifa harbor. These ships were refurbished by a newly formed naval repair facility with the assistance of two private shipbuilding and repair companies. In October 1948, a submarine chaser was purchased from the United States. With the founding of the IDF in early 1948, the Israeli Navy was therefore formed from a core of the following personnel:
During the war, the warships served on coastal patrol duties and bombarded Arab targets on land, including Egyptian coastal installations in and around the Gaza area all the way to Port Said. The Israeli Navy also engaged the Egyptian Navy at sea during Operation Yoav, and the Egyptian Navy's flagship, Emir Farouk, was sunk in an operation by Israeli naval commandos.
To make matters worse, Palyam personnel often resisted efforts to instill order, discipline and rank in the newly formed service. Mess rooms were initially shared by both officers and enlisted men. Ships possessed a captain with nautical skills, but also a commanding officer regarded as political. This would cause a great deal of debate between veterans of the Palyam, Royal Navy volunteers from the Haganah and U.S. Navy Machal volunteers about what form the Navy should take. Commander Allen Burk is reputed to have said, out of despair, "You cannot make naval officers from cowboys".
Royal Navy Captain Ashe Lincoln, who was Jewish, advised Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion to purchase corvettes, frigates, destroyers, torpedo boats, and patrol boats to build up the Israeli Navy power. To that end, he urged Ben-Gurion to consult with professional navy advisers. This resulted in instructions to contact U.S. Navy advisors, mainly Commander Paul Shulman from the U.S. Navy.
The Israeli Navy suffered from a lack of professional command during its early days. Gershon Zak, head of the IDF "Sea Service", was a teacher and bureaucrat without any relevant experience. Having never been recruited into the IDF, Zak was a civilian and had no official rank. The early days of the Israeli Navy were therefore characterized by political infighting, as many groups and individuals jockeyed for power. Palyam politics blocked the nomination of Paul Shulman (a Jewish U.S. Navy officer with a rank of Commander who volunteered for the Israeli Navy) as Navy-Commander in Chief and he resigned in 1949. The first Navy-Commander in Chief awarded the rank of Aluf was Shlomo Shamir.
The conclusion of the 1948 war afforded the navy the time to build up its strength. Beginning in the early 1950s the navy purchased frigates, torpedo boats, destroyers, and eventually submarines. The material build-up was accompanied by the training of Israeli Navy officers in Royal Navy academies in the UK and Malta, as well as in France.
Three distinct periods characterize the history of the Israeli Navy:
In the most significant engagement in its history, during the Yom Kippur War five Israeli Navy missile boats sank five Syrian ships without losses during the Battle of Latakia. As a result, the Syrian Navy remained in port for the remainder of the conflict. It was the first naval battle in history between surface-to-surface missile-equipped missile boats.
|US Navy||Rear Admiral
|Army Ranks||Major- General||Brigadier -General||Colonel||Lt- Colonel||Major||Captain||Lieutenant||2nd Lieutenant|
|Royal Navy||Warrant Officer
|Chief Petty Officer||Petty Officer||(none)||Leading Rate||(none)||Able Seaman||(none)|
Sleeve rank of Israeli Navy Commander-in-Chief is a rank of honor. This began as special permission from Lt. General Amnon Lipkin-Shahak (then chief of staff of the IDF) and allows the Navy Commander-in-Chief to have a sleeve rank of Vice Admiral which is equal to Lt. General, the rank of the IDF Chief of Staff. However the de facto rank of Israeli Navy Commander-in-Chief is Rear Admiral and the gesture given to the navy is ceremonial only when meeting foreign commanding officers.
The same resolution as mentioned above applies to the rank of Commodore. There is ceremonial-only sleeve rank of Rear–Admiral while by the IDF hierarchy and chain of command he remains a commodore.
Based in Haifa, Eilat, and Ashdod respectively, Squadrons 914, 915, and 916 defend Israel's shores from nearby.
The Submarine Flotilla, a volunteer unit founded in 1959.
Shayetet 13, or Flotilla 13, is an elite naval commando unit which specializes in sea-to-land incursions, counter-terrorism, sabotage operations, maritime intelligence gathering, maritime hostage rescue, and boarding. It is among the most highly trained and secretive units in the Israeli military.
Salvage and underwater works unit. Formed as the damage control branch of the Navy Shipyards, the unit later incorporated experienced Flotilla-13 divers.
Force protection and harbour security unit. Also in charge of diving checkups of civilian ships entering Israeli harbours.
"INS" stands for "Israeli Navy Ship".
|United States||U.S. built class|
|Sa'ar 4.5||INS Romach, pronounced [ʁomaχ] (Lance)
INS Keshet (Bow)
INS Hetz, pronounced [ˈχet͡s] (Arrow)
INS Kidon (Javelin)
INS Tarshish (Tarshish)
INS Yaffo (Jaffa)
INS Herev, pronounced [χeʁev] (Sword)
INS Sufa' (Storm)
|Dolphin class||INS Dolphin (Dolphin)
INS Livyathan (Whale)
INS Tekumah (Revival)
|Germany||German built submarines|
|AIP Dolphin 2 class||INS Tanin (Crocodile)
INS Drakon (Dragon)
|Germany||German built; INS Dakar was on ordered 21 March 2012 and its expected operational date 2019|
|Class||Photo||Number of ships||Commissioned||Origin||Notes|
|Super Dvora Mk II||4||1996||Israel|
|Super Dvora Mk III||13||2004||Israel|
|Rafael Protector USV||2000s||Israel||Unmanned Naval Patrol Vehicles|
|Silver Marlin||2006?||Israel||USV Naval Patrol Vehicles|
Aircraft operated by the Israeli Navy, even when including on-board Navy mission specialists, are flown and maintained by Israeli Air Force personnel and are part of the air force command structure.
The contract for the sixth and final Dolphin-class submarine is expected to be operational by 2017.  ThyssenKrupp will also build four Sa'ar patrol vessels for EEZ duties such as protecting offshore gas fields. The ships will be based on the MEKO A-100 design like Germany's Braunschweig-class corvettes, suggesting they will be 90 m (295 ft) long and displace around 1,800 tonnes, named Sa'ar 6-class corvette. This deal was signed in December 2014 and Germany is believed to be contributing up to €115m of the €1 billion cost. Previously Israel had hoped to acquire an up-armed version of the Freedom class of littoral combat ships from Lockheed Martin, but spiralling costs had made this impossible, along with a fallback option from Northrop Grumman/Huntington Ingalls Industries which built the Sa'ar 5 class.
The Abu Hasan (also Abu Hassan) was a fishing vessel used to smuggle weapons into the Gaza Strip. The boat was intercepted and seized by the Israeli Navy on May 21, 2003.
According to the Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the boat was sailing from Lebanon to Egypt carrying a Hezbollah explosives expert bound for Gaza. The navy seized the vessel in international waters off the northern Israeli town of Haifa. Also seized were compact discs with instructions on how to prepare explosives, a radio-activation system and detonators.Ami Ayalon
Amihai "Ami" Ayalon (Hebrew: עמיחי "עמי" איילון, born 27 June 1945) is an Israeli politician and a former member of the Knesset for the Labor Party. He was previously head of the Shin Bet, Israel's secret service, and commander-in-chief of the Navy. He came in second to Ehud Barak in a Labor party leadership election in June 2007, and was appointed a Minister without Portfolio in September 2007. He is one of the recipients of Israel's highest decoration, the Medal of Valor.Francop Affair
The Francop Affair was a high seas incident on November 4, 2009 in which the Israeli Navy seized the cargo ship MV Francop in the eastern Mediterranean Sea and its cargo of hundreds of tons of weapons allegedly bound from Iran to Hezbollah. The incident is also known by its military operation name, Operation Four Species.HMCS Orkney (K448)
HMCS Orkney was a River-class frigate that served with the Royal Canadian Navy as a convoy escort during the Second World War. She was named for Orkney, Saskatchewan. After the war she was purchased and used by the Israeli immigrant movement, then taken over by the nascent Israeli Navy and renamed Mivtah. She was sold by Israel to Ceylon who renamed her Mahasena.
Orkney was ordered in June 1942 as part of the 1942–1943 River-class program. She was laid down on 19 May 1943 by Yarrows Ltd. at Esquimalt and launched 18 September 1943. She was commissioned into the Royal Canadian Navy on 18 April 1944 at Victoria, British Columbia.HMS Mendip (L60)
HMS Mendip (L60) was a Hunt-class destroyer of the Royal Navy. She was a member of the first subgroup of the class. The ship is notable for seeing service in the navies of three other nations after her use by the Royal Navy. She saw service in the Second World War and later as an Egyptian Navy ship in the Suez Crisis. She was captured in battle on 31 October 1956 by the Israeli Navy and re-commissioned as INS Haifa (K-38).HMS Sanguine
HMS Sanguine was an S-class submarine of the Royal Navy, and part of the Third Group built of that class. She was built by Cammell Laird and launched on 15 February 1945. So far she has been the only ship of the Royal Navy to bear the name Sanguine.
Built as the Second World War was drawing to a close, she did not see much action. In 1953 she took part in the Fleet Review to celebrate the Coronation of Queen Elizabeth II.HMS Springer
HMS Springer was an S class submarine of the Royal Navy, and part of the Third Group built of that class. She was built by Cammell Laird and launched on 14 May 1945. So far she has been the only ship of the Royal Navy to bear the name Springer.HMS Truncheon (P353)
HMS Truncheon (pennant number P353) was a group three T Class submarine of the Royal Navy which entered service in the last few months of World War II. So far she has been the only ship of the Royal Navy to be named Truncheon. She was sold to Israel in 1968 and commissioned into the Israeli Sea Corps as INS Dolphin.HMS Zealous (R39)
HMS Zealous was a Z-class destroyer of the Royal Navy built in 1944 by Cammell Laird. She served during the Second World War, participating in operations in the North Sea and off the Norwegian coast, before taking part in some of the Arctic convoys. She spent a further ten years in Royal Navy service after the end of the war, before being sold to the Israeli Navy, which operated her as INS Eilat. She saw action during the Suez Crisis in 1956, attacking Egyptian ships and was still active by the outbreak of the Six-Day War in 1967. She was sunk several months after the conflict by missiles launched from several small Egyptian missile boats; this made her the first vessel to be sunk by a missile boat in wartime. It was an important milestone in naval surface warfare, which aroused considerable interest around the world in the development of small manoeuvrable missile boats.INS Dakar
INS Dakar (Hebrew: אח"י דקר) was a diesel–electric submarine in the Israeli Navy. The vessel, a modified World War II British T-class submarine, had previously been HMS Totem of the Royal Navy. She was purchased by Israel from the Government of the United Kingdom in 1965 as part of a three T-class submarine deal.
Dakar and her entire 69-man crew were lost en route to Israel on 25 January 1968. Despite extensive searches over the course of three decades, its wreckage was not found until 1999, when it was located between the islands of Cyprus and Crete at a depth of approximately 3,000 m (9,800 ft). The submarine's conning tower was salvaged and is on display outside Clandestine Immigration and Naval Museum in Haifa.
The exact cause of Dakar's sinking remains unknown. It was one of four submarine disappearances in 1968; the others were those of the French submarine Minerve, the Soviet submarine K-129, and the U.S. submarine USS Scorpion.INS Hanit
INS Hanit (Hebrew: חנית, Spear) is a Sa'ar 5-class corvette of the Israeli Navy, built by Northrop Grumman Ship Systems in 1994. On 14 July 2006, during the 2006 Lebanon War, it suffered damage after being struck by a Hezbollah C-802 anti-ship missile.Karine A affair
The Karine A affair, also known as Operation "Noah's Ark" (Hebrew: מבצע תיבת נוח Mivtza Teyvat Noah), was an Israeli military action in January 2002 in which Israeli forces seized MV Karine A, which, according to IDF, was a Palestinian freighter in the Red Sea. The vessel was found to be carrying 50 tons of weapons, including short-range Katyusha rockets, antitank missiles, and high explosives.List of flags of Israel
The following is a list of flags of Israel.MT explosive motorboat
The explosive motorboat MT (Motoscafo da Turismo) also known as barchino (Italian for "little boat"), was a series of small explosive motor boats developed by the Italian Royal Navy, which was based on its predecessors, the prototype boat MA (Motoscafo d'Assalto) and the MAT (Motoscafo Avio Trasportato), an airborne prototype. Explosive motorboats were designed to make a silent approach to a moored warship, set a collision course and run into full gear until the last 200 or 100 yards to the target, when the pilot would eject after blocking the rudder. At impact, the hull would be broken amidships by a small explosive charge, sinking the boat and the warhead, which was fitted with a water-pressure fuse set to go off at a depth of one metre. By the end of September 1938 the Navy Department ordered six explosive boats. The one-pilot vessels were built by the companies Baglietto of Varazze and CABI of Milan, which was also to supply the engines. The small vessels were used by the Italian Navy in at least two major operations in the Mediterranean theatre during World War II.SLNS Gajabahu
SLNS Gajabahu (named after Gajabahu, a former king of Sri Lanka) was a River-class frigate of the Sri Lanka Navy. She has since been converted to a training ship for the Naval & Maritime Academy, Trincomalee. She was originally HMCS Hallowell of the Royal Canadian Navy, built during the Second World War and then saw service as INS Misnak of the Israeli Navy. The Royal Ceylon Navy purchased her in 1958 from Israel.Sa'ar 4-class missile boat
The Sa'ar 4 or Reshef-class missile boats were a series of missile boats built based on Israeli Navy designs grounded in accumulated experience derived in the operation of "Cherbourg" (Sa'ar 1, Sa'ar 2, and Sa'ar 3) classes. Thirteen were built at the Israel Shipyards, ten for the Israeli Navy and three for the South African Navy. Another six were built for the South African Navy in South Africa with Israeli assistance.
Sa'ar 4 boats' first battle engagements occurred in the October 1973 Yom Kippur War when two Sa'ar 4 boats, INS Reshef and INS Keshet, engaged Egyptian and Syrian ships and coastal targets. Israel had sold most of its Sa'ar 4 boats to other navies, but INS Nitzachon and INS Atzmaut remained in active Israeli Navy service until 2014.Sa'ar 5-class corvette
Sa'ar 5 (Hebrew: סער 5) is a class of Israeli Navy small corvettes. They were Israeli designed using lessons learned from the Sa'ar 4.5-class missile boats. Three Sa'ar 5 ships were built by Huntington Ingalls Industries (formerly Litton-Ingalls Shipbuilding Corporation of Pascagoula, Mississippi) for the Israeli Navy, based on Israeli designs.
They are the largest surface warships in Israel's naval fleet. Although classified as small "corvettes" due to their small size and crew of only 71, their weaponry and speed are almost comparable to that of a frigate. They are equipped with sonar, torpedoes, missile launchers, electronic warfare capabilities and decoys, a gun mount, and a helipad and helicopter hangar.The first of class, INS Eilat, was launched in February 1993, followed by INS Lahav in August 1993 and INS Hanit in March 1994.
"סער" is Hebrew for "storm".Santorini affair
The Santorini was a fishing boat used for weapons-smuggling, which was captured in May 2001 by the Israeli Shayetet 13 Naval Commando Unit. This was the first ship caught in an attempt to smuggle weapons to Palestinian-controlled territories. In May 2002, three of the Santorini's crew members were convicted of attempting to smuggle weapons into the Gaza Strip.Shayetet 13
Shayetet 13 (Hebrew: שייטת 13, lit. Flotilla 13) is a unit of the Israeli Navy and one of the primary sayeret (reconnaissance) units of the Israel Defense Forces. Shayetet 13 specializes in sea-to-land incursions, counter-terrorism, sabotage, maritime intelligence gathering, maritime hostage rescue, and boarding. The unit is trained for sea, air and land actions. The unit has taken part in almost all of Israel's major wars, as well as other actions.
The unit is one of the most secretive in the Israeli military. The details of many missions and identities of active operatives are kept highly classified. The unit is respected as among the best of the world’s special forces, and is compared to the US Navy SEALs and Britain's Special Boat Service. Unlike many other Israeli Special Forces Units which take men only for their 36-month mandatory service, volunteers for Shayetet 13 must agree to service at least four and a half years (18 months over and above the normal commitment). Unit's Motto: "As the bat emerges from the darkness, As the blade cuts through with silence, As the grenade smashs in rage." In addition the unit also referred to as "people of Silence".