Israel Defense Forces ranks: Wikis


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The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) have 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 of the paramilitary Haganah developed in the Mandate period to protect the Yishuv. This origin is reflected in the slightly-compacted rank structure; for instance, the Chief of Staff (Ramatkal) is seemingly only equivalent to a Lieutenant General in other militaries.


Current ranks

Israel Defense Forces
Idf logo4.jpg Flag of Israel.svg
Military manpower
Military age 18 years of age
Availability males age 15-49: 1,499,186 (2000 est.)

females age 15-49: 1,462,063 (2000 est.)

Fit for military service males age 15-49: 1,226,903 (2000 est.)

females age 15-49: 1,192,319 (2000 est.)

Reaching military age annually males: 50,348 (2000 est.)
females: 47,996 (2000 est.)
Military expenditures
Dollar figure $8.7 billion (FY99)
Percent of GDP 9.4% (FY99)
Category Rank name and U.S rank equivalent Insignia
קצינים ראשים
Supreme Officers
General Officers
(רב-אלוף (רא"ל
Rav aluf (Ra'al)

(Chief of the General Staff, Command of the Army or Army Group)
(Lieutenant General)

IDF Ranks Ra'al.svg

(Commanding General, Command of the Branch of Arms, Corps)
(Major General)

IDF Ranks Aluf.svg
(תת-אלוף (תא"ל
Tat aluf (Ta'al)

(Commanding General, Command of the Service of Arms, Corps, Division, Brigade)
(Brigadier General)

IDF Ranks Ta'al.svg
קצינים בכירים
Senior Officers
Field Grade Officers
(אלוף משנה (אל"מ
Aluf mishne (Alam)

(Regiment, Brigade Commander)

IDF Ranks Alam.svg
(סגן-אלוף (סא"ל
Sgan aluf (Sa'al)

(Battalion Commander)
(Lieutenant Colonel)

IDF Ranks Sa'al.svg
(רב סרן (רס"ן
Rav seren (Rasan)

(Executive Officer, Battalion, Battery, Company)

IDF Ranks Rasan.svg
קצינים זוטרים
Junior Officers
Company Grade Officers

(Company Commander)

IDF Ranks Seren.svg
Segen -
since 1951

((סגן ראשון (סג"ר
Segen rishon (Sagar)
- until 1951)
(Company Exec. Officer, Platoon)
(First Lieutenant)

IDF Ranks Segen.svg
(סגן-משנה (סג"מ
Segen mishne (Sagam) -
since 1951

- until 1951)
(Platoon Commander)
(Second Lieutenant)

IDF Ranks Sagam.svg
(ממלא מקום קצין (ממ"ק
Memale makom katsín (Mamak)

(Lowest officer posts)
(Acting officer or Aspirant - existed until 1994
and no longer in use

IDF Ranks Acting officer.png
קצינים אקדמאים
Academic Officers
(קצין אקדמאי בכיר (קא"ב
Katsín akademai bakhír (Ka'ab)

(The professional officer of the first class in the reserve - officer of medical service, officer of dental medical service, officer of veterinary service, officer of justice, officer of religion. Equivalent to Captain.)
(Senior academic professional officer)

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

(The professional officer of the second class in the reserve - officer of medical service, officer of dental medical service, officer of veterinary service, officer of justice, officer of religion. Equivalent to First Lieutenant.)
(Academic professional officer)

IDF Ranks Kama.svg
Non-Commissioned Officers
(רב-נגד (רנ"ג
Rav nagad (Ranag)

(Chief Warrant Officer)

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

(Warrant Officer)

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

(Sergeant Major)

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

(Master Sergeant)

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

(First Sergeant)

IDF Ranks Rasal.svg
( סמל ראשון (סמ"ר

Samal rishon (Samar)

(Staff Sergeant)

IDF Ranks Samar.svg


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


IDF Ranks Rav turai.svg
(טוראי ראשון (טר"ש
Turai rishon (Tarash)

(Private First Class - until 1999 and no longer in use. See comments in notes in the bottom)

IDF Ranks Private First Class.gif

(Private E-2 or Private)


(Private E1-Recruit - Formally not a rank. See comments in notes in the bottom)



With the founding of the IDF in 1948, there were 7 enlisted and NCO ranks, and 8 officer ranks. Like in many world armies, naval ranks were different from ground and airforce ranks. The ranks were as follows:[1]

Enlisted Officer
  Rav-Aluf (Lieutenant General)
Rav Samal Rishon (Master Sergeant) Aluf (Major General)
Rav Samal Yehidati (Unit First Sergeant) Aluf-Mishneh (Colonel)
Samal Rishon (Staff Sergeant) Sgan Aluf (Lieutenant Colonel)
Samal (Sergeant) Rav Seren (Major)
Rav Turai (Corporal) Seren (Captain)
Turai Rishon (Private First Class) Segen (Lieutenant)
Turai (Private) Segen Mishneh (Second Lieutenant)


  • In the IDF, the same ranks are used throughout the military, including the Israeli Air Force and Israeli Navy. This contrasts with many other armed forced that have a separate rank system for different branches. [1]
  • As the ranks of the Israel Defence 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 (four-star, in American 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 or five-star General.
  • Enlisted insignia are worn on the arm sleeves whereas officer insignia are worn on the shoulders.
  • 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.
  • The rank Acting officer (ממלא מקום קצין) was the cadet in the Israeli army who has finished base preparation on an officer rate (קורס קצינים בסיסי), but for any reasons abandoned a professional part of an officer rate (השלמה חיילית); occupied the lowest officer posts, which are not concerning with command; the rank was considered below a rank 2nd Lieutenant (Sagam); since 1994 is not appropriated.
  • The rank Master Corporal was entered for a short time, from 1972 to 1982, for the purpose to convince soldiers to sign an army contract, because of a shortage of staff during this period, and their increase in a rank as an encouragement for the consent to do it.
  • The rank of Private First Class was until 1999 and is no longer in use. Privates retains their rank until promoted to Corporal, after 10 months of service (8 for combatants), or in some cases 4. Combat units traditionally don't wear the Corporal rank, remaining without insignia until they are promoted to the rank of Sergeant.
  • Non-commissioned officer ranks listed on this page correspond to the Hebrew Nagad ranks, a word that translates as 'non-commissioned officer'. Corporals and sergeants however who are commanders are called Mashak, an abbreviation that also translates as 'non-commissioned officer' (or, literally, 'a commander who is not an officer').
  • Academic Officers: These are special ranks, given to soldiers who are of academic education, but for some reason have not completed officers' training (Since the draft age is 18, only few soldiers complete academic education before being drafted - most commonly by postponing draft for this reason). "Kama" is equivalent to 1st Lieutenant, and "Ka'ab" is equivalent to Captain. Officers of these ranks are considered professional manpower (Mostly engineering), and rarely take posts of command. Upon completing officers' training, an academic officer is awarded the corresponding "real" rank.
  • Upon enlistment to military service in Israel, all soldiers begin a basic training course, undergo several days or weeks of 'integration', where drill instructors "convert" them from citizens to soldiers. This course is called recruit training or Tironut and the soldier being trained on this course is called a recruit (Private E-1 or Tiron), which is often erroneously interpreted as a rank, similar to the American Private E-1. There is no such rank and Tironim (recruits) are ranked Turai (Private).
  • In the IDF, Enlisted ranks are earned by means of time in service (pazam), rather than by a particular post or assignment. Higher NCO and officer ranks require assignment to an awarding post. It usually takes between 24 to 32 months to achieve the rank of Staff Sergeant. Ranks of 1st lieutenant and captain also take only time, but much longer (a full year as 2nd lieutenant, and 3 years as first, respectively).

See also


  1. ^ Wallach, Jeuda; Lorekh, Netanel; Yitzhaki, Aryeh (1978). "Battles of the Jordan Valley". in Evyatar Nur. Carta's Atlas of Israel. Volume 2 - The First Years 1948–1961. Jerusalem, Israel: Carta. pp. p. 91.   (Hebrew)

External links

Israel Defense Forces

External links



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