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Branch of Service and Unit Flags (Israel)

Last modified: 2024-02-03 by martin karner
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I compared the shades of colour used in the Israel Defence Forces (IDF) to denote branch of service or corps, with those used in the US and British Armies to see if there are any similarities. Well, there are not. I guess there are no universal colours like the red berets of parachutists or black berets of armor. So here are the colours used in the IDF. They are used for unit flags, shoulder patches (sometimes) – and for painting things at camp! Each corps has two colours, and there are decoration flags with these. The flags are rectangular, 90x120 cm and divided diagonally by a line going from the upper hoist to the bottom fly. In the following list, the first colour is that of the lower triangle (the one on the bottom hoist).

  • yellow/green – infantry
  • [purple/white – Giva'ati infantry brigade]
  • red/white – parachutists
  • green/black – armour
  • black/red – artillery
  • black orange – engineers
  • red/dark blue – military police
  • white/red – medical corps
  • red/yellow – ordnance
  • yellow/blue – maintenance
  • green/white – intelligence
  • blue/yellow – general corps
  • light blue/white – adjutancy
  • white/light blue – education
  • red/green – listed as civil/regional defence, but these formations are now part of Homefront Command. I don't know if the colours are now used by them.
  • orange/brown – women's corps. I heard that that formation is going to be abolished soon.
  • [orange/light blue – Homefront Command]

Communications, electronics and computers corps (it is one corps, not three – that is the official name) uses a flag with a different pattern: dark blue with a white diagonal line. It would be interesting to compare those to colours used in other countries.
Nahum Shereshevsky
, 23 June 1997

Yesterday was Jerusalem Day which commemorates the unification of the city in 1967. Every year there is a parade in the city, in this year there were also army units there – with their flags. It reminded me the parades that used to be on Independence Day until 1968. That was my first chance to see real army flags, since I became flag-conscious, anyway.

The field of the flags is divided diagonally between the two colours of the relevant corps. The main element of the flag is usually the shoulder patch or a similar design. Since these are awarded to brigade-level (or equivalent) formations while flags are awarded to regiment/battalion-level formations, the latter flags have additional elements to distinguish the specific battalion. I was able to see clearly only one example: Transportation Centre, which is equal to a brigade, has a flag of yellow/blue (Maintenance Corps) with their patch (elephant). There were about five flags like that, each with a combination of coloured bars, belonging I suppose to the individual bases.

The finials are in the shape of the corps emblems and attached to them are campaign streamers. I have read about that in the Army Regulation but it is the first time I actually saw this.

Nahum Shereshevsky, 25 May 1998

The yellow/green is infantry force in general, however all four infantry regiments have their own flags too:

Also, the Education Force is now Education and Youth Force.

Dov Gutterman, 11 November 2002

One more to add the the bicolors military flags. Anti-Aircraft Corps (part of the Air Force) – diagonally divided blue-black.
Source: author observation 15 December 2003
Dov Gutterman
, 15 December 2003

The Homefront Command uses diagonally divided orange-light blue.
Dov Gutterman, 5 June 2007