the medals, ribbons and decorations in Israel website. I made this site
first of all because it deals with my hobby of collecting medals and
decorations and learning the history about them. In the second place I
noticed that the existing sites, official Israeli sites as well as private
sites, lack much data and actually contain contradicting
information and inaccuracies.
The official sites of the Ministry of Defense, the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) and the Israel Police that are written in Hebrew, contain only minimal information about the present decorations and ribbons. Some older and obsolete items that have become history are not shown. The English versions of these sites contain even less information.
One of the reasons for this lack of information may be that the topic of decorating soldiers with medals and ribbons is not popular in Israel and has never been. This does not mean that the history of awarding decorations and insignia of Israel is not very interesting.
Decorations and ribbons for acts since the Independence of Israel
Compared to other countries, Israel instituted very few military decorations and ribbons. For different levels of heroism or extraordinary service three types of medals and three types of citation ribbons exist. In addition to this, for participation in the wars since 1948, seven campaign ribbons exist, not connected to any medals.
No special ribbons or medals exist for servicemen who
were killed, wounded,
missed in action, prisoners of war etc. Nor does exist any token for long
or good conduct service, except the Operational Service badge (half a year
The above does not mean that acts of
heroism are not appreciated, but in a country with a history of so many
wars, for most citizens having fought in a war is more rule than
exception. Many of my friends in Israel do not remember where they put the campaign
ribbons they got. Usually they gave them to their kids or threw them
With the Independence of Israel and the institution of
the Israel Defense Forces in 1948, all Jewish underground organizations
were abolished. Many of the fighters for the establishment of Israel found
their place in the ranks of the IDF. It took about 10 years before a
ribbon was instituted to remember participation in the former main stream
Hagana underground defense force. Ribbons for participation in other
organizations followed, but official recognition of the more "right wing"
underground organizations such as the Etzel and Lechi came only after former Etzel leader Menahem Begin became prime
minister of Israel in 1977. Till then these organizations were officially
In 2007 the campaign ribbon for the Second Lebanon War was introduced, however only in enamel version. This tin ribbon actually does not deserve the name ribbon but badge.
|Some samples of Israeli modesty in wearing military decorations and campaign ribbons|
|Do Israelis care in
what order the ribbons are worn?
|Actually not. Only in 2002 official guidelines were published for wearing the decorations by civilians and their proper order. Also guidelines for military exist but many of the pictures shown in this site do not follow these rules. As an example we show here two pictures of 2012 where the new Chief of Staff Benny Gantz wears his two campaign ribbons in different order.|
Israel knows a single state award, the Israel Prize, for excellence in sciences, culture, sports, lifetime achievement or exceptional contribution to the nation. Similar to the military decorations, no levels or "classes" exist in this decoration. The layout of the badge is even more modest.
The relation of the Israeli public to decorations
|This website presents many pictures and other material that was offered to me for publication by kind people from all over the world. I take the opportunity to thank them again and encourage others to share their knowledge and pictures with me for publication.|