The State of Israel (מְדִינַת יִשְׂרָאֵל) was created in 1948 out of the British Mandate of Palestine to provide a permanent Jewish homeland following the Second World War. The establishment of Israel was met with immediate antagonism by neighboring Arab states, thus sparking the 1948 Arab-Israeli War. The nation was drawn into the Suez Crisis of 1956, fighting alongside France and Great Britain against Eyypt. Ten years later Israel was attacked by Egypt, Jordan and Syria during the Six-Day War (1967), but the attackers were soundly defeated and several pieces of key territory captured (including the Golan Heights and Sinai Peninsula). Attempts to retake the territory in 1973 (Yom Kippur War) were initially successful, but the land was retaken and Israel again achieved victory over Egypt and Syria.
In 1964 the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) was founded as a political and paramilitary organization aimed to "liberate Palestine" through armed struggle. Throughout the course of its existence, numerous factions came into existence (many aligned with and/or supported by outside entities - e.g. Syria, Iran, et al), some of which were responsible for mounting terror campaigns, both inside and outside of Israel. Some of these factions were involved in the Lebanese Civil War also. In 1988 a Palestinian Declaration of Independence was declared, resulting in the establishment of the Palestinian National Authority in 1994, which governs the Palestinian territories within the State of Israel.
The Israeli Defense Forces (צְבָא הַהֲגָנָה לְיִשְׂרָאֵל) were actively engaged during the Lebanese Civil War, and invaded South Lebanon in 1982 (what became known as the Lebanon War). Forces were withdrawn in 1983. Between July and August 2006, however, the nation again moved troops into Southern Lebanon, this time moving against Hezbollah.
The standard combat uniform of the IDF has always been khaki or olive green. Camouflage uniforms have been employed from time to time, as needed, but various units but are not considered to be standard issue. The earliest camouflage uniforms of the IDF were donated by France and worn by Airborne troops during the Six-Day War. American-made combat uniforms have also long been in the IDF inventory, frequently worn for training and operational purposes. In the 1990s, a reversible universal pattern was designed for the IDF, appearing first on helmet nets which are in general issue. Oversuits in the same pattern are found throughout the IDF, but again are not universally issued.
Camouflage Patterns of the IDF
- First worn by Israeli units during the Six-Day War (1967), lizard camouflage uniforms were donated to the IDF by France. There was no standardization of uniform types or styles, so a mixture of TAP Mle 1947/54, TAP Mle 1947/56 & Mle 58 tout-arms uniforms in various states of fading could all be found scattered among IDF personnel during this time period.
- Beginning in the 1980s, intermittent use of surplus US m81 woodland camouflage BDUs by the IDF began to occur. Additionally, some locally made (commercial) clothing in the same pattern has also been used. Although not in general distribution, the woodland camouflage is still encountered within the IDF from time to time.
- Israel has also received surplus US desert camouflage uniforms, including both the six-color "chocolate chip" and the tricolor desert patterns.
- The IDF "universal" series of camouflage designs are mottled patterns printed on a textured synthetic dense mesh material. The patterns were first introduced as the Mit'znefet (helmet net), but are also issued at a two piece uniform consisting of smock and over-trousers, OTV cover and mask. The standard oversuit and helmet cover reverse from a temperate/woodland colorway to a desert version. There is also an urban colorway.