Israel Table of Contents
Awards and decorations carried considerable prestige in the IDF simply because so few were given. Scarcely 1,000 had been awarded from the War of Independence through the Lebanon invasion of 1982. Under a revised system of military decorations instituted in 1973, all soldiers decorated since 1948 received one of three medals that would be used subsequently to honor those who acquitted themselves in an outstanding manner while serving in the IDF. Each medal was accompanied by a ribbon worn above the left breast pocket. The least prestigious, Etour HaMofet, awarded for exemplary conduct, was accompanied by a blue ribbon. Etour HaOz, awarded for bravery, was accompanied by a red ribbon. The highest medal, Etour HaGevora, awarded for heroism, had been presented to fewer than thirty IDF soldiers as of 1988. Its color was yellow in commemoration of those Jews who had committed acts of heroism while forced to wear the yellow Star of David during the Nazi era and during the Middle Ages.
Campaign ribbons were awarded for service in the War of Independence (1948-49), the 1956 Sinai Campaign, the wars of 1967 and 1973, and the 1982 invasion of Lebanon. Badges could be worn by those who served in the Palmach and in the Jewish Brigade before the formation of the IDF. In addition, soldiers were awarded a special emblem representing six months of service in a front-line combat unit. Each independence day, the president of Israel awarded certificates to 100 outstanding soldiers, both conscripts and careerists, for exceptional soldierly attributes.
Data as of December 1988