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Paratroopers Brigade
File:Tag shfifonN.jpg
Paratroopers Brigade Insignia
Active 1955
Country Israel
Branch Army
Type Paratrooper
Role Air assault, Special reconnaissance
Size 4 Battalions
Part of 98th Paratroopers Division (IDF) (Reserve),
Infantry Corps

"Initiate, Lead, Make an Example and Win";

"After me, to the paratroopers!"
Colors Maroon beret, Red & White Flag
Mascot(s) Winged Snake (Shfifon)
Engagements Suez War (Mitla Pass), Six-Day War (reunification of Jerusalem), War of Attrition (Operation Rhodes), Operation Entebbe, Second Intifada, Second Lebanon War, Operation Cast Lead
Colonel Eliezer Toledano
Ariel Sharon, Rafael Eitan, Moshe Ya'alon

Members of 890th Paratroop Battalion after Operation Egged (November 1955). Standing l to r: Lt. Meir Har-Zion, Maj. Arik Sharon, Lt. Gen Moshe Dayan, Capt. Dani Matt, Lt. Moshe Efron, Maj. Gen Asaf Simchoni; On ground, l to r: Capt. Aharon Davidi, Lt. Ya'akov Ya'akov, Capt. Raful Eitan

Paratroopers in training

The Paratroopers Brigade (Hebrew: חֲטִיבַת הַצַּנְחָנִים </noinclude>, Hativat HaTzanhanim), also known as the 35th Brigade, is a unit of paratroopers within the Israel Defense Forces (IDF), and forms a major part of the Infantry Corps. It has a history of carrying out special forces-style missions dating back to the 1950s.

Serving in the brigade is voluntary and requires passing a one and a half-day physical test. The IDF has three reservist paratrooper brigades at any given time, consisting of personnel who served their mandatory service in the brigade, and who are mostly in their twenties (aside from officers). These are most likely the most highly trained reservist brigades in the IDF.


The brigade was created at the mid 1950s when the commando Unit 101 was merged with the 890th Battalion (the IDF's Airborne Commando unit) in order to form an elite infantry brigade. The new unit was equipped with the IMI Uzi submachine gun as their primary weapon as it provided light and small automatic fire – essential properties for recon units and commandos.

The goals in creating the Paratroopers Brigade were:

  1. To have an elite infantry force.
  2. To innovate and improve fighting skills within other infantry units.
  3. To raise the next generation of military commanders and officers.

The first commander of the Paratroopers Brigade was Ariel Sharon.

The Paratroopers Brigade has had only one operational combat parachute drop, during the 1956 Sinai War. In the Six Day War (1967) the brigade took part in the capture of Jerusalem, along with the Jerusalem Brigade, Harel Brigade and armored support. The Paratroopers were the ones to capture the Western Wall and the Temple Mount, considered a historic moment and the highlight of the war by the Israeli public due to the sanctity of these places to the Jewish people.

In January 1970, during the War of Attrition, the brigade spearheaded Operation Rhodes, taking over the Egyptian island of Shadwan. Three Israeli soldiers were killed in the raid which saw the paratroops remain on the island for 36 hours before departing with 62 Egyptian POWs and a captured Decca radar set.[1][2]

In the following years, the brigade was the source for many Israeli Chiefs of Staff, including Shaul Mofaz and Moshe Ya'alon.

Structure and Insignia

The 35th (Paratrooper) Brigade consists of three regular battalions, each bearing the name of a venomous snake. The 101st, bearing the number of disbanded Unit 101, is the Brigade's first battalion. The 202nd is the Brigade's second battalion and was numbered to keep it in line with the 101st. The 890th, although the brigade's 3rd battalion, was in fact the IDF's first paratrooper battalion. A Sayeret (Recon/Special Forces Company) designated Sayeret Tzanhanim (Hebrew: סיירת צנחנים‎, Paratroopers Recon) is directly subordinate to the brigade headquarters.

Brigade Structure

Soldiers of the Paratroopers Brigade are distinguished by their red beret, paratrooper wings, reddish-brown leather boots and the paratroopers tunic (Yerkit), which is slightly different in an appearance from the regular infantry outfits.


(Paratrooper units are named after snakes.)

  • 101st "Python" Airborne Battalion
  • 202nd "Viper" Airborne Battalion
  • 890th "Echis" Airborne Battalion
  • "Flying Serpent" Reconnaissance Battalion
    • "Naja" Anti-Tank Company
    • "Coluber" Engineer Company
    • 5173rd "Taipan" Reconnaissance Company
  • "Eryx" Signal Company

See also

External links


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