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IDFJoining the I.D.F: What to Bring from Home?

Joining the I.D.F: What to Bring from Home?

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Last Updated on November 13, 2021

Serving in the Israel Defense Force – The IDF

Make your life easier and bring these items from home

Hebrew: שירות צבאי – צה”ל

serving in the idf
Soldiers in the IDF (Image credit: Unsplash)

One of the biggest steps your olim children will take, is joining the IDF.  Doing their utmost to get into a good unit and to achieve, can be very stressful.

The new recruit will be taken to “Bakum” – where he/she will processed and receive their kit.

These items will be issued to the new recruit on induction day:

Army Issue

  • A kit bag
  • Two towels (medium size)
  • Three pairs of underwear, three undershirts (white) and five pairs of socks (gray)
  • Three pair of army pants, shirts and one belt
  • One beret
  • 2 pair of boots
  • A bag full of miscellaneous equipment
  • One sweater
  • One winter jacket

Very basic indeed!

The Ministry of Aliyah and Integration recommends that new recruits bring the following items from home:

  • A personal and basic first aid kit; band-aids, mosquito repellent, personal medications.  Please note that the IDF is completely responsible for your health and welfare during the time you are serving in the army.  Any medication you may need, even a headache pill, has to be taken with their full knowledge and consent.
  • Plastic bags to organize and separate your clothes and equipment and also for dirty laundry
  • A length of elastic – about one meter long.  You may need this to keep your spectacles on your head or to use as a garter on your socks or to hold up your pant leg.
  • A multi-purpose pocket knife
  • Razor blades, matches and candles
  • Observant male soldiers; Siddur, Talit and Tefillin
  • Waterproof pen and a laundry marker
  • Length of strong cord to use as a clothes line, for tying up blankets and bedding etc.
  • Small flashlight
  • Some toilet paper (5 rolls is recommended)
  • Small screwdriver and an old toothbrush for cleaning your weapon
  • A lock to lock your kit bag
  • Laundry soap
  • Shoe polish
  • Safety pins
  • Shower sandals
  • Extra grey socks, shoelaces and underwear
  • Toiletries
  • Electrical tape
  • A sheet
  • Your own towel

Veteran soldiers have added to this list and recommend:

  • Ear plugs
  • Extra socks
  • Extra underwear
  • Vests and long-johns (for the winter)
  • Clothes for sleeping in
  • Basic sewing kit
  • Lip balm
  • A basic watch
  • Talcum powder
  • Balm to rub into tight, stiff muscles
  • Anti-chafing balm
  • Suntan lotion
  • Five and ten shekel coins for the vending machines.
  • A key ring
  • Contact adhesive and super-glue
  • Writing paper, envelopes and a pen
  • Your mobile phone, battery and charger
  • Your contact lenses, your prescription spectacles and a spare pair.  Leave your sunglasses at home.

An Olah’s personal experience in the IDF


It seemed to me that I would need more than the standard army issue so my parents agree to buy all the extras.  There were some things I never used and others items I bought at a later stage for my personal comfort.  My parents spent over 1,000 shekels on all the extras which included a large suitcase on wheels (which they now use to go abroad).  During my army service I spent (or should I say my parents spent) a lot of extra money on food.  The food at our base was awful.  The girls I shared a room with, all clubbed in and we bought a small fridge and brought food items from home.  We cooked and ate together and it was all part of the army experience (chavaya).  My army pay was a little over 500 shekels a month.  After I was discharged in 2015, I heard that soldiers were expected to get a 50 percent pay rise at the beginning of 2016.  That’s a good thing – pity it took so long, we could have used the extra income too.  Without my parent’s financial help during my 2 year service which included extra pocket money, money for food and some transport expenses, I would not have managed.

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