FANDOM

250,665 Pages

Aluf (Hebrew: אלוף‎, lit. "champion") is the term used in the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) for officers who in other countries would have the rank of general, air marshal, or admiral. In addition to the aluf rank itself, there are four other ranks which are derivatives of the word. Together, they constitute the five highest ranks in the IDF.

EtymologyEdit

The term aluf is taken from the Bible, where it was a rank of nobility among the Edomites. It comes from a Semitic root meaning "thousand" making an "aluf" the one who commands a thousand people.

Rank order of aluf and its derivativesEdit

The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) is an integrated force, ranks are the same in all services. It has a slightly compacted rank structure; for instance, the Chief of Staff (Ramatkal) is seemingly only equivalent to a lieutenant general (NATO OF-8) in other militaries. Rav aluf means 'arch-general', which would be equal to a field marshal or five star general in other armies and equivalent to OF-10.

Israel Defense Forces ranks: קצינים בכירים senior officers or field grade officers
IDF NCO
Rank
רב סרן
Rav seren
סגן-אלוף
Sgan aluf
אלוף משנה
Aluf mishne
תת-אלוף
Tat aluf
אלוף
Aluf
רב-אלוף
Rav aluf
NATO OF-4OF-5OF-6OF-7-OF-8OF-8-OF-9OF-9-OF-10
Abbreviationרס"ן
Rasan
סא"ל
Sa'al
אל"מ
Alam
תא"ל
Ta'al
אלוף
Aluf
רא"ל
Ra'al
Corresponding
Rank
MajorLieutenant colonelColonel or brigadierBrigadier generalMajor generalLieutenant general
InsigniaIDF rav serenIDF sgan alufIDF aluf mishneIDF tat alufIDF alufIDF rav aluf
More details at Israel Defense Forces ranks & IDF 2012 - Ranks (idf.il, english)

Rav aluf is usually translated as "lieutenant general", although it is the most senior rank in the IDF. The rank is given only to the Chief of General Staff (Ramatkal), so there can only be one active rav aluf under regular circumstances. However this could change in a time of war. During the Yom Kippur War in 1973, retired Rav Aluf Haim Bar-Lev was called back into service, replacing Shmuel Gonen as the commander of the southern theater. Thus, along with chief of the general staff David Elazar (who succeeded Bar-Lev in that position the previous year), there were two people in active service holding the rank of rav aluf simultaneously.

Israel is essentially a land and air power, with the navy receiving less than five percent of the military budget. The three forces have the same ranks, although separate naval ranks were used for a short time in the 1950s; an officer who would be a general, air marshal, or admiral elsewhere is an aluf in any of the Israeli forces.

The non-Hebrew word "general" was also adopted into Hebrew (גנרל), and is used to refer to the generals of foreign armies. It can also be used colloquially in reference to a senior Israeli officer, in a derogatory sense implying that the officer in question is over-officious, incompetent, or involved in internecine power struggles with other officers, sometimes referred to as the "war of the generals" (Hebrew: "מלחמת הגנרלים"‎), to the neglect of proper military duties. For example, in a speech made by the former Israeli Labor Party chairman Amir Peretz, he criticized two other party members who both hold the rank of (retired) aluf: former Vice-Chief of General Staff, Aluf Matan Vilnai and former Commander of the Israeli Navy, Aluf Ami Ayalon, referring to them (and other former senior officers of the IDF) as "the generals and admirals":

"I look around me, and hear the voices, I look and I don't believe. Whenever a party does not win the status of a ruling party, the most respectable post is the Defense Ministry. And I hear the generals, and the admirals say: 'Why the Defense Ministry?' I hear the voices, and I am happy with myself, because this means we succeeded in changing the agenda in the State of Israel. The revolution is that a social general is no longer ruled out from being a minister of defense, and our generals yearn to deal with social issues."

See alsoEdit

This page uses Creative Commons Licensed content from Wikipedia (view authors).
Community content is available under CC-BY-SA unless otherwise noted.