Your first day in the IDF

The tzav gius (lit. draft notice) letter which states your induction date also lists an address in the city where you live (or one close by) where you have to meet. From this location, you will be taken, by bus to the induction center -known as Bakum (An acronym for Basis klita ve miun – lit. Headquarters of absorption and selection) in Hebrew or בקו"ם - at Tel Hashomer, near Tel Aviv. At this army base you will be given your army identification card, your uniforms, get your inoculations bag and a selection of other items. But before this there are a number of other procedures that have to be followed. Bekitzur (In Short) YOUR IN THE ARMY NOW!

You will be directed by a commander where to check in your personal items, before continuing on to the next station. There you will be met by a civilian volunteer who will be happy to serve you and other draftees a snack and drink, before continuing on your way. A short enlistment movie will be screened which explains the procedures, steps and what you can expect. You will be given a page of stickers with your identification details. Each time you report to a particular station, you will present one of these stickers. The data will be captured in the computer. If you do not present the sticker, the system cannot record the information and it will assume that you have not completed the required step. You will have to repeat the process until all your data has been captured correctly.

At the very first station you visit you will be given a cash advance on your monthly salary/stipend.

At the next station, you will be photographed for your ‘choger’ (military ID) this will be your only shot to make a good photo - make it count! X-rays of your teeth will be taken using dental digital panoramic photography for the army’s identification purposes and you will have your fingerprints taken using a digital scanner.

Then you will be led to a computer room where a soldier will verify that all your personal information is correct including your bank details in order to transfer your military salary. If there were any changes or additions, it is here that you can correct the information. You will also be asked to give the name of a person who you authorize to take care of your affairs should anything happen to you. The next step a blood sample will be taken from you for identification during emergencies. Followed by a few vaccines – flu vaccines, Tetanus and Meningitis. TIHEY HAZAK! (Be strong)

After the vaccines a blood sample for a bone marrow pool will be taken. This is performed by an auxiliary organization called Ezer Mitzion.(Help of Zion) And has in the past saved lives!

Next step Dog Tags and Haircut – Everyone receives dog tags. Those in combat jobs will receive an additional 2 disks to place in their boots. If your hair is considered too long for military standards you will be given a haircut free of charge.

Prior to receiving your uniforms, you will be sent to verify that you have completed all the stations according to the computer. If anything is missing, then you will be resent to the station. Here you will receive your 'Teudat Choger' (army ID card). You can also give in your letter confirming that you are a Chayal Boded (if you are eligible) in exchange for your Teudat Chayal Boded (Lonely Soldier card).

Note this card is different from your Teudat Choger. If for some reason they cannot give you your Teudat Chayal Boded, then you will have to keep this letter and present it to you Mashaket Tash (Army social worker) on the base where you are eventually sent.

Once all of the above steps have been completed you will be given your army uniform.

Four different types of uniforms are used in the various branches of the IDF •Service dress - Madei Aleph - מדי אלף or the "Class A" uniform; your everyday uniform, worn by enlisted soldiers. •Field dress - Madei Bet - מדי ב - or the "Class B" uniform; worn into combat, for training and work on base. •Officers / Ceremonial dress - Madei Sharad מדי שרד - a ceremonial uniform worn by officers or during special events or ceremonies. •The are also several Dress uniforms and also a Mess dress. Each corps in the Israel Defense Forces has a beret of a different color and/or a different beret pin worn by its soldiers, independent of rank and position. The beret is placed beneath the left shoulder strap while wearing the service uniform ‘madei aleph’. IDF soldiers wear berets on their heads only on formal occasions. At the Bakum you will be given a brownish green beret. Soldiers earn their units beret after a masa kumta (beret treck) a final trek between 2 – 90 kilometres depending on the unit.

In addition to your uniform you will also receive miscellaneous equipment. You will receive the following:

•A kit bag

•Two towels (medium size)

•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

Make sure that everything fits, especially the boots. If anything is the wrong size or broken, immediately change. Do not be bashful mi she mitbayesh yityabesh! (Whoever is bashful will become dehydrated) Once you are ready and checked, then you will have to sign for the equipment. If something is broken or doesn't fit, you will not be able to change it after signing for it. Important! In the IDF there are no half sizes in shoes. If you wear half sizes then you need to go one size up or down.

Bakum will probably be one of the most aggravating experiences in the IDF – Take it with a smile! We all went through it.

Next you will most likely wait around for a while doing nothing until you finally get shipped up North to mihva Alon TIHYE HAZAK! (Be Strong)