Paratroopers (Tzanhanim)

The Paratroopers Brigade (Hebrew: חֲטִיבַת הַצַּנְחָנִים‎‎, Hativat HaTzanhanim), also known as the 35th Brigade, is an infantry unit. It has a history of carrying out special forces-style missions dating back to the 1950s. It is currently involved primarily in counter terror operations within the West Bank.

The brigade was created at the mid 1950s when the commando Unit 101 was merged with Battalion 890 (the IDF's Airborne Commando unit) in order to form an elite infantry brigade. The new unit was equipped with the IMI Uzi submachine guns 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 Paratroopers Brigade has fought in every Israeli War. Ironicaly they have 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 theTemple Mount, considered an historic moment and the highlight of the war by the Israeli public due to the sanctity of these places to the Jewish people.

TheBrigade has 4 battalions (all the battalions are named after poisonous snakes)

890 (shmona meot teshim) "Echis" Airborne Battalion

101 (meah ve echad)"Cobra" Airborne Battalion

202 (matayem ve shtayem) "Viper" Airborne Battalion

"Flying Serpent" Special Forces battalion: GadSar lit. Gdud Siur (Reconnaissance Battalion)
Soldiers wishing to serve in this elite battalion must pass a three-day gibush which takes place the first week of the unit’s basic training. Those that are accepted are reassigned into one of the specialized training programs of the three companies that make up the battalion: the Palsar i.e. Plugat Siur (Reconnaissance Company), which is generally considered to be the most elite company of the Special Forces, the Palnat i.e. Plugat Nun Tet (Anti-Tank Company), the Palhan i.e. Plugat Handasah (Engineering and Explosives Company) and Palchik i.e. plugat kishur (communications). The task of the battalion is to serve as a pathfinder force for the regiment, and to conduct special operations in accordance with each company's unique abilities. In the current low intensity conflict, the companies usually act as counter-terrorist forces, raiding terrorist homes and hideouts. Special Forces do not guard like the regular unit rather only performs missions

"Naja"(orev tzanchanim) - Anti-Tank Company

"Coluber(chan tzanchanim) - Exposives

"Taipan"(pulsar tzanchanim) - Reconaissance

"Eryx(palchik) - Communications

In addition to the Gadsar one can enter the prestigious Duvdevan and Maglon units through the Gadsar gibush for tzanchanim.

Acceptance to Tzanchanim

Medical Profile 
Profile combat (82 and over) 

Length of Length of service required for Machal
14 months (Special Forces 2.5 years)

A few days after arrival to the division's training base, one can tryout for Special Forces including Duvdevan and Maglon.
Basic training includes 4 months of basic training class 05 rifleman and two months of advanced training class 07 rifleman. Basic training focuses on the principles and foundations of the rifleman with unique emphasis on individual training.Basic training takes place at the Tzanchanim training center in the Jordan Valley. The course takes the recruit through marksman classes, basic field navigations training, open space warfare training, helicopter deployment training, special weapons and physical fitness training,krav maga as well as general education classesAdvanced training lasts an additional 3 months and is conducted in the field for the most part. Through 13 weeks of training the recruit goes through close quarters battle training, guerrilla warfare, hummer training, APC training, grenade training and of course parachute training. Throughout training, the recruits begin to take part in some of the regular security tasks around the brigade's bases and throughout Israel's borders. At the end of advanced training the men qualify as class 07 riflemen. At this point of the training long marching exercises are a part of the norm and in advanced training the terrain becomes evermore engaging and challenging. Being an airborne brigade, Joint military exercises between the brigade and the IAFare also held. Close quarter training takes place over a week spent mostly in the field practicing breaching techniques.

The prestigious jumping course takes place over two weeks at the Idf's special skills school. The course begins with ground exercises and preparation jumps. Recruits must complete 5 successful jumps on the last day of the course in order to graduate. The jumps are conducted at an altitude of 400 meters, allowing for 50 seconds of drift time in the face of a breathtaking view. At the end of the course the graduates are awarded the parachute wings pin. Advanced training ends with a fully equipped 90 kilometer march after which the graduates are awarded their red berets. The march begins at Tel Nof and ends at "Givat Hatahmoshet" in Jerusalem with a festive ceremony held with the graduate's families and other honored guests.

After completing advanced training, soldiers join the various battalions to continue training and tour of duty.. 

Tour of Duty
Tour of duty includes counter-terror operations, arrests of Palestinian militants, patrols, manning checkpoints and regular security activities.

Area of Tour of Duty
Lebanon Border, Shcem, Gaza


M4 Carbine

"Initiate, Lead, Make an Example and Win" 

Theme song
“Col hazman tzanchan”” Always a tzanchan 


Red and White 



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 from the regular ground forces service dress.