Your first day in the IDF

The tzav gius (lit. draft notice) is a letter which states your induction date and 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. 

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 first 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 there 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 that station. Afterwards 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 (Lone 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 Mashakit 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.

There are three main uniforms used in the various branches of the IDF:  Madei Aleph lit. class A uniform - this is the uniform that you wear on leave from the base you will recieve them at the Bakum; Madei Bet lit. Class B uniform which is worn into combat, for training and work on base - you will recieve them on your basic training base.  Madei Sharad  a ceremonial uniform worn by officers during special events or ceremonies. 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.  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 the following miscellaneous equipment. 

•A kit bag

•Two towels (medium size)

•Two pairs of army pants, two shirts and one belt

•One Beret

•1 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 them. 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. Once you leave the bakum it is almost impossible to switch your Aleph uniform. So make sure you have the correct size and everything fits properly. If the shirt or pants do not fit properly do not hesitate to ask for a different size. 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.

Once you have gone through all the stations then it is time to see the katzin miun (selection officer). The selection officer will tell you where you will be serving if you do not already know. Once you have met with the selection officer you will wait around and sometimes eat lunch until it is time to ship out to your units base to start basic training.