A well known saying states that: "the clothes make the man". This is especially true with regard to headgear. While in some instances a head covering may serve a practical purpose such as protection from the sun, in many cases it is a reflection of that person's identity, standing or belonging to a certain group. In the past, soldiers wore prominent hats as a way of differentiating friend from foe on the battlefield. This tradition has been perpetuated in a symbolic manner in the modern era.
The Israel Defense Forces dress code developed gradually during its early years, as the color and style of the soldiers' uniforms were designed. Many of the early commanders, who were trained by the British military, assimilated the regulations to which they were accustomed into the IDF. Thus, it was determined that most IDF soldiers would wear olive green berets, while a small number of those in special positions would wear berets of other colors. Members of the air force wore light grey berets, the armor corpsmen received black berets and the paratroopers brigade was awarded the prominent and prestigious red beret.
For many years, women serving in the IDF wore different hats than the men. This was changed as the 21st century approached and all soldiers now wear the same berets, men and women alike.
Over time, the IDF has become more professionalized and developed more organizational specialties. One of the ways in which the military expresses its appreciation for this uniqueness and specialization is through different colored berets, allowing soldiers to demonstrate that they belong to a specific branch or unit. This trend, which began in the mid-1970's, has gained momentum over the years, as the IDF has formed more and more special frameworks.
In 2018, when the IDF celebrates 70 years since it was established, its berets come in an array of 17 different colors. When initially inducted into the IDF, all soldiers receive the olive green beret, which they continue to wear unless integrated into one of the special frameworks. Four of the berets belong to the professional branches of the General Staff and the units under their direct command: the Air Corps – dark grey; the Navy – dark blue; the Home Front Command – orange; C4I & Cyber Defense – cornflower blue. Six of the berets belong to the professional corps and the units they oversee: the Armor Corps – black; the Artillery Corps – turquoise; the Engineering Corps – pale grey; the Intelligence Corps – dark green; the Combat Intelligence Collection Corps – pale yellow; the Military Police Corps – blue. Six additional berets belong to the IDF's brigades and special forces: the Paratroopers Brigade – red; the Golani brigade – brown; the Givati Brigade – purple; the Nahal Brigade – pale green; the Kfir Brigade – camouflage green and brown; the Border Array - camouflage yellow and brown.
The IDF berets stamp series was issued as a special sheet, emphasizing that while there is great diversity within the IDF and it is made up of many unique frameworks and specializations, all of its units make up one cohesive force that works together to defend the State of Israel and its residents.