This elite brigade, also known as the 35th brigade is a unit of paratroopers within the Israeli Defense Forces. Service in the Paratroopers (Tzanchanim) is voluntary and any candidate must pass rigorous physical and mental testing before acceptance. The Israeli Army has three reservist Paratrooper brigades ready at any given time, with soldiers who have already served mandatory service in the brigade and who are mostly in their twenties (besides officers).
The goals in creating the Paratrooper Brigade in the mid 1950’s were;
• To have an elite infantry force
• To innovate and improve fighting skills within other infantry units
• To raise the next generation of military commanders and officers.
During the Six Day War in 1967, the Paratroopers Brigade took part in capturing Jerusalem, in conjunction with the Jerusalem and Harel Brigades. They captured the Western Wall and the Temple Mount, one of the highlights of this war, a historic moment for the Jewish People.
The Paratrooper Brigade is formed of three regular battalions, each one with the name of a venomous snake. The Brigade Structure is as follows;
101st “Cobra” Airborne Battalion
202nd “Viper” Airborne Battalion
890th “Echis” Airborne Battalion
“Flying Serpent” Special Troops Battalion
“Naja” Anti-Tank Company
“Coluber” Engineer Company
5173rd “Taipan” Reconnaissance Company
“Eryx” Signal Company
The Tzanchanim have a distinct uniform which is a slightly different color than of the regular ground forces. They wear a maroon beret, paratrooper wings and reddish brown leather boots.