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(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimkski)
The IDF could soon be getting a new look.
The army is considering discarding the colored berets that soldiers have sported for close to six decades and replacing them with mushroom caps, a senior military official said Monday.
Military committees that have yet to grant final approval to the idea support the change because the mushroom caps provide more shade from the fierce Middle Eastern sun, said Lt. Col. Salman Zarka, the top health official in the army.
The proposal has the backing of the army medical corps, which is concerned about preventing sunstroke and sunburn, Zarka said. The military police, which is charged with making sure soldiers wear the berets or have them folded in their epaulettes, also supports the idea. The beret rule is widely ignored.
"We are trying to emphasize that health considerations take precedence over disciplinary matters," Zarka said regarding the beret rule.
The berets, which are not worn in combat, are awarded to recruits on successful completion of their basic training. They are colored red for paratroops, green, brown or purple for other infantry units, gray for combat engineers and black for the artillery and armored corps.
Zarka said he was not sure if mushroom caps, if adopted, would also be color-coded.
Berets were adopted by the IDF at the foundation of the state in 1948, copying those worn by the British troops who had enforced Britain's rule over mandate-period Palestine.