The Mitznefet – The Israeli Chef’s Hat

If you’ve been paying attention to the Israeli-Hamas conflict, you’ve likely seen what the internet has deemed the Israeli Chef’s hat. The Chef’s hat adorns the helmets of Israeli soldiers, particularly troops that seem to be a bit far from the fighting and typically on various guard duties outside of Gaza. The Chef’s hat actually has a name, and it’s the Mitznefet. It’s nothing new. Israeli forces have worn Mitznefets for years, although a company called Agilite is now producing a modern multicam version of the old-school headwear. 

The History of the Mitznefet 

The name Mitznefet comes from the word that describes a priestly turban or religious-style headdress. The Mitznefet was worn by the High Priest of Israel during his service in the Tabernacle at the Temple of Jerusalem. The priestly turban was larger and differently designed than other religious turbans, and the top was said to resemble a flower. 

The Chef’s hat was adopted by the Israelis in 1994, but the use of similar items predates that. Israeli soldiers had been improvising their own camouflage head wraps for years at this point. They would cut up camouflage netting, burlap sacks, and more to try and break up the telltale shape of a helmet. It’s not exactly an uncommon practice amongst soldiers to utilize some form of camouflage to break up their profile. 

The unofficial head covering eventually became official, and the IDF officially adopted the Mitznefet. This new head covering had a Chef’s hat look that became quite famous amongst Israeli troops. Helmet covers aren’t new, but the Israeli Mitznefet is so oversized compared to most that it’s caught the attention of a number of curious viewers. 

The helmet cover can also be worn without a helmet and helps break up the profile of the wearer while not keeping their bucket in place. Another benefit is that the head cover can be moved from side to side to provide a break in sun exposure. The deserts of Israel are well known for their harsh sunshine. 

The Modern Mitznefet 

The old-school models feature two sides. One is designed to be used in green environments, and the other is for arid desert environments. The older models were replaced in 2013 by tactical gear company Agilite. The new model is a multi-cam design that embraces the modern camouflage of warfare. Multicam is, without a doubt, the most popular camouflage worn today, and it is nearly universal. 


While the covers come out of Israel, they aren’t restricted to just Israel. In fact, they’ve been used in other big wars across the world. Ukraine purchased Mitznefets in 2015 for its soldiers. The two countries have a working relationship. Ukraine purchased some very cool 5.45 Tavors from Israel. Those might be the rarest Tavors out there. 

Polish forces have also purchased small numbers of the Agilite Mitznefet. A similar headdress was worn by Hamas fighters. It seems to be quite popular in that part of the world and must be popular for a reason. 


A lot of the troops in Gaza don’t seem to be wearing them. The urban environments make them a little less handy. Plus, I’d imagine they’d get stuck on nearly everything in an urban environment. 

If you want your own, Agilite will happily sell you one of the more modern Mitznefet here. Personally, I don’t see how well they work with night vision attached to your helmet, but maybe I’m wrong. 

Travis Pike
Travis Pike is a former Marine Machine gunner who served with 2nd Bn 2nd Marines for 5 years. He deployed in 2009 to Afghanistan and again in 2011 with the 22nd MEU(SOC) during a record setting 11 months at sea. He’s trained with the Romanian Army, the Spanish Marines, the Emirate Marines and the Afghan National Army. He serves as an NRA certified pistol instructor and teaches concealed carry classes.