The Palmach

The Palmach, meaning striking force, was established as part of the Haganah on May 19, 1941, due to fears of a German invasion of Palestine. The Palmach is one of the most important organizations in Israeli History. The force originally consisted of eight assault companies: three in the northern Galilee, two in central Galilee, two in southern Galilee, and one in Jerusalem. Like the kibbutz movement, the Palmach promoted the values of mutual responsibility, assistance, sacrifice, and contribution to the greater good.

Yitzhak Sadeh was the first general commander of Palmach.

In fact, Palmach bases were situated on Kibbutzim, so members of the Palmach were responsible for their agricultural tasks as well as for their military training exercises. This social framework created by the Palmach was considered to be the core of the Sabra or native-born Israeli. The Palmach launched pre-emptive strikes into Syrian and Lebanese territory, frequently sending members fluent in Arabic in Arab dresses into Syria and Lebanon to sabotage and scout targets.

It played a central role during the War of Independence, the height of Palmach activity.

The Palmach grew to 12 companies. Palmach leaders included Yigal Allon, Moshe Dayan, Yitzhak Rabin, Haim Bar-Lev, Uzi Narkiss, and Ezer Weizman.

If you are traveling in Israel, you have to see the Palmach museum, located in Tel Aviv.

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