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Encyclopedia > Palmach
Palmach

Palmach badge
Active 1941-1948
Country Israel
Type Strike force
Part of Haganah
Motto "Always at your command"
"לפקודה תמיד אנחנו"
Commanders
Notable
commanders
Yigal Allon, Yitzhak Sadeh,
Yitzhak Rabin, Moshe Dayan

The Palmach (Hebrew: פלמ"ח, an acronym for Plugot Mahatz (Hebrew: פלוגות מחץ), Strike Companies) was the regular fighting force of the Haganah, the unofficial army of the Yishuv (Jewish community) during the British Mandate of Palestine. It was established on May 15, 1941 and by the war of 1948 had grown to three fighting brigades and auxiliary aerial, naval and intelligence units. Being a Palmachnik (Palmach member) was considered not only as performing military duties, but also as a way of life. Significant leaders of the Palmach include Moshe Dayan, Yitzhak Sadeh, Yigal Allon and Yitzhak Rabin a future prime minister. Image File history File links Palmach. ... Haganah Poster (1940s) The Haganah (Hebrew: The Defense, ×”×”×’× ×”) was a Jewish paramilitary organization in what was then the British Mandate for Palestine from 1920 to 1948. ... Yigal Allon (Hebrew: ; October 10, 1918- February 29, 1980) was an Israeli Labour Party statesman. ... Yitzhak Sadeh, (1890-1952), was the commander of the Palmach and one of the founders of the Israel Defense Forces at the time of the independence of the State of Israel. ... For other people named Rabin, see Rabin (disambiguation). ... Moshe Dayan Moshe Dayan, DSO (Hebrew: משה דיין) (May 20, 1915 – October 16, 1981), was an Israeli military leader and politician. ... Hebrew redirects here. ... Haganah Poster (1940s) The Haganah (Hebrew: The Defense, ×”×”×’× ×”) was a Jewish paramilitary organization in what was then the British Mandate for Palestine from 1920 to 1948. ... Yishuv is a Hebrew word meaning settlement. ... Map of the territory under the British Mandate of Palestine. ... May 15 is the 135th day of the year in the Gregorian Calendar (136th in leap years). ... For the movie, see 1941 (film). ... Year 1948 (MCMXLVIII) was a leap year starting on Thursday (the link is to a full 1948 calendar). ... In military science a brigade is a military unit that is part of a division and includes regiments (where that level exists), or (in modern armies) is composed of several battalions (typically two to four) and directly attached supporting units. ... Moshe Dayan Moshe Dayan, DSO (Hebrew: משה דיין) (May 20, 1915 – October 16, 1981), was an Israeli military leader and politician. ... Yitzhak Sadeh, (1890-1952), was the commander of the Palmach and one of the founders of the Israel Defense Forces at the time of the independence of the State of Israel. ... Yigal Allon (Hebrew: ; October 10, 1918- February 29, 1980) was an Israeli Labour Party statesman. ... For other people named Rabin, see Rabin (disambiguation). ...


The Palmach contributed significantly to Israeli culture and ethos, well beyond its undoubtable military contribution. Its members formed the backbone of the Israel Defense Forces high command for many years, and were prominent in Israeli politics, literature and culture. The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) (Hebrew: ‎  , [Army] Force for the Defense of Israel), often abbreviated with the Hebrew acronym צהל Tsahal, alternative English spelling Tzahal, is the name of Israels military forces, comprising the Israeli Army, the Israeli Air Force and the Israeli Sea Corps. ...

Contents

History

The Palmach was established by the British military and Haganah on May 15, 1941 to help the British protect Palestine from the Nazi German threat. They were also to assist Allied forces with the planned invasion of Syria and Lebanon, then held by Vichy French forces. British experts trained the Palmach special soldiers and equipped them with small arms and explosives. However, after the Allied victory at the Second Battle of El Alamein in 1943, the British ordered the dismantling of Palmach. Instead the whole organisation went underground. The armed forces of the United Kingdom are known as the British Armed Forces or Her Majestys Armed Forces, officially the Armed Forces of the Crown. ... Haganah Poster (1940s) The Haganah (Hebrew: The Defense, ×”×”×’× ×”) was a Jewish paramilitary organization in what was then the British Mandate for Palestine from 1920 to 1948. ... May 15 is the 135th day of the year in the Gregorian Calendar (136th in leap years). ... For the movie, see 1941 (film). ... National Socialism redirects here. ... The Allies of World War II were the countries officially opposed to the Axis Powers during the Second World War. ... Vichy France (French: now called Régime de Vichy or Vichy; called itself at the time État Français, or French State) was the French state of 1940-1944 which was a puppet government under Nazi influence, as opposed to the Free French Forces, based first in London and later... Combatants British 8th Army German Panzer Army Africa Commanders Bernard Montgomery Erwin Rommel Strength 250,000 men 1,030 tanks 900 guns 530 aircraft 90,000 men 500 tanks 500 guns 350 aircraft Casualties 13,500 dead and wounded 13,000 dead 46,000 wounded or captured The Second Battle... 1943 (MCMXLIII) was a common year starting on Friday (the link is to a full 1943 calendar). ...


Since British funding had stopped, Yitzhak Tabenkin, head of the Kibbutzim union suggested Palmach could be self-funding by letting the warriors work in the Kibbutzim. Each Kibbutz would host a Palmach platoon and supply them with food, homes and resources. In return the platoon would safeguard the kibbutz and carry out work such as agricultural work. The proposal was accepted in August 1942, when it was also decided that each month Palmach members would have eight training days, 14 work days and seven days off. Kibbutz Dan, near Qiryat Shemona, in the Upper Galilee, 1990s A kibbutz (Hebrew: קיבוץ; plural: kibbutzim: קיבוצים, gathering or together) is an Israeli collective intentional community. ...


Combining military training with agricultural work meant:

  1. Maintenance of an independent, easily mobilised military force.
  2. A force in which members' labour funded 80% of Palmach's budget. Money from Haganah was dedicated to weapons and training.
  3. The force would be hard to track down.
  4. Easier recruitment of people from Kibbutzim and Moshavim.
  5. The creation of groups of settlers, who could form the base for future settlements.
  6. Education of soldiers in Zionist values.

The program of combined military training, agricultural work and Zionist education was called "Ach'shara Meguyeset" הכשרה מגויסת (meaning "DraftedRecruited Training"). A bilingual poster in Romanian and Hungarian promoting a film about Jewish settlement in Palestine, 1930s. ...


Later on, it was agreed with the Zionist youth movements that each person from the ages of 18-20 ("Gar'een" meaning "nucleus" or "kernel" in Hebrew) would undergo training. This was the base for the Nahal settlements. The training enabled Palmach to expand its numbers and recruit more people to its lines. To meet Wikipedias quality standards, this article or section may require cleanup. ... To meet Wikipedias quality standards, this article or section may require cleanup. ...


Basic training included physical fitness, small arms, mêlée and Kapap, basic marine training, topography, first aid, and squad operations. Most of the Palmach members received advance training in one or more of the following areas: sabotage and explosives, reconnaissance, sniping, communications and radio, light and medium machine guns and operating 2 inch and 3 inch mortars. Platoon training included long marches, combined live-fire drills with artillery support and machine guns and mortars. Small arms captured in Fallujah, Iraq by the US Marine Corps in 2004 The term small arms generally describes any number of smaller infantry weapons, such as firearms that an individual soldier can carry. ... Mêlée generally refers to disorganized hand-to-hand combat involving a group of fighters. ... It has been suggested that this article or section be merged with Krav Maga. ... It has been suggested that Geomorphometry be merged into this article or section. ... German supply train blown up by the Armia Krajowa during World War II Sabotage is a deliberate action aimed at weakening an enemy, oppressor or employer through subversion, obstruction, disruption, and/or destruction. ... This article is concerned solely with chemical explosives. ... Mixed reconnaissance patrol of the Polish Home Army and the Soviet Red Army during Operation Tempest, 1944 Reconnaissance is the military term for the active gathering of information about an enemy, or other conditions, by physical observation. ... Arkansas Army National Guard soldiers practice sniper marksmanship at their firing range near Baghdad, Iraq on February 15, 2005. ... A machine gun is a fully-automatic firearm that is capable of firing bullets in rapid succession. ... US soldier loading a M224 60-mm mortar. ...


Palmach put emphasis on training independent and broadminded field commanders who would take the initiative and set an example for their troops. Palmach trained squad commanders and company commanders. The major commanders training course was in the Palmach and many Haganah commanders were sent to be trained in the Palmach. The Palmach commanders' course was the source for many field commanders which were the backbone of Haganah, and later, the Israeli Defense Forces. The Palmach (Hebrew: פלמח, an acronym for Plugot Mahatz (Hebrew: פלוגות מחץ), Strike Companies) was the regular fighting force of the Haganah, the unofficial army of the Yishuv (Jewish community) during the British Mandate of Palestine. ... Haganah Poster (1940s) The Haganah (Hebrew: The Defense, ×”×”×’× ×”) was a Jewish paramilitary organization in what was then the British Mandate for Palestine from 1920 to 1948. ... Haganah Poster (1940s) The Haganah (Hebrew: The Defense, ×”×”×’× ×”) was a Jewish paramilitary organization in what was then the British Mandate for Palestine from 1920 to 1948. ... The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) (Hebrew: צבא ההגנה לישראל Tsva Ha-Haganah Le-Yisrael ([Army] Force [for] the Defense of Israel), often abbreviated צהל Tsahal, alternative English spelling Tzahal, is the name of Israels armed forces...


Between 1945 and 1946, Palmach units carried out attacks against British infrastructure such as bridges, railways, radar stations and police stations. Such activities ceased, however, after "Black Sabbath" (June 29, 1946), when British forces carried out mass arrests of Palmach and Hagannah leaders. Year 1945 (MCMXLV) was a common year starting on Monday (the link is to a full 1945 calendar). ... 1946 (MCMXLVI) was a common year starting on Tuesday. ... A log bridge in the French Alps near Vallorcine. ... This long range Radar antenna, known as ALTAIR, is used to detect and track space objects in conjunction with ABM testing at the Ronald Reagan Test Site on the Kwajalein atoll[1]. Radar is a system that uses radio waves to determine and map the location, direction, and/or speed... June 29 is the 180th day of the year (181st in leap years) in the Gregorian Calendar, with 185 days remaining. ... 1946 (MCMXLVI) was a common year starting on Tuesday. ...


Palmach units took a major part in the 1948 Arab-Israeli war. At the beginning of the war, Palmach units were responsible for holding Jewish settlements (such as Gush Etzion, Kfar Darom and Revivim) against Arab militias. Although inferior in numbers and arms, Palmach soldiers held out long enough to let Haganah mobilise the Jewish population and prepare for war. Combatants Egypt Syria Transjordan  Lebanon Saudi Arabia Iraq Holy War Army Arab Liberation Army  Israel Commanders Glubb Pasha Abd al-Qadir al-Husayni† Hasan Salama† Fawzi al-Qawuqji Yaakov Dori Yigael Yadin Strength Egypt: 10,000 initially rising to 20,000 Iraq: 5,000 initially rising to 15,000–18... Tunnel to Gush Etzion Gush Etzion (Hebrew גוש עציון, literally bloc of the tree) is a group of Israeli settlements in the northern Judea region of the West Bank. ... To meet Wikipedias quality standards, this article or section may require cleanup. ... Revivim is a kibbutz founded in 1943 in the Negev in southern Israel. ... Haganah Poster (1940s) The Haganah (Hebrew: The Defense, ×”×”×’× ×”) was a Jewish paramilitary organization in what was then the British Mandate for Palestine from 1920 to 1948. ...


After the establishment of the Israeli Defence Forces, the Palmach was dissolved into two IDF brigades - the Negev Brigade and Yiftach Brigade. The Negev and Yiftah Brigade fought in the Negev against the Egyptian army and managed to stop them and later to repulse them into the Gaza Strip and Sharm El Sheikh. Yiftah Brigade later was transferred to the north. The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) (Hebrew: צבא ההגנה לישראל Tsva Ha-Haganah Le-Yisrael ([Army] Force [for] the Defense of Israel), often abbreviated צהל Tsahal, alternative English spelling Tzahal, is the name of Israels armed forces... The Negev Brigade (aka. ... The Yiftach Brigade (aka. ... Ruins in the Negev desert The Negev (Hebrew נֶגֶב;, Tiberian Hebrew Néḡeḇ; Arabic النقب an-Naqab) is the desert region of southern Israel. ... Sharm el-Sheikh is a city situated on the southern tip of the Sinai Peninsula in Egypt, on the coastal strip between the Red Sea and Mount Sinai. ...


Military organisation

The Palmach was organised into regular companies (six in 1943), and five or six special units. 1943 (MCMXLIII) was a common year starting on Friday (the link is to a full 1943 calendar). ...


Palmach special units included:

  • Ha-Machlaka Ha-Germanit: the "German Department", it performed covert operations and sabotage operations against Nazi infrastructure in the Middle East and the Balkans.
  • Ha-Machlaka Ha-Aravit: the "Arab Department", it performed covert operations and espionage missions against Arab militias, which frequently attacked Jewish settlements. It was the base for the Israeli Defense Forces's and the Border Police's "Mistaarim" units.
  • Pal-Yam: the sea force of the Palmach, The Pal-Yam main activity was Ha'apala העפלה - the bringing of Jewish refugees from Europe by ships, despite the British White Paper of 1939 which limited Jewish immigration into Palestine. Later the Pal-Yam became the Israeli Navy.
  • Sabotage Units: explosive experts became the basis for the Israeli Engineering Corps in the IDF.
  • The Air Force: made up of Jewish pilots, trained by the British, the Palmach air force was the basis for the Israeli Air Force. Until late 1948, they did not have any aircraft, but later obtained light aircraft for scouting operations.

The Palmach put emphasis on training field commanders (מפקדי שטח) and they became the basis for the Israeli army. National Socialism redirects here. ... A map showing countries commonly considered to be part of the Middle East The Middle East is a region comprising the lands around the southern and eastern parts of the Mediterranean Sea, a territory that extends from the eastern Mediterranean Sea to the Persian Gulf. ... This article or section does not adequately cite its references or sources. ... The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) (Hebrew: צבא ההגנה לישראל Tsva Ha-Haganah Le-Yisrael ([Army] Force [for] the Defense of Israel), often abbreviated צהל Tsahal, alternative English spelling Tzahal, is the name of Israels armed forces... The Israel Border Police (Hebrew: משמר הגבול, Mishmar HaGvul) is the combat branch of the Israeli Police. ... Haapala (literally rising in Hebrew) was the organized effort to help Jews escape post-Holocaust Europe for the British Mandate of Palestine. ... This article is 150 kilobytes or more in size. ... The White Paper of 1939, also known as the MacDonald White Paper after Malcolm MacDonald, the British Colonial Secretary who presided over it, was a policy paper issued by the British government under Neville Chamberlain in which the idea of partitioning the British Mandate of Palestine was abandoned in favour... The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) (Hebrew: צבא ההגנה לישראל Tsva Ha-Haganah Le-Yisrael ([Army] Force [for] the Defense of Israel), often abbreviated צהל Tsahal, alternative English spelling Tzahal, is the name of Israels armed forces... The Israeli Engineering Corps are the combat engineering forces of צהל - the Israeli Defence Forces. ... Official shield of the IAF The Israeli Air Force (IAF; Hebrew: זרוע האויר והחלל, Zroa HaAvir VeHaḤalal, Air and Space Division) is the air force of the Israel Defense Forces. ... Year 1948 (MCMXLVIII) was a leap year starting on Thursday (the link is to a full 1948 calendar). ...


The legendary battlecry of the Palmach commander was "!אחרי" (Aharay), which literally means "follow me!". While in most armies the battlecry was "Charge!", the Hebrew commander led his troops instead of sending them out and staying behind. A battle cry is a yell or chant taken up in battle, usually by members of the same military unit. ...


The Palmach in Politics and Culture

The Palmach was a left-wing organisation, associated with left-wing parties. Its members trained and lived in Kibbutzim, which were generally left-sympathetic. The political tendencies of its leaders such as Yigal Allon and Yitzhak Sadeh, was towards Mapam a left-wing party in opposition to David Ben-Gurion and the Mapai ruling party. Those tendencies caused Ben-Gurion to order the dissolving of Palmach in 1948. Kibbutz Dan, near Qiryat Shemona, in the Upper Galilee, 1990s A kibbutz (Hebrew: קיבוץ; plural: kibbutzim: קיבוצים, gathering or together) is an Israeli collective intentional community. ... Yigal Allon (Hebrew: ; October 10, 1918- February 29, 1980) was an Israeli Labour Party statesman. ... Yitzhak Sadeh, (1890-1952), was the commander of the Palmach and one of the founders of the Israel Defense Forces at the time of the independence of the State of Israel. ... Mapam - United Workers Party (in Hebrew: מפם - מפלגת פועלים מאוחדת Mifleget Poalim Meuhedet) was initially a Marxist-Zionist party. ... This article or section does not cite its references or sources. ... Labour (העבודה HaAvoda) is an Israeli political party. ... Year 1948 (MCMXLVIII) was a leap year starting on Thursday (the link is to a full 1948 calendar). ...


Palmach members were not, however, a unified, homogeneous collective with a single ideology. In the early years of the state of Israel they could be found in all political parties.


Yigal Allon, considered by many to be the representative of the Palmach generation, never properly reached a position of national leadership, although he was Prime Minister for a few days between Eshkol's death and Meir's appointment in 1969. He died in 1980. â–¶(?) (Hebrew לֵוִי אֶשְׁכּוֹל ) (Born Levi Skolnick) (Hebrew לֵוִי שְׁקוֹלְנִיק) (October 25, 1895 - February 26, 1969), was the third Prime Minister of Israel from 1963 until his death of a heart attack in 1969. ... Golda Meir is the best person in the world(Hebrew:  , born Golda Mabovitz, May 3, 1898, died December 8, 1978, also known as Golda Myerson) was one of the founders of the State of Israel. ... For the Stargate SG-1 episode, see 1969 (Stargate SG-1). ...


The best known Palmachnik in Israeli politics was Yitzchak Rabin of the Israeli Labour party. Others included Moshe Dayan, Chaim Bar-Lev and Mordechai Gur. Moshe Dayan Moshe Dayan, DSO (Hebrew: משה דיין) (May 20, 1915 – October 16, 1981), was an Israeli military leader and politician. ... Chaim Kidoni Bar-Lev (November 16, 1924 - May 7, 1994) was a Jewish army officer during Israels pre-state and early statehood eras. ... Mordechai (Mote) Gur (May 6, 1930 - July 16, 1995) was an Israeli politician and the Israeli Defense Forces 10th Chief of Staff. ...


Palmachniks can be found everywhere in Israeli politics. Besides left-wing activists such as Mattityahu Peled, Yair Tsaban and Shulamit Aloni, Palmach veterans include Israeli nationalists such as Rehavam Zeevi and Rafael Eitan. Mattityahu (Matti) Peled (1923-1995) was a well-known Israeli public figure who was at various periods of his life a professional military man who reached the rank of Major General in the IDF and was a member of the General Staff during the Six Day War of 1967; a... Shulamit Aloni (born November 29, 1928) is a human rights activist, lawyer and former Israeli politician. ... Rehavam Zeevi (רחבעם זאבי-גנדי) (June 20, 1926 - October 17, 2001) was an Israeli general, politician and historian who founded the right-wing nationalist Moledet party. ... Rafael Eitan (Hebrew: רפאל איתן) (January 11, 1929 – November 23, 2004) was an Israeli general, former Chief of Staff of the Israeli Defence Forces and later a politician, a Knesset member, and Minister of Agriculture. ...


Besides military contributions, the Palmach had great influence over the Israeli "Tzabar" culture. Palmach activities included "Kumzitz" (sitting around a fire at night, eating, talking and having fun), public singing and cross-country walking trips. These often took on mythical proportions and have become favorite activities for Israelis.


The Palmach also contributed many anecdotes, jokes, "chizbat" (short funny tales, often based on exaggerations), songs and even books and stories.


Notable Palmach cultural figures include:

  • Netiva Ben Yehuda - journalist, writer, radio host
  • Shoshana Damari - singer
  • Haim Hefer - poet, writer
  • Haim Guri - poet, writer
  • Naomi Polani - singer, actor
  • Moshe Shamir - writer, playwright
  • Hannah Szenes (Senesh) - poet
  • Dahn Ben Amotz - writer, journalist
  • Shayke Ofir - actor
  • Zohara Levitov - Diarist
  • Alex Braverman - Sculptor

Shoshana Damari (1923 - February 14, 2006) was an Israeli singer and actress. ... Haim Gouri (1923-) is an Israeli poet, novelist, journalist, and documentary filmmaker born in Tel Aviv and currently living in Jerusalem. ... Moshe Shamir (September 15, 1921–August 20, 2004) was an Israeli author, playwright, opinion writer, and public figure. ... Hannah Szenes Hannah Szenes (or Chana Senesh) (July 17, 1921 — November 7, 1944) was a Hungarian Jew, one of 17 Jews living in what was then the British Mandate of Palestine, now Israel, who were trained by the British army to parachute into Yugoslavia during the Second World War in...

Notable Palmachniks

  • High command:
    • Eliyahu Golumb - general commander of Haganah
    • Yitzhak Sadeh - general commander of Palmach
    • Giora Shanan - lieutenant general commander of the Palmach
    • David Nammeri - lieutenant general commander of the Palmach
    • Yohanan Retner - strategy officer
    • Moshe Bar-Tikva - training officer
    • Yitzhak Rabin
  • Special units commanders:
    • Shimon Koch Avidan - commander of the "German Department"
    • Israel Ben-Yehuda - commander of the "Arab Department"
    • Yigal Allon - commander of the "Syrian Department"
  • Companies commanders (as for 1943):
    • Yigal Allon, Zalman Mars - Pluga Aleph commanders
    • Moshe Dayan, Meir Davidson, Uri Brener - Pluga Beth commanders
    • Uri Yafeh - Pluga Gimel commander
    • Benjamin Goldstein Tzur - Pluga Dalet commander
    • Abraham Negev - Pluga Hey commander
    • Israel Livertovski, Shinon Koch Avidan - Pluga Vav commander

Haganah Poster (1940s) The Haganah (Hebrew: The Defense, ההגנה) was a Jewish paramilitary organization in what was then the British Mandate for Palestine from 1920 to 1948. ... Yitzhak Sadeh, (1890-1952), was the commander of the Palmach and one of the founders of the Israel Defense Forces at the time of the independence of the State of Israel. ... For other people named Rabin, see Rabin (disambiguation). ... Yigal Allon (Hebrew: ; October 10, 1918- February 29, 1980) was an Israeli Labour Party statesman. ... A company is a military unit, typically consisting of 100-200 soldiers. ... 1943 (MCMXLIII) was a common year starting on Friday (the link is to a full 1943 calendar). ... Yigal Allon (Hebrew: ; October 10, 1918- February 29, 1980) was an Israeli Labour Party statesman. ... Moshe Dayan Moshe Dayan, DSO (Hebrew: משה דיין) (May 20, 1915 – October 16, 1981), was an Israeli military leader and politician. ...

External links

  • Official Website of the Palmach

Bibliography

  • "The Palmach - Its Warriors and Operation" by Uri Brener, special edition for Palmach national convention, 1978
  • Library of Congress (U.S.) subject tracings


  Results from FactBites:
 
1941-PalmachFormed (223 words)
The Palmach was formed to be the first standing army of the Haganah -- an elite force, able to provide force when necessary.
Against the background of a possible German invasion of Palestine on May 16, 1941, the Palmach was created to establish an elite ready reserve for the Haganah.
Between 1941 and 1943, there was close cooperation between the Palmach and the British, with the British using Palmach units for behind-the-lines assaults in Vichy-dominated Lebanon and Syria.
Palmach - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (1421 words)
The Palmach (in Hebrew - " פלמ"ח ") was the regular fighting force of the Haganah (the underground army of Jewish settlers during the British Mandate of Palestine).
The Palmach (Hebrew abbreviation of "Plugot Mahatz פלוגות מחץ" - in English strike force) were the regular fighting forces of the Yishuv (Jewish settlement) in Palestine prior to the establishment of state of Israel.
The Palmach commanders' course, commanders' reputation and values were embedded into the Israeli Defence Forces and their legacy is alive even today, in the current generation of IDF field commanders.
  More results at FactBites »

 
 

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