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|Disbanded||May 28, 1948|
|Country||Yishuv, Mandatory Palestine, Israel|
|Type|| Paramilitary (pre-independence) |
Unified armed forces (post-independence)
|Role||Defense of Jewish settlements (pre-independence)|
|Engagements|| 1929 Palestine riots |
Arab Revolt in Palestine
World War II
Jewish Revolt in Palestine
Palestine Civil War
1948 Arab–Israeli War (for two weeks)
Haganah (Hebrew : הַהֲגָנָה, lit. The Defence) was a Jewish paramilitary organization in the British Mandate of Palestine (1921–48), which became the core of the Israel Defense Forces (IDF).
Hebrew is a Northwest Semitic language native to Israel; the modern version of which is spoken by over 9 million people worldwide. Historically, it is regarded as the language of the Israelites and their ancestors, although the language was not referred to by the name Hebrew in the Tanakh. The earliest examples of written Paleo-Hebrew date from the 10th century BCE. Hebrew belongs to the West Semitic branch of the Afroasiatic language family. Hebrew is the only living Canaanite language left, and the only truly successful example of a revived dead language.
A paramilitary is a semi-militarized force whose organizational structure, tactics, training, subculture, and (often) function are similar to those of a professional military, but which is formally not part of a government's armed forces.
Mandatory Palestine was a geopolitical entity established between 1920 and 1923 in the Middle East roughly corresponding the region of Palestine, as part of the Partition of the Ottoman Empire under the terms of the British Mandate for Palestine.
The evolution of Jewish defense organisations in Palestine and later Israel went from small self-defense groups active during Ottoman rule, to ever larger and more sophisticated ones during the British Mandate, leading through the Haganah to the national army of Israel, the IDF. The evolution went step by step from Bar-Giora, to Hashomer, to Haganah, to IDF.
The Ottoman Empire, historically known in Western Europe as the Turkish Empire or simply Turkey, was a state that controlled much of Southeast Europe, Western Asia and North Africa between the 14th and early 20th centuries. It was founded at the end of the 13th century in northwestern Anatolia in the town of Söğüt by the Oghuz Turkish tribal leader Osman I. After 1354, the Ottomans crossed into Europe, and with the conquest of the Balkans, the Ottoman beylik was transformed into a transcontinental empire. The Ottomans ended the Byzantine Empire with the 1453 conquest of Constantinople by Mehmed the Conqueror.
Hashomer was a Jewish defense organization in Palestine founded in April 1909. It was an outgrowth of the Bar-Giora group and was disbanded after the founding of the Haganah in 1920. Hashomer was responsible for guarding Jewish settlements in the Yishuv, freeing Jewish communities from dependence upon foreign consulates and Arab watchmen for their security. It was headed by a committee of three—Israel Shochat, Israel Giladi, and Mendel Portugali.
The Jewish paramilitary organisations in the New Yishuv (the Zionist enterprise in Palestine) started with the Second Aliyah (1904 to 1914). [ citation needed ] It was converted to Hashomer (Hebrew : השומר; "The Watchman") in April 1909, which operated until the British Mandate of Palestine came into being in 1920. Hashomer was an elitist organization with narrow scope, and was mainly created to protect against criminal gangs seeking to steal property. During World War I, the forerunners of the Haganah/IDF were the Zion Mule Corps and the Jewish Legion, both of which were part of the British Army. After the Arab riots against Jews in April 1920, the Yishuv's leadership saw the need to create a nationwide underground defense organization, and the Haganah was founded in June of the same year. The Haganah became a full-scale defense force after the 1936–1939 Arab revolt in Palestine with an organized structure, consisting of three main units—the Field Corps, Guard Corps, and the Palmach strike force. During World War II the successor to the Jewish Legion of World War I was the Jewish Brigade, which was joined by many Haganah fighters. During the 1947–48 civil war between the Arab and Jewish communities in what was still Mandatory Palestine, a reorganised Haganah managed to defend or wrestle most of the territory it was ordered to hold or capture. At the beginning of the ensuing 1948–49 full-scale conventional war against regular Arab armies, the Haganah was reorganised to become the core of the new Israel Defense Forces.The first such organization was Bar-Giora, founded in September 1907. It consisted of a small group of Jewish immigrants who guarded settlements for an annual fee. At no time did Bar-Giora have more than 100 members.
The Yishuv or Ha-Yishuv or Ha-Yishuv Ha-Ivri is the body of Jewish residents in the land of Israel prior to the establishment of the State of Israel. The term came into use in the 1880s, when there were about 25,000 Jews living across the Land of Israel, then comprising the southern part of Ottoman Syria, and continued to be used until 1948, by which time there were some 630,000 Jews there. The term is used in Hebrew even nowadays to denote the Pre-State Jewish residents in the Land of Israel.
The Second Aliyah was an important and highly influential aliyah that took place between 1904 and 1914, during which approximately 35,000 Jews immigrated into Ottoman-ruled Palestine, mostly from the Russian Empire, some from Yemen.
Bar-Giora was a Jewish self-defense organization of the Second Aliyah, the precursor of Hashomer.
After the 1920 Arab riots and 1921 Jaffa riots, the Jewish leadership in Palestine believed that the British, to whom the League of Nations had given a mandate over Palestine in 1920, had no desire to confront local Arab gangs that frequently attacked Palestinian Jews.Believing that they could not rely on the British administration for protection from these gangs, the Jewish leadership created the Haganah to protect Jewish farms and kibbutzim. The first head of the Haganah was a 28 year-old named Yosef Hecht, a veteran of the Jewish Legion. In addition to guarding Jewish communities, the role of the Haganah was to warn the residents of and repel attacks by Palestinian Arabs. In the period between 1920–1929, the Haganah lacked a strong central authority or coordination. Haganah "units" were very localized and poorly armed: they consisted mainly of Jewish farmers who took turns guarding their farms or their kibbutzim.
The League of Nations, abbreviated as LN or LoN, was an intergovernmental organisation founded on 10 January 1920 as a result of the Paris Peace Conference that ended the First World War. It was the first worldwide intergovernmental organisation whose principal mission was to maintain world peace. Its primary goals, as stated in its Covenant, included preventing wars through collective security and disarmament and settling international disputes through negotiation and arbitration. Other issues in this and related treaties included labour conditions, just treatment of native inhabitants, human and drug trafficking, the arms trade, global health, prisoners of war, and protection of minorities in Europe. At its greatest extent from 28 September 1934 to 23 February 1935, it had 58 members.
A kibbutz is a collective community in Israel that was traditionally based on agriculture. The first kibbutz, established in 1909, was Degania. Today, farming has been partly supplanted by other economic branches, including industrial plants and high-tech enterprises. Kibbutzim began as utopian communities, a combination of socialism and Zionism. In recent decades, some kibbutzim have been privatized and changes have been made in the communal lifestyle. A member of a kibbutz is called a kibbutznik.
The Jewish Legion (1917–1921) is an unofficial name used to refer to five battalions of Jewish volunteers, the 38th to 42nd (Service) Battalions of the Royal Fusiliers, raised in the British Army to fight against the Ottoman Empire during the First World War.
Following the 1929 Palestine riots, the Haganah's role changed dramatically. It became a much larger organization encompassing nearly all the youth and adults in the Jewish settlements, as well as thousands of members from the cities. It also acquired foreign arms and began to develop workshops to create hand grenades and simple military equipment, transforming from an untrained militia to a capable underground army.
The 1929 Arab riots in Palestine, or the Buraq Uprising, also known as the 1929 Massacres, refers to a series of demonstrations and riots in late August 1929 when a long-running dispute between Muslims and Jews over access to the Western Wall in Jerusalem escalated into violence. The riots took the form, in the most part, of attacks by Arabs on Jews accompanied by destruction of Jewish property. During the week of riots from 23 to 29 August, 133 Jews were killed and between 198–241 others were injured, a large majority of whom were unarmed and were murdered in their homes by Arabs, while at least 116 Arabs were killed and at least 232 were injured, mostly by the British police while trying to suppress the riots, although around 20 were killed by Jewish attacks or indiscriminate British gunfire. During the riots, 17 Jewish communities were evacuated.
Many Haganah fighters objected to the official policy of havlagah (restraint) that Jewish political leaders (who had become increasingly controlling of the Haganah) had imposed on the militia. Fighters had been instructed to only defend communities and not initiate counterattacks against Arab gangs or their communities. This policy appeared defeatist to many who believed that the best defense is a good offense. In 1931, the more militant elements of the Haganah splintered off and formed the Irgun Tsva'i-Leumi (National Military Organization), better known as "Irgun" (or by its Hebrew acronym, pronounced "Etzel").
Havlagah was a strategic policy used by the Haganah members with regard to actions taken against Arab groups who were attacking the Jewish settlement during the British Mandate of Palestine. Its core principles were fortification and abstention from taking revenge on Arabs by attacking innocent civilians. The political leadership and many leftwing Zionist groups supported the Havlagah policy.
Defeatism is the acceptance of defeat without struggle, often with negative connotations. It can be linked to pessimism in psychology.
"The best defense is a good offense" is an adage that has been applied to many fields of endeavor, including games and military combat. It is also known as the strategic offensive principle of war. Generally, the idea is that proactivity instead of a passive attitude will preoccupy the opposition and ultimately hinder its ability to mount an opposing counterattack, leading to a strategic advantage.
During the 1936–1939 Arab revolt in Palestine, the Haganah worked to protect British interests and to quell Arab rebellion using the FOSH, and then Hish units. At that time, the Haganah fielded 10,000 mobilized men along with 40,000 reservists. Although the British administration did not officially recognize the Haganah, the British security forces cooperated with it by forming the Jewish Settlement Police, Jewish Supernumerary Police and Special Night Squads, which were trained and led by Colonel Orde Wingate. The battle experience gained during the training was useful in the 1948 Arab–Israeli War.
By 1939, the British had issued the White Paper, which severely restricted Jewish immigration to Palestine, deeply angering the Zionist leadership. David Ben-Gurion, then chairman of the Jewish Agency, set the policy for the Zionist relationship with the British: "We shall fight the war against Hitler as if there were no White Paper, and we shall fight the White Paper as if there were no war."
In reaction to the White Paper, the Haganah built up the Palmach as the Haganah's elite strike force and organized illegal Jewish immigration to Palestine. Approximately 100,000 Jews were brought to Palestine in over one hundred ships during the final decade of what became known as Aliyah Bet. The Haganah also organized demonstrations against British immigration quotas.
In 1940 the Haganah sabotaged the Patria, an ocean liner being used by the British to deport 1,800 Jews to Mauritius, with a bomb intended to cripple the ship. However the ship sank, killing 267 people and injuring 172.
In the first years of World War II, the British authorities asked Haganah for cooperation again, due to the fear of an Axis breakthrough in North Africa.[ citation needed ] After Rommel was defeated at El Alamein in 1942, the British stepped back from their all-out support for Haganah.[ citation needed ] In 1943, after a long series of requests and negotiations, the British Army announced the creation of the Jewish Brigade Group. While Palestinian Jews had been permitted to enlist in the British army since 1940, this was the first time an exclusively Jewish military unit served in the war under a Jewish flag. The Jewish Brigade Group consisted of 5,000 soldiers and was initially deployed with the 8th Army in North Africa and later in Italy in September 1944. The brigade was disbanded in 1946.[ citation needed ] All in all, some 30,000 Palestinian Jews served in the British army during the war.
On May 14, 1941, the Haganah created the Palmach (an acronym for Plugot Mahatz—strike companies), an elite commando section, in preparation against the possibility of a British withdrawal and Axis invasion of Palestine. Its members, young men and women, received specialist training in guerilla tactics and sabotage.During 1942 the British gave assistance in the training of Palmach volunteers but in early 1943 they withdrew their support and attempted to disarm them. The Palmach, then numbering over 1,000, continued as an underground organisation with its members working half of each month as kibbutz volunteers, the rest of the month spent training. It was never large—by 1947 it amounted to merely five battalions (about 2,000 men)—but its members had not only received physical and military training, but also acquired leadership skills that would subsequently enable them to take up command positions in Israel's army.
In 1944, after the assassination of Lord Moyne (the British Minister of State for the Middle East), by members of the Lehi, the Haganah worked with the British to kidnap, interrogate, and in some cases, deport Irgun members. This action, which lasted from November 1944 to February 1945, was called the Saison , or the Hunting Season, and was directed against the Irgun and not the Lehi.[ citation needed ] Future Jerusalem mayor Teddy Kollek was later revealed to be a Jewish Agency liaison officer working with the British authorities who had passed on information that led to the arrest of many Irgun activists.
Many Jewish youth, who had joined the Haganah in order to defend the Jewish people, were greatly demoralized by operations against their own people.The Irgun, paralyzed by the Saison, were ordered by their commander, Menachem Begin, not to retaliate in an effort to avoid a full blown civil war. Although many Irgunists objected to these orders, they obeyed Begin and refrained from fighting back. The Saison eventually ended due to perceived British betrayal of the Yishuv becoming more obvious to the public and increased opposition from Haganah members.
The Saison officially ended when the Haganah, Irgun and the Lehi formed the Jewish Resistance Movement, in 1945. Within this new framework, the three groups agreed to operate under a joint command. They had different functions, which served to drive the British out of Palestine and create a Jewish state.
The Haganah was less active in the Jewish Rebellion than the other two groups, but the Palmach did carry out anti-British operations, including a raid on the Atlit detainee camp that released 208 illegal immigrants, the Night of the Trains, the Night of the Bridges, and attacks on Palestine Police bases.The Haganah withdrew on 1 July 1946, but "remained permanently unco-operative" with the British authorities. It continued to organize illegal Jewish immigration as part of the Aliyah Bet program, in which ships carrying illegal immigrants attempted to breach the British blockade of Palestine and land illegal immigrants on the shore (most were intercepted by the Royal Navy), and the Palmach performed operations against the British to support the illegal immigration program. The Palmach repeatedly bombed British radar stations being used to track illegal immigrant ships, and sabotaged British ships being used to deport illegal immigrants, as well as two British landing and patrol craft. The Palmach performed a single assassination operation in which a British official who had been judged to be excessively cruel to Jewish prisoners was shot dead. The Haganah also organized the Birya affair. Following the expulsion of the residents of the Jewish settlement of Birya for illegal weapons possession, thousands of Jewish youth organized by the Haganah marched to the site and rebuilt the settlement. They were expelled by British shortly afterward while showing passive resistance, but after they returned a third time, the British backed off and allowed them to remain.
In addition to its operations, the Haganah continued to secretly prepare for a war with the Arabs once the British left by building up its arms and munitions stocks. It maintained a secret arms industry, with the most significant facility being an underground bullet factory underneath Ayalon, a kibbutz that had been established specifically to cover it up.
British estimates of the Haganah's strength at this time were a paper strength of 75,000 men and women with an effective strength of 30,000.After the British army, the Haganah was considered the most powerful military force in the Middle East.
In July 1947, eager to maintain order with the visit of UNSCOP to Palestine and under heavy pressure from the British authorities to resume collaboration, the Jewish Agency reluctantly came into brief conflict with the Irgun and Lehi, and ordered the Haganah to put a stop to the operations of the other two groups for the time being. As Palmach members refused to participate, a unit of about 200 men from regular Haganah units was mobilized, and foiled several operations against the British, including a potentially devastating attack on the British military headquarters at Citrus House in Tel Aviv, in which a Haganah member was killed by an Irgun bomb. The Haganah also joined the search for two British sergeants abducted by the Irgun as hostages against the death sentences of three Irgun members in what became known as the Sergeants' affair. The Jewish Agency leadership feared the damage this act would do to the Jewish cause, and also believed that holding the hostages would only jeopardize the fates of the three condemned Irgun members. The attempts to free the sergeants failed, and following the executions of the three Irgun members, the two sergeants were killed and hanged in a eucalyptus grove. However, the campaign soon disintegrated into a series of retaliatory abductions and beatings of each other's members by the Haganah and Irgun, and eventually petered out. The campaign was dubbed the "Little Season" by the Irgun.
After 'having gotten the Jews of Palestine and of elsewhere to do everything that they could, personally and financially, to help Yishuv,' Ben-Gurion's second greatest achievement was his having successfully transformed Haganah from being a clandestine paramilitary organization into a true army.Ben-Gurion appointed Israel Galili to the position of head of the High Command counsel of Haganah and divided Haganah into 6 infantry brigades, numbered 1 to 6, allotting a precise theatre of operation to each one. Yaakov Dori was named Chief of Staff, but it was Yigael Yadin who assumed the responsibility on the ground as chief of Operations. Palmach, commanded by Yigal Allon, was divided into 3 elite brigades, numbered 10–12, and constituted the mobile force of Haganah. Ben-Gurion's attempts to retain personal control over the newly formed IDF lead later in July to The Generals' Revolt.
On 19 November 1947, obligatory conscription was instituted for all men and women aged between 17 and 25. By end of March 21,000 people had been conscripted.On 30 March the call-up was extended to men and single women aged between 26 and 35. Five days later a General Mobilization order was issued for all men under 40.
"From November 1947, the Haganah, (...) began to change from a territorial militia into a regular army. (...) Few of the units had been well trained by December. (...) By March–April, it fielded still under-equipped battalion and brigades. By April–May, the Haganah was conducting brigade size offensive.
The brigades of the Haganah which merged into the IDF once this was created on 26 May 1948:
The northern Levanoni Brigade, located in the Galilee, was split on February 22, 1948 into the 1st and 2nd Brigades.
To the initial six brigades, three were added later during the war:
The Palmach brigades which merged into the IDF:
After the British announced they would withdraw from Palestine, and the United Nations approved the partition of Palestine, the 1947-48 Civil War in Mandatory Palestine broke out. The Haganah played the leading role in the Yishuv's war with the Palestinian Arabs. Initially, it concentrated on defending Jewish areas from Arab raids, but after the danger of British intervention subsided as the British withdrew, the Haganah went on the offensive and seized more territory. Following the Israeli Declaration of Independence and the start of the 1948 Arab–Israeli War on May 15, 1948, the Haganah, now the army of the new state, engaged the invading armies of the surrounding Arab states.
On May 28, 1948, less than two weeks after the creation of the state of Israel on May 15, the provisional government created the Israel Defense Forces, merging the Haganah, Irgun, and Lehi, although the other two groups continued to operate independently in Jerusalem and abroad for some time after.The re-organisation led to several conflicts between Ben-Gurion and the Haganah leadership, including what was known as The Generals' Revolt and the dismantling of the Palmach.
Famous members of the Haganah included Yitzhak Rabin, Ariel Sharon, Rehavam Ze'evi, Dov Hoz, Moshe Dayan, Yigal Allon and Dr. Ruth Westheimer.
The Museum of Underground Prisoners in Jerusalem commemorates the activity of the underground groups in the pre-state period, recreating the everyday life of those imprisoned there.
Some Bedouins had longstanding ties with nearby Jewish communities. They helped defend these communities in the 1936–1939 Arab revolt in Palestine. During the 1948 Arab–Israeli War, some Bedouins of Tuba formed an alliance with the Haganah defending Jewish communities in the Upper Galilee against Syria. Some were part of a Pal-Heib unit of the Haganah. Sheik Hussein Mohammed Ali Abu Yussef of Tuba was quoted in 1948 as saying, "Is it not written in the Koran that the ties of neighbors are as dear as those of relations? Our friendship with the Jews goes back many years. We felt we could trust them and they learned from us too".
The Irgun was a Zionist paramilitary organization that operated in Mandate Palestine between 1931 and 1948. It was an offshoot of the older and larger Jewish paramilitary organization Haganah. When the group broke from the Haganah it became known as the Haganah Bet, or alternatively as haHaganah haLeumit or Hama'amad. Irgun members were absorbed into the Israel Defense Forces at the start of the 1948 Arab–Israeli war. The Irgun is also referred to as Etzel, an acronym of the Hebrew initials, or by the abbreviation IZL.
Zionist political violence or refers to acts of violence or terror committed by Zionists.
The 1948 Arab–Israeli War, or the First Arab–Israeli War, was fought between the newly declared State of Israel and a military coalition of Arab states over the control of former British Palestine, forming the second and final stage of the 1947–49 Palestine war.
Killings and massacres during the 1948 Palestine war resulted in the deaths of hundreds of civilians and unarmed soldiers.
Plan Dalet was a plan worked out by the Haganah in Mandatory Palestine in March 1948. Its name was from the letter Dalet (ד), the fourth letter of the Hebrew alphabet.
Operation Agatha sometimes called Black Sabbath or Black Saturday because it began on the Jewish sabbath, was a police and military operation conducted by the British authorities in Mandatory Palestine. Soldiers and police searched for arms and made arrests in Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, and Haifa, and in several dozen settlements; the Jewish Agency was raided. The total number of British security forces involved is variously reported as 10,000, 17,000, and 25,000. About 2,700 individuals were arrested, among them future Israeli Prime Minister Moshe Sharett. The officially given purpose of the operation was to end "the state of anarchy" then existing in Palestine. Other objectives included obtaining documentary proof of Jewish Agency approval of sabotage operations by the Palmach and of an alliance between the Haganah and the more violent Lehi and Irgun, destroying the Haganah's military power, boosting army morale and preventing a coup d'état being mounted by the Lehi and Irgun.
The Palmach was the elite fighting force of the Haganah, the underground army of the Yishuv during the period of the British Mandate for Palestine. The Palmach was established on 15 May 1941. By the outbreak of the Israeli War of Independence it consisted of over 2,000 men and women in three fighting brigades and auxiliary aerial, naval and intelligence units. With the creation of Israel's army, the three Palmach Brigades were disbanded. This and political reasons compelled many of the senior Palmach officers to resign in 1950.
Yitzhak Sadeh, was the commander of the Palmach and one of the founders of the Israel Defense Forces at the time of the establishment of the State of Israel.
The Battle for Jerusalem occurred from December 1947 to 18 July 1948, during the 1947–48 Civil War in Mandatory Palestine. The Jewish and Arab populations of Mandatory Palestine and later the Israeli and Jordanian armies fought for control of Jerusalem.
The 1947–1948 civil war in Mandatory Palestine was the first phase of the 1948 Palestine war. It broke out after the General Assembly of the United Nations adopted a resolution on 29 November 1947 recommending the adoption of the Partition Plan for Palestine.
The Jewish Resistance Movement, also called United Resistance Movement (URM), was an alliance of the Zionist paramilitary organizations Haganah, Irgun and Lehi in the British Mandate of Palestine. It was established in October 1945 by the Jewish Agency and operated for some ten months, until August 1946. The alliance coordinated acts of sabotage and terrorist attacks against the British authorities.
The Saison was the name given to the Haganah's attempt, as ordered by the official bodies of the pre-state Yishuv to suppress the Irgun's insurgency against the government of the British Mandate in Palestine, from November 1944 to February 1945.
The Jewish insurgency in Mandatory Palestine involved paramilitary actions carried out by Jewish underground groups against the British forces and officials in Mandatory Palestine. The tensions between Jewish militant underground organizations and the British mandatory authorities rose from 1938 and intensified with the publication of the White Paper of 1939, which outlined new government policies to place further restrictions on Jewish immigration and land purchases and declared the intention of giving independence to Palestine, with an Arab majority, within ten years. Though World War II brought relative calm, the tensions again escalated into an armed struggle towards the end of the war, when it became clear that the Axis Powers were close to defeat. The conflict with the British lasted until the eruption of the civil war and to some degree also until the termination of the British Mandate for Palestine and the establishment of the State of Israel in May 1948.
The Deir Yassin massacre took place on April 9, 1948, when around 120 fighters from the Zionist paramilitary groups Irgun and Lehi attacked Deir Yassin, a Palestinian Arab village of roughly 600 people near Jerusalem. The assault occurred as Jewish militia sought to relieve the blockade of Jerusalem during the civil war that preceded the end of British rule in Palestine.
The Etzioni Brigade, also 6th Brigade and Jerusalem Brigade, was an infantry brigade in the Haganah and Israel Defense Forces in the 1948 Arab–Israeli War. It was founded in late 1947 as the Field Corps unit responsible for the defense of Jerusalem and its surroundings, where it operated during the war along with the Harel Brigade. Its first commander was Yisrael Amir, who was replaced by David Shaltiel.
Events in the year 1948 in Israel.
Events in the year 1948 in the British Mandate of Palestine.
This is a timeline of intercommunal conflict in Mandatory Palestine.
The 1947–49 Palestine war, known in Hebrew as the War of Independence or the War of Liberation and in Arabic as The Nakba or Catastrophe, refers to the war that occurred in the former Mandatory Palestine during the period between the United Nations vote on the partition plan on November 30, 1947, and the official end of the first Arab–Israeli war on July 20, 1949.
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