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Haganah

HAGANAH

Underground military defense organization for Jewish community in Palestine, 19201948.

The Haganah ("defense") was founded in June 1920 by the Labor Zionist Party Ahdut ha-Avodah in response to Arab riots in April. Its military and organizational complexity increased as the conflict with the Palestinian Arabs intensified during the Mandate era. By the time full scale ArabJewish warfare erupted in Palestine following the November 1947 United Nations partition resolution, the Haganah was well positioned to serve as the Yishuv's main armed force and to become the core element of the Israel Defense Force (IDF).

In December 1920 the Haganah was placed under the direct control of the newly created Histadrut, headed by David Ben-Gurion. After the 1929 riots, the Haganah expanded into a Yishuv-wide defense force, and a six-member civilian National Command council was established, led by Eliyahu Golomb. The 19361939 Arab Revolt was a watershed event in the development of the Haganah. In the process of responding to the rebellion it developed new doctrines and structures and became an army capable of taking offensive military actions. The Haganah mobilized Jewish youth for military training, established officers' courses, and set up arms depots and underground small arms factories. Elite units were formed under the command of Yitzhak Sadeh, who would also become a major figure in the Palmah and the IDF.

The military doctrine of the Haganah during the 1920s and 1930s was based on self-restraint (havlagah). As the Arab Revolt intensified, those most opposed to havlagah split off and in 1937 formed the Irgun Zvaʾi Leʾumi, which committed retaliatory acts of terrorism against Arab civilians. In 1940 some Irgun members, led by Abraham Stern, rejected the Irgun's wartime truce with Britain and founded the "Stern Gang," also known as LEHI.

In 1938 the British created a Jewish military unit for counterinsurgency missions against the Arabs, the Special Night Squads. They were trained and commanded by Orde Wingate and drew volunteers from the Haganah, even though the Haganah was technically illegal according to the Mandatory government. Wingate's commando tactics greatly influenced the Haganah and later the IDF. Yigal Allon (Palmah commander) and Moshe Dayan were Wingate protégés.

In 1939 control over the Haganah was transferred to the MAPAI-dominated Jewish Agency, which was headed by Ben-Gurion. A professional Military General Staff was established and Yaʿakov Dori became the Haganah's first chief of staff. The Haganah ran illegal immigration operations (Aliyah Bet) during and after World War II to circumvent the 1939 White Paper restrictions. At the same time, Britain supported the creation of an elite strike force, the Palmah (Plugot Mahatz, or "shock companies") in May 1941, and Haganah members enlisted in the British Army's Jewish Brigade. When Britain refused to lift the White Paper restrictions after the war, the Haganah and Palmah joined with the Irgun and LEHI to form the Hebrew Resistance Movement (19451946). The undergrounds coordinated military operations against British targets in Palestine. The harsh British crackdown on the Yishuv in June 1946 convinced Ben-Gurion to end the Haganah's participation.

By 1947 the Haganah had evolved into a cohesive military organization with British Army professionalism and combat experience. The original Palmah battalions had expanded to three full brigades, and the Haganah grew to twelve brigades. On the eve of the first ArabIsrael war, the Haganah had a nascent air force, medical and signal corps, and intelligence units, with membership totaling 60,000. The bulk of Jewish fighters during the ArabIsrael War of 1948 came from Haganah ranks.

On 28 May 1948 Order Number 4 of the Provisional Government declared the establishment of a single national army with a unified national command, to be called the Israel Defense Force (Zva Haganah le-Yisrael, or ZAHAL). All independent military organizations were to be dismantled and absorbed into the IDF. The Haganah's personnel and command structure became the main elements of the new Israeli army and Dori became the IDF's first chief of staff. Many Haganah veterans would later become generals in the IDF, including Dayan, Yigael Yadin, Mordechai Gur, and Ariel Sharon.

See also irgun zvaʾi leʾumi (izl); lohamei herut yisrael; white papers on palestine; yishuv.


Bibliography

Ben-Eliezer, Uri. The Making of Israeli Militarism. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1998.

Herzog, Chaim. The ArabIsraeli Wars: War and Peace in the Middle East from the War of Independence through Lebanon, revised and updated. New York: Vintage Books, 1982.

Jewish Agency for Israel. "Israel and Zionism: The Haganah." Available from <http://www.jafi.org.il/education/>.

Peri, Yoram. Between Battles and Ballots: Israel Military in Politics. New York and Cambridge, U.K.: Cambridge University Press, 1983.

Van Creveld, Martin. The Sword and the Olive: A Critical History of the Israeli Defense Force. New York: Public Affairs, 1998.

pierre m. atlas

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"Haganah." Encyclopedia of the Modern Middle East and North Africa. . Encyclopedia.com. 20 Oct. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"Haganah." Encyclopedia of the Modern Middle East and North Africa. . Encyclopedia.com. (October 20, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/haganah

"Haganah." Encyclopedia of the Modern Middle East and North Africa. . Retrieved October 20, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/haganah

Haganah

Haganah (Heb. ‘defence’) Jewish militia formed (1920) to protect Jewish interests in Palestine. Allied with the extreme Irgun group in 1945, it tried to change British policy on Jewish immigration, receiving financial and military aid from US Zionists. In 1948 it became Israel's official army. See also Zionism

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"Haganah." World Encyclopedia. . Encyclopedia.com. 20 Oct. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

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"Haganah." World Encyclopedia. . Retrieved October 20, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/environment/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/haganah

Haganah

Haganah an underground defence force comprising a group of Jewish settlers in Palestine and playing a leading part in the creation of the State of Israel in 1948.

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"Haganah." The Oxford Dictionary of Phrase and Fable. . Encyclopedia.com. 20 Oct. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

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"Haganah." The Oxford Dictionary of Phrase and Fable. . Retrieved October 20, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/haganah