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Nahal

NAHAL

acronym for noar halutzi lohem (fighting pioneer youth), a division of the israel defense force integrating military training with agricultural labor and settlement.

Nahal was founded in 1948 at the urging of a delegation of kibbutz and youth-group representatives to Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion. Zionism's ideological notions of national redemption through work on the land coupled with the nascent state of Israel's pressing need for massive cultivation led to the institution of these units of "warrior-farmers." Nahal recruits entered the army in groups, under the joint command of a youth-movement instructor and Israel Defense Force (IDF) officer, and either reinforced existing kibbutzim and moshavim or, more significantly, established new "holding settlements" (heakhzuyot) on the country's vulnerable borders. Nahal para-troopers have been heavily involved in Israeli military operations since the 1950s.

The perception of Nahal as a restructured continuation of the recently defunct Palmah (dissolved in 1948), where informality, egalitarianism, and individual daring were the rule, led to persistent tension as military discipline was imposed on the rank and file. Nahal was opposed by much of the military establishment for attracting some of the most highly qualified recruits away from active combat duty. As the necessity for prolonged professional and specialized military training became more apparent to the IDF, increasing numbers of troops were diverted from Nahal, and agriculture figures less than previously in the unit's activities.

see also palmah.

zev maghen

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Nahal

Nahal (nəˈhɑːd) (Israel) No'ar Halutzi Lohem (Hebrew: Pioneer and Military Youth)

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