AL HA-MISHMAR (Heb. עַל הַמִּשְׁמָר), Hebrew daily newspaper of the Israeli left-wing *Mapam Party, its affiliated Ha-Shomer ha-Ẓa'ir youth movement, and the Kibbutz Arẓi network of agricultural settlements. Established in Tel Aviv in 1943 under the editorship of Mordekhai *Bentov as Ha-Shomer, it became Al ha-Mishmar five years later after Ha-Shomer ha-Ẓa'ir merged with Aḥdut ha-Avodah into Mapam. The newspaper was both a voice of the strident left-wing of the Zionist movement and the more inward-looking network of agricultural settlements. A quality newspaper, it covered national and international developments as well as local kibbutz news. In its earlier days its journalistic style was of a party organ. Yet its literary pages in particular were open to non-party voices. Its journalistic workforce consisted of members of kibbutzim on loan to work on the newspaper. After Bentov was elected a Mapam member of the Knesset, he was replaced as editor by Ya'akov Amit. Other editors of the paper were Marek Geffen, Ḥayyim Shaw, Sever Plotzkur, and Zvi Timor. In later years the paper's style was characterized by less ideological rigidity. Its staff included not only kibbutz members but also professional journalists. Its readership reached 15,000–18,000, but 10,000 of these were kibbutz subscriptions. Its circulation declined to 8,000 in the 1990s after kibbutz members were no longer required to read the paper. Their preference for the non-party commercial press, and for television over newspapers, together the financial problems which struck the kibbutz movement, caused the paper to close in March 2005.
Y. Tzafati, "Al ha-Mishmar – Anatomiyah shel Iton Miflagti," in: Kesher, 27 (May 2000).
[Yoel Cohen (2nd ed.)]