Author: Yossi Belz

Nahal Brigade

Nahal is an acronym for “Noar Halutzi Lochem” (Fighting Pioneer Youth) and is an infantry brigade in the Israeli Defense Forces. When the Jewish State was formed, a core group of Zionist pioneers wrote the then Prime Minister David ben Gurion requesting that their group, who worked together in agriculture, be able to do their military service as a group. Thus, Ben Gurion formed the Nahal program, which combined farming with military service. Many Nahal founded settlements are thriving today in the Galilee, the Negev and the West Bank, as well as famous military army units, in the Airborne Nahal battalion of the Paratroopers Brigade. In present times, there are two separate units called Nahal. One is a large non-combat command which is under the auspices of the IDF Education Corps. They coordinate and organize the volunteer programs and activities of the original Nahal unit. This includes the Nahal Band, a famous military music troupe famous for their now classic Songs of Israel. The second is the name of an infantry regiment in the Israeli Army, parallel to the Golani, Givati, Paratroopers Brigades and others. This Nahal Brigade was formed in 1982 in answer to an increased need for infantry manpower, as a result of the emerging conflict in southern Lebanon. Nahal soldiers are recognizable by their light green berets. In the early 1990’s a special forces battalion was...

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Givati Brigade

Givati is the amphibious force and is one of the infantry brigades in the Israeli Army. The Givati Brigade was formed in December 1947. It operated in the central region of Israel at the outset of the 1948 Israeli War of Independence. Subsequently, in this war, the Givati became the Fifth Brigade, moving to the south, concentrated mainly near Gedera, Gan Yavne, and Be’er Tuvia. One of its battalions fought on the Jerusalem front, in Operation Nachshon and the Battles of Latrun. In 2007, the Givati Brigade was divided into three main battalions, given the names of trees. Shaked (Almond) Infantry Battalion Tzabar (Cactus) Infantry Battalion Rotem (Furze) Infantry Battalion In addition, there are units for reconnaissance, engineering and others, such as; Shualei Shimshon (Samsons Foxes) Special Troops Battalion which includes; * Dikla (Palm) Anti Tank Company * Dolev Engineer Company * Shualei Shimshon Reconnaissance Company Ma’or Signa  Company The Givati soldiers are recognized for their distinctive purple berets. The symbol of Givati is the fox, hence the special “Shualei Shimshon” (Samson’s foxes) reconnaissance...

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Golani Brigade

“A Warriers Unit” This highly decorated infantry unit is known for their soldier’s braveness, toughness and quick responses. History The Golani Brigade is an Israeli infantry brigade formed on February 28, 1948 when two existing brigades (Levanoni and Carmeli) were combined to form one of the most highly decorated infantry units in the IDF. At that time, the brigade was stationed in the Galilee, therefore its symbol is a green olive tree with roots on yellow soil, symbolizing Golani’s role in the south of Israel when it took Eilat in 1948. Since most of the early Golani soldiers were farmers and new immigrants, they designated the beret color as brown to symbolize the soil of Israel. The specialized Sayeret Golani, is a reconnaissance company with an extremely difficult training regimen which is stationed in the upper Galilee and Golan. Units The various units in the Golani Brigade are as follows; 12th Barak (Lightning) Infantry Battalion 13th Gideon Infantry Battalion 51st First Breachers (HaBok’im) Infantry Battalion Egoz (Nut Tree) Reconnaissance Battalion (Anti-guerilla Special Forces) Special Troops Battalion Anti-tank Company Engineer Company Reconnaissance Company 351st Signal Company Equipment The heavy “Achzarit” armored personnel carrier is a very heavily armored vehicle designed for specialized fighting (car bombs, mines, and rocket-propelled...

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Paratroopers Brigade

This elite brigade, also known as the 35th brigade is a unit of paratroopers within the Israeli Defense Forces. Service in the Paratroopers (Tzanchanim) is voluntary and any candidate must pass rigorous physical and mental testing before acceptance. The Israeli Army has three reservist Paratrooper brigades ready at any given time, with soldiers who have already served mandatory service in the brigade and who are mostly in their twenties (besides officers). Goals The goals in creating the Paratrooper Brigade in the mid 1950’s were; • To have an elite infantry force • To innovate and improve fighting skills within other infantry units • To raise the next generation of military commanders and officers. During the Six Day War in 1967, the Paratroopers Brigade took part in capturing Jerusalem, in conjunction with the Jerusalem and Harel Brigades. They captured the Western Wall and the Temple Mount, one of the highlights of this war, a historic moment for the Jewish People. The Paratrooper Brigade is formed of three regular battalions, each one with the name of a venomous snake. The Brigade Structure is as follows; 101st “Cobra” Airborne Battalion 202nd “Viper” Airborne Battalion 890th “Echis” Airborne Battalion “Flying Serpent” Special Troops Battalion “Naja” Anti-Tank Company “Coluber” Engineer Company 5173rd “Taipan” Reconnaissance Company “Eryx” Signal Company The Tzanchanim have a distinct uniform which is a slightly different color than of the regular ground forces. They...

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Chanukah menorah

The Hanukkah Menorah is lit during the eight day Chanukah holiday which commemorates the miracle which occurred after the Second Temple in Jerusalem after it was desecrated by the forces of king Antiochus. In 175 BCE, Antiochus Epiphanes became the king of Syria. At this time, in Israel there was an internal civil war between the traditionalist Jews and the Hellenized Jews, who were also in conflict over who would be “Kohen Gadol” or High Priest in the Temple. Antiochus sided with the Hellenizers and issued anti-religious decrees. He banned the study of Torah, the practice of circumcision and the declaring of the New Month. This provoked a large scale revolt by Mattityahu, a Jewish Kohen and his five sons. One of his sons, Yehuda became known as Yehuda Maccabi. By 165 BCE, the Jewish revolt was successful. Yehuda Maccabi, who had taken over after his father died, rallied his brothers to enter the desecrated Temple, cleanse it, and make new holy vessels. They needed pure olive oil to light the menorah, and only found one small flask. Miraculously, this small amount of oil lasted for eight days. The Hanukkah menorah itself is an eight branched candelabrum, as opposed to the seven branched menorah which had been used in the ancient Temple. The ninth holder, called the “shamash”, or helper, servant, is used for a candle which lights the...

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