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 formed for the Nahal Brigade. Soldiers must pass specialized training programs for the following three companies;
Palsar (Reconnaisance Company)
Palnat (Anti-tank Company)
Palhan (Engineering and Explosives Company)
The task of this special battalion is to serve as a pathfinder force for the regiment, and to perform special operations.
Nahal units are named after types of rocks.
Baselet (Basalt) Airborne Battalion
Shaham (Granite) Infantry Batalion
Topaz Special Troops Batalion
• Gazit (Smooth Stone) Anti Tank Company
• Sapphire Engineer Company
• Flint Reconnaissance Company
• Scouts and Sniper Company
Agate Signal Company