From Fighters to Soldiers: How the Israeli Defense Forces Began
The idea of armed self-defense was never foreign to the Jews throughout their long years of exile in the diaspora, but in conditions of discrimination and persecution engaging in self-defense, fierce and courageous as it may have been, was no different from the supreme form of religious protest, namely martyrdom. Drawing on the roots of 19th century nationalism, mixed with religious messianic hopes, there gradually took hold the idea that some kind of military force was necessary in order to promote ideas of a return to the homeland and the Jewish national concept. The story of Bar Giora and Hashomer is one of the most enthralling subjects in Jewish history. The manifestation of the new Jew, who met force with force, was jealous of his honor, and defended the Jewish interest with weapon in hand, well suited the Zionist and Yishuv ethos. The founders of Bar Giora were a group of youngsters from Czarist Russia who dedicated themselves to provideng security for the Jewish settlers. Their dream was created a Jewish army. Later, in response to growing Arab nationalism Bar Giora was transformed into Hashomer (The Watchman). This group was dissolved in 1920 in order to establish the Hagana (Defense), which became the focus of Jewish defense during the Mandatory period. At the beginning of the Independence War in 1947, the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) was created.
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