New recruits were sworn into the Nahal Brigade at the Western Wall in Jerusalem a week ago.
Nahal is an acronym for Noar Halutzi Lohem, or Fighting Pioneer Youth. It was established in the early 1950s as a force that combined military service and establishment of new agricultural settlements along Israel’s borders. Many of those settlements were later turned into permanent villages. Some were then dismantled by delusional Israeli governments who sought peace with Arab thugs.
I’m convinced that the Nahal model is what gave the IDF its image of a humane military force. It was the citizen soldier model at its extreme, and it worked. Indeed, it worked as long as at the helm of Israel’s political system sat governments that were interested in the Zionist ideal of settling the land of Israel.
There was very little daylight on the settlement ideal back then between the most extreme Zionist left and the extreme Zionist right.
I’m proud to have served in the Nahal as entertainer during the Yom Kippur war, and then as journalist for the Bamahane Nahal, the force’s monthly magazine (war is hell).
The Nahal Infantry brigade was formed in 1982 to answer a growing need for infantry manpower in the wake of the 1982 Lebanon War.
No settlements needed any more, thank you very much.