Israel’s War of Independence: Women in the Palmach, with Ami Barr
ENGLISH CORNER, CON LINDA JIMÉNEZ – This week’s trivia question: Why were the ultra-Orthodox residents of Safed opposed to the city being defended by Palmach fighters?
This week Israel celebrates Yom Ha’atzmaut, Independence Day. When Israeli independence was declared on May 14, 1948, the new state was immediately attacked by five regular Arab armies from neighboring countries. At first Israel did not yet have a regular army, and was defended by three paramilitary forces, each with its own ideology: the right-wing Lehi, or Stern Gang; the Irgun, a political predecessor to today’s Likud; and the left-wing Palmach. Women were prominent in the Palmach, and this week we’re going to learn about the part they played, especially in its Yiftach regiment.
Ami Barr was born in Colombia and made Aliyah to Israel in 1967. He studied archaeology and history there and became a teacher and licensed tour guide. Ami lives in Gonen, a kibbutz in the Upper Galilee, very near the border with Syria and Lebanon, where many of the actions he describes took place.