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Hebrew: ha-haganah

Haganah soldiers in 1936.
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Haganah soldiers in 1936.

Haganah: During the First Palestinian War, 1947.
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During the First Palestinian War, 1947.

Haganah:  Also from 1947.
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Also from 1947.

Haganah: Training of female soldiers in the 1940's.
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Training of female soldiers in the 1940's.

Zionist military organization operating in Palestine from 1920 to 1948. It was designed to protect the Jewish minority against the Palestinians and the British authorities. Despite being weak on equipment, Haganah proved to be most efficient.
Haganah grew during the times of Palestinian revolt, first in 1929, then in the period of 1936-39. As a result, Haganah developed from a loose and weak militia into a well organized army.
Haganah was from the beginning under the influence of the Histadrut. It was officially outlawed by the authorities of the British Mandate, but most of the time it was a relatively moderate organization, resisting terrorist ideologies to attack Palestinian civilians. This changed after World War 2, when British politics became more pro-Palestinian. Haganah became involved in bombing bridges, rail lines and ships intended to bring Jewish immigrants back from Palestine.

1920: The Haganah is formed following Palestinian riots, when Jews felt that they could only rely upon themselves for protection. Haganah was set up as a loose organization, with local groups having much independence.
1929: New Palestinian riots, in protest against the growing importance and strength of the Jewish community as well as rumors suggesting a Jewish plot to take over the holy Muslim places in Jerusalem. Altogether 133 Jews were killed in the clashes. This challenged the Jews to organize Haganah into a more tightly-knit, efficient organization, which which ultimately came to include many of the Jews. Haganah also began coordinated imports of light arms, as well as clandestine arms production in Palestine.
1939: With a change in British politics, trying to stop the heavy immigration of Jews to Palestine, Haganah starts to organize illegal immigration and demonstrations against Britain.
1941: Haganah sets up its first mobilized regiment, the Palmach.
1945: After the authorities in the British Mandate introduce more pro-Palestinian politics, the Haganah begins terror attacks on important installations.
1947: Following the partition plan for Palestine by the United Nations, Haganah starts acting as the defence forces of the emerging Jewish state. Its effective leader becomes David Ben-Gurion.
1948: During the First Palestinian War, Haganah takes control over most of the areas intended for the Jewish state, but also large Arab areas like the cities of Akko and Jaffa.
May 26: The provisional government of Israel ends Haganah as an organization, and turns it into the national army of the new state. The Israeli Defence Forces are hence called Tzva Haganah le-Yisra'el in Hebrew.

By Tore Kjeilen