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Palmach Flags (Israel)

Last modified: 2024-04-20 by martin karner
Keywords: israel | palmach | palmakh | plugot mahatz | hagana | hahagana | idf |
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image by Kazutaka Nishiura, 22 December 2009

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Palmach Flags

The Palmach is the legendary special force which took a major part in the Independence War. It was preceded by the "S.N.S. Special Night Service" or "Fire Squads" that were active in 1936–39 and were formed and commanded by the British Major (Later General) Charles Orde Wingate (or Orde Charles Wingate).
Palmach are the initials of Plugot Mahatz (Striking Companies) and it was founded on 15 May 1941 with British approval, by the HaHagana under the command of Yitzhaq Sade, in order to fight the Germans if they will invade to Israel-land.
It took only three days to become activated and to suffer its first causalities when 23 of its men under the command of a British officer were lost at see in their way to a sabotage operation in Tripoli harbor, Lebanon. On 11 December 1943, the marine unit (Pal-Yam) was formed.
The Palmach was not only a military organization. Its basses were in the Kibbutz's and the volunteers combined military training with farming.
The Palmach grew up and in its peak during the Independence War it had three regiments (Yiftah, Har'el and Negev with 10 battalions together) of the 12 IDF regiments existed in that period.
Due to political reasons, the Palmach as such was dissolved in 7 November 1948 with its three regiments becoming regular IDF regiments.
Palmach website report about the emblem and the flag. Here is a translated summery:
The flag of the Palmach and its emblem (two spikes and a sword) were revealed on the 2nd Palmach assembly in Ein Harod on 20 July 1945.
It was described by Yig'al Alon (later to became the Palmach 2nd commander) as follows: "The flag was spread in front of the Palmach members. Its color is blue and in its top corner, next to the hoist [in the canton] there is a small national flag [as seen in a real flag, the stripes and Magen David are light blue while the rest of the flag is dark blue] and below it, redden as flame, there are four letters Pe Lamed Mem Het. The Palmach emblem ... is embroidered in the center of the flag: two golden spikes combined with silver sword."
The emblem reflect the special character of the Palmach. The combination between its military and settling objectives. The sword, taken from the Hagana's platoon commanders emblem, is combined with spikes (replacing the olive branch) symbolizing labor.
The designer was Arie El'hannani who also design the Hagana and IDF emblems."
Palmach website also some some flag photos:
The 6th Battalion - It follows the basic design as the Palmach flag. Below the canton it is written in red HaGdud HaShishi (The 6th Battalion). All other battalion (1 to 10) had same flags with the appropiate inscription beside the 4th battalion which had also its nickname.
The 4th Battalion with its nickname HaPortzim (The breaking through)
"Negev" Regiment
The 2nd Battalion Flag and banner
– The flag of the illigal immigrants ship Exodus (Yetzi'at Eropa Tashaz)
Dov Gutterman, 25 July 2005

I visited Tel Aviv in February 2007 and I had a chance to see the Palmach Museum. At the entrance I saw (and took a photo) Palmach's blue flag charged with national flag in the canton and sword in two ears of wheat on the fly with inscription in red.
Nozomi Kariyasu, 15 March 2007

The Emblem

image from Wikipedia