Jewish and Israel Studies

Excellence in Scholarship and Learning


From Fighters to Soldiers

How the Israeli Defense Forces Began

Author text to follow


Hardback ISBN: 978-1-902210-01-8
Hardback Price: £45.00 / $69.95
Release Date: June 1998
Paperback ISBN: 978-1-902210-02-5
Paperback Price: £45.00 / $69.95
Release Date: June 1998
Page Extent / Format: 312 pp. / 229 x 152 mm
Illustrated: No


Foreword by Yoav Gelber


1 The First Aliya: Defense and Guarding
The Heroic Phase
Protection by Baron Rothschild
The Transition to the JCA (1900)

2 The Second Aliya: Ideology and Organization
The Wellsprings of Bar Giora and Hashomer
The Founding of Bar Giora
Social and Cultural Background of the Founders
The Eighth Zionist Congress at The Hague

3 From Bar Giora to Hashomer
An Operational Base: From Sejera to Kefar Tabor
The Creation of Hashomer
Ideology, Structure and Institutions
Operational Methods Take Shape: 1908-1913
The Labor Legion
Internal Problems: blood feud (gum); agricultural Settlement; leadership; cultural aspect

4 Hashomer and Yishuv
The Attitude of the Workers’ Parties
Hashomer, Institutions of the Yishuv, and the Zionist Movement
Other Guarding Organizations in the Yishuv

5 The Organization and Ideology of Hashomer
Organizational and Practical Aspects: threshold of change (from August 1914 until the end of the year); decline (from the end of 1914 until August 1916); the awakening (August 1916-September 1917); the brink of dissolution (September 1917-April 1919)
Ideological and Political Changes: underground-revolutionary stage (September 1907-April 1909); the legal stage (April 1909-late 1914, early 1915); ideological revolution (early 1915-British conquest)

6 The Status of Women in Hashomer
The Second Aliya
Services and Welfare

7 The Attitude toward the Arabs
The Poaley Zion Party
Hashomer and the Arab Milieu
Daily Relations with the Arabs
The Test of Guarding

8 The Disbanding of Hashomer
The End of the War
Why was Hashomer Dissolved?: rural and urban defense; organization: limited and selective, or popular and general?; authority and sovereignty

9 From Unity to Dissolution, 1920-1927
The Mis-Step (12 June 1920-End of 1922): attitude to the security issue; Ahdut Ha’avoda and the Histadrut; the alternative: The Joseph Trumpeldor Labor Battalion
The Intolerable dualism (June 1920-End of 1923): the founding of Hakibbutz; gthe period of dualism; Activities of Hakibbutz: separate frameworks
The Rift and the End (1923-1927)

10 The Hapoel Association, 1930-1935
Struggle between the Palestinian Labor Movement and Revisionism for Hegemony over Zionism (1925-1933): the ideological-political clash; struggle over Weizmann’s succession (1929-1931); labor relations and violence
The Hagana: From Histadrut Control to National Control: the 1929 disturbances and split in the Hagana; transition from Histradut control to national control
Special Concepts, Special Tools: David Ben-Gurion in 1928-1931: struggle for the creation of The League for Labor Palestine; tendency to convert Hapoel into a Palestinian Schutzbund; integration of Hashomer people in Hapoel (1930-1934)
The Conflict Years (1931-1934): debate over the nature and purpose of Hapoel; debate on violence in Mapai; establishment of the Hasadran “Attendants” Association;
Swan-Song (1934-1935): “From Class to Nation” – Ben-Gurion’s change in attitude to the Zionist Organization and the struggle against Revisionism; Why did Hashomer people resign from Hapoel institutions?; Epilogue: the Hapoel Companies (1936)



Far from being organizationally and ideologically unprepared to deal with the new political and military realities, the Hashomer was in advance of its time and in both theory and practice laid the foundations for the Hagana and the Israel Defense Force.

Deepens our understanding regarding the crystalization of the Yishuv’s national institutions.
The Journal of Israeli History

Books can be ordered by phone or online

Ordering in the UK, Europe, Asia, Australasia, South America and Rest of the World

Gazelle Book Services
Direct sales tel.: +44 (0)1524 528500; email:
Web ordering:

Ordering in the United States and Canada
Independent Publishers Group (IPG)
Direct sales tel.: (800) 888-4741
Web ordering:

Bookseller Ordering
Information is provided under the Resources tab.

eBook Ordering
e-Book type availability can be sourced via by book title. Kindle availability is via Amazon .com and sites.