Saturday, September 18, 2010

Green Beret - Israel

Starting this Green Beret thread lightly with Israeli Cpl. Elinor Joseph, the first female Arab combat soldier in the IDF (Israel Defence Force). 
Good on her, I suppose, but when searching the net for information on Ms Joseph, she seems to be very much used as a role model to proof Israel's multi-cultural society; only in the small print one learns Ms Josef is a Christian Arab and how great is it really to have the 1st female Arab soldier joining the army since 1948...? But indeed, that hasn't got anything to do with the subject of green berets.

 In the IDF, green berets are used by a variety of units: Intelligence, Border Guards and Nahal. To me, Nahal is the most interesting: it's history going back to the early days of the Jewish state. In 1948, a gar'in (core group) of Jewish pioneers (settlers) wrote to Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion requesting that members be allowed to do their military service as a group rather than being split up into different units at random. In response to this letter, Ben-Gurion created the Nahal program, which combined military service and farming.
Gar'inei Nahal served together in various army units, most famously in the Nahal Mutznakh (Airborne Nahal) battalion of the Paratroopers (Tzanhanim) Brigade, the reserve battalion of which was instrumental in the Israeli victory in the Battle of Jerusalem during the Six-Day War (1967). Also, many Nahal-founded settlements are still thriving today in the Galilee, the Negev, and the West Bank (as well as formerly in the Sinai Peninsula and Gaza Strip).

Today, a gar'in refers to a group formed by a youth movement, such as the Israeli Scouts, for the purpose of volunteer work.


  1. The green beret of the Intelligence Directorate and Border police is a darker green than the lime green of Nahal. See this page:

  2. Not the first female Arab soldier in the IDF, the first female Arab combat soldier in the IDF.

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