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Nahal

From Academic Kids

Nahal is a Hebrew acronym for Noar Halutzi Lohem (Fighting Pioneer Youth) and refers to a scheme for Israeli youth that combines active military service with "civilian" service, the latter usually in a new agricultural settlement. The Nahal includes also an Israel Defence Forces infantry brigade, and lately even a special unit called Karakal (קרקל) open for both men and women (the first unit in the IDF to do so).

In the past, Nahal's main task was promoting Jewish settlement in Israel. Nahal settlements were established in frontier regions where Jewish population was sparse, such as the Negev and the Galilee. Since the Six Day War (1967), most Nahal settlements were established in the Occupied Territories - the West Bank, the Gaza Strip, the Golan Heights and the Sinai.

The Nahal has several service programs:

  • Regular infantry - training and service in the Nahal brigade is like in any other infantry brigade soldier in the IDF. The Nahal infantry brigade is considered as a high quality unit and has good reputation. They are distinguished with light green ("sticklight") berets.
  • Karkal - light infantry battalion in which male and female soldiers are serving together. They are currently assign in security mission on Israel's border with Egypt and Jordan.
  • Military service for new immigrants and non-Israeli Jewish volunteers ( מח"ל ).
  • Nahal Haredi - Netzah Yehuda Battalion - this is a special infantry unit for Haredi Jews. The unit is open only for religious Jews and the IDF makes sure they will be able to keep all the Jewish commandments and laws (mitzvot).
  • Gariney Nahal (גרעיני נח"ל) - in the history, they combined their military service with the establishment of new agricultural settlements (called Nahal settlments) and the development of older settlements and towns (settlers). Today some of them still do that, but a large part of them are doing community service in poor neighbourhoods and help the needy instead of erecting new settlements. Many of Israel's kibbutzim and villages were founded by Nahal settlers, who also protected them.
  • The Nahal band - a famous military band known for its canonical Eretz Israel songs which have become classics. The band gave birth to many Israeli entertainment talents such as Tuvya Tzafir, Neomy Polani, Gidi Gov and more.he:נח"ל
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