The Palmach Museum is located in Ramat Aviv and is dedicated to the Palmach strike-force of the Haganah defense organization that operated prior to the establishment of the State of Israel in 1948. The museum was opened in 2000 to commemorate the contribution of the Palmach to the establishment of Israel. The museum building, Palmach House, has an interesting design by Zvi Hecker and Rafi Seal with a series of underground chambers.
What was the Palmach?
The Haganah (Hebrew for Defense) was a Jewish paramilitary organization established in 1920 at a time when the British ruled Palestine. Their purpose was to protect the Yishuv (Jewish communities in British Mandate Palestine) mainly from Arab attacks. The Haganah consisted on three main branches – Field Corps; Guard Corps and the Palmach which was established in 1941 as the Haganah’s elite fighting force. By 1948 the Palmach had 2,000 male and female fighters in three brigades as well as naval, aerial and intelligence units. The name Palmach is an acronym of the Hebrew words for “Strike Force.”With the establishment of the State of Israel the Palmach became the core of the new Israeli Defense Force.
Visiting the Palmach Museum
The museum uses multimedia to immerse visitors into Palmach history. The Story of the Palmach is told through the individual experiences of people and groups that were involved in the Palmach’s history. This type of museum experience is called an experiential museum experience. Visitors “become” part of a group of young recruits joining the Palmach and as they progress through the museum so the characters progress through the history of the Palmach culminating in the 1948 War of Independence. The innovative exhibition method uses no displays of documents or conventional exhibits but rather uses 3D décor, film, special effects and multimedia to teach about the Palmach.
Visits to the museum are in guided groups which are led through a series of chambers starting and ending in the Memorial Hall which honors Palmach fighters. Subjects covered in the museum include the establishment of the Palmach; struggles against the British; the War of Independence; the dismantling of the Palmach; structure and military thinking of the Palmach; female Palmach members; culture; folklore and the contribution and legacy of the Palmach. The museum is within Palmach House where you can also find a library, archive and photo gallery.