The Hagana

The Hagana underground paramilitary organization was founded in 1920 to defend the Yishuv - the Jewish community in Palestine - against Arab violence. It fought and repelled murderous attacks in 1920,1929 and throughout the Arab rebellion in 1936-1939. In WW-II, Hagana was deployed to fight an eventual German invasion. It also mobilized 30,000 to fight with Britain against the Nazi enemy, and participated in the conquest of Lebanon and Syria. After the war Hagana launched a civilian and armed struggle in Palestine against the British authorities, which blocked immigration of Holocaust survivors and banned new Jewish settlements.

During the Arab rebellion (1936-1939), Hagana initiated the founding of 52 new settlements, known as Stockade and Tower, and defended them. In a single night in 1946 Hagana set up 11 new settlements in the Negev, which secured the south as part of Israel, and took part in founding and defending many more, despite British denial and Arab armed resistance. These settlements played a major role in defining the borders of the new State of Israel.

Since the early 1930's, Hagana started to smuggle into Palestine Jewish immigrants defying British restrictions. During WW-II and after, the British put severe limits on immigration. Hagana launched extended operations (known as Ha'apala, a.k.a Aliya Bet), at sea and by land, to rescue tens of thousands who survived the death camps and the war, and to smuggle Jews from Arab States. Tens of vessels carrying the survivors tried to force the British naval blockade. Some succeeded but most were caught and their immigrants deported to Cyprus and other countries. Altogether, Hagana brought in over 100,000 Jews who increased the Jewish population by almost 25%.

Despite being an underground illegal organization, Hagana was preparing to become the armed force of the future state: by training corps of commanders and thousands of combatants, formulating original strategies and tactics, incorporating military knowhow of foreign armies. Hagana created unique military formations: Palmach – the only standing field forces, homeguard, youth battalions, air and naval units, signals, intelligence groups and other services, and started manufacturing arms and ammunition. Hagana always operated under the control and direction of the national Jewish authorities. When the War of Independence broke out Hagana became IDF (Israel Defense Force; Hebrew: Tzahal).

In the centre of the stamp appears the emblem of Hagana: a sword and olive-branch. Today this emblem is awarded to all the graduates of the IDF officers' courses and is called the "Platoon Commander's Pin". On the lower part of the stamp is the IDF emblem. The stamp's tab carries the Hagana's oath and badge, the latter was presented in 1958 to all members of the organization.

The stamp was issued in 1990 to commemorate 70 years to the establishment of Hagana. Designers: R. Dayagi & M. Galitziano.