This heritage site is the place where the Palmach was founded – right here in the Palmach Cave in Kibbutz Mishmar Haemek. Imagine that!! Yitzhak Sadeh chose this cave hidden on Mount Carmel to train the specialized units of the Palmach during the period of the British Mandate. This was years prior to the founding of the IDF.
- One such unit trained elite fighters to defend the Jewish settlements in the British Mandate Palestine from the expected invasion by Romel’s Nazi forces.
- Mistaravim fighters (Arab Platoon) trained to work in neighboring Arab countries.
- The German unit was meant to be assimilated in German units fighting in the western desert during World War II.
During the autumn of 1942, when there were fears of a German victory in the Middle East, Mishmar HaEmek was used as a training camp by the British army. 160 Jewish volunteers, who later were to become members of the Palmach branch of the Haganah, were trained by Royal Engineers in sabotage and wireless operation. Several tons of explosives were hidden in caches in case the area came under German occupation. This program was terminated immediately upon the training of the volunteers, and orders issued for the collection of all equipment and explosives to be returned to the British.
Kibbutz Mishmar Haemek was the site of one of the Palmach’s major battles in the War of Independence. On 4 April 1948, the kibbutz came under full scale attack by the Arab Liberation Army. The attack began with an artillery barrage from seven artillery pieces supplied by the Syrian Army. In the following counter-attack the Haganah destroyed eight neighbouring Arab villages.
A guided tour with Yesha Ekron is a once in a lifetime experience. Yesha has the canny ability to guide visitors of all age groups.
The Palmach Cave
The cave has an exhibition of WWII weapons in use by the Palmach. Two films are available: one for children and one for adults.
The Extreme Challenge Park
You like ODT? Try out the basic training exercises the Palmach recrutes had to master to become soldiers. The low climbing wall, rope bridges, obstacle route, the high climbing wall 6 meters high all await you to show your prowess.
Don’t forget to remind Yesha to ask you riddles with prizes.
We highly recommend the short hike the Palmach Forest Park near Mishmar Haemek. Climb up the volcano to see the Galilee and the Jezreel Valley. On a clear day you can see Mount Hermon.
The Palmach was organized in the summer of 1941 in cooperation with the British Mandate. British military authorities agreed to joint operations against Vichy French forces in Lebanon and Syria. Yitzhak Sadeh was named as Palmach commander. In 1943, a few months after the Germans were routed at El Alamein, cooperation between the Haganah and the British army came to an end, and the Palmach was forced to finance itself by working on Kibbutzim. The Palmach became the elite fighting force of the Haganah, the underground army of the Yishuv (Jewish community).
Directions: Kibbutz Mishmar Ha’emek
Entrance fee: includes all the activities.
Contact: Lealeh Ekron: 052-4471109, 04-9898946 firstname.lastname@example.org