Golani Brigade: the Root of the Israeli Defence Force

Founded on February 22, 1948, the Golani Brigade is the only continuously operating infantry in the Israeli Defense Force since the creation of the army. It is considered the most rugged infantry unit in Israel. Their primary job is to protect the Israeli border. They have been instrumental in many victories, and without them, several wars would have been lost.

When you read this article, you can learn:

  • Training to Become a Golani Soldier
  • Badge of Honor: the Golani Uniform
  • Success on the Battlefield
  • You Too Can Feel the Pride of the Brigade

Training to Become a Golani Soldier

In its inception, the original Brigade had many diverse people. Some of the first members were part of the Haganah, a secret military organization; some were residents of the settlement communities in areas of fighting; and some of the members were men who enlisted from different regions of the country.

Today, the recruits go through months of training to become a part of this prestigious military group. They begin with four months of basic training. In this training, they focus on the foundations and basic concepts of the rifleman. They also stress individual training, navigating the field, training in marksmanship, warfare in open spaces, helicopter deployment skills, the use of unique weapons, and physical fitness.

Once recruits pass the first phase of their training, they move on to three more months of training in the field. Then, their training transitions from open-field to close-quarters warfare training. Also, they focus on specific vehicle instruction, such as the Hummer. Added to the training are guerilla warfare, parachute exercises, and grenade practice. The recruits put these skills in practice by taking on active roles in security on and around the Brigade’s bases.

Once training has ended, recruits are now certified as 07 riflemen. To mark the end of their training, soldiers take a 50-90 kilometer hike to Mt. Hermon. There, they hike to the top to receive the unit’s badge. Afterward, there is a celebration with fellow soldiers, family, and friends.

Badge of Honor: the Golani Uniform

To wear the Golani uniform is not only a privilege but a display of honor and history. At the end of grueling training, the first thing the new soldiers receive is their warrior pin. On the pin are three symbols. The first is the Golani tree; the tree represents the original fighters’ connection to the land. The second symbol is the sword of Gideon, a Biblical war hero. And finally, two lightning bolts represent the spirit and energy of the Brigade.

Part of their new uniform is an insignia. One of the images on the badge is of an olive tree with its roots buried deep into a yellow background. The tree was designed by an intelligence officer who was a member of the 12th Battalion. The roots of the olive tree grow deep and hold firm to the soil. The illustrator felt this was the perfect metaphor for the connection between the Brigade and the State of Israel’s history.

The green and yellow colors on the badge also have relevance. The green represents the hills of Galilee, where, during the creation of the State of Israel, the Brigade was first stationed. The yellow background represents the Brigade’s position in the south of Israel in the war of 1948.

Part of the uniform is a brown beret. In the Brigade’s infancy, most of the soldiers were either farmers or immigrants. As a way to honor their tie to the land, the soldiers wear a brown beret as a symbolic connection to the land.

Success on the Battlefield

Specialized training and pride in their country have led the Golani Brigade to many successes. When the Brigade first joined the Israeli Defence Force, it participated in numerous battles in the War of Independence. After the official declaration of the founding of Israel, 7 Arab armies attacked the country. The Brigade was called into action to help combat this threat. The battles took them to the Jordan Valley, where they encountered Syrian, Jordanian, Lebanese, and Iraqi armies. The Brigade showed its resourcefulness by having to use a mishmash of weapons, everything from British machine guns to Czech rifles. They also used Molotov cocktails to stop the advancement of Syrian troops.

During the War of Independence, the Brigade also participated in the Operations: Dekel, Assaf, Hiram, and Horev. Their final mission, Operation Ovahah, was the capture of the Negev in. Their success resulted not only in the capture of the Southern Negev, but the territory to the Red Sea.

The Brigade went on to participate in the Sinai Campaign in 1956. The battle occurred at the Syrian outpost located on the border of the Golan Heights. The objective was not only to capture the area of Rafah but to provide Israeli armored forces a clear path for advancement into Egyptian territory.

Following this campaign, the Brigade participated in the 1967- 6 Day War. The Golani Brigade was assigned to the Jordan/Syria arena. Here, they backed armored forces in their efforts to capture Zaurah and the Banias. This effort redefined their capacity to that of reinforcing outposts in the area along the Suez canal, securing the length of the new border, and going after terrorists.

You Too Can Feel the pride of the Brigade

You can feel the same pride as the Brigade without all the training. Many Israeli Military stores sell items that allow you to find your way of showing pride and support. Memorabilia include practical items such as watches, boots, and lighters. You can also have fun by sporting a ball cap or a more authentic brown beret. Choose spirited options like a t-shirt, wallet, or key chain. There are many choices for you to show your pride and support for the Golani Brigade.

Conclusion

The many military successes Israel achieved would not have been possible without the support and strength of the Golani Brigade. They continue to safeguard Israel’s borders and protect its citizens from terrorist attacks. They are the elite.

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