Founded as enlisted fighting-brigades of the Haganah, the Palmach serves as an assault and defensive force of the Yishuv until folded into the Israeli Army after the state’s establishment. Headed by Yitzhak Sadeh and operating clandestinely, the Palmach is forced to fund itself by having its members work at kibbutzim to pay for their room, board and training. Early Palmach members include Yigal Alon, Moshe Kelman, and Yitzhak Rabin. Its numbers are variously estimated at 3-5,000, and significantly more than 1,000 were women.
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