Jewish Legion

1918 Mideast

1907 - The first organized Jewish defense organization was the Bar Giora, founded in Neve Tzedek, near Jaffa. The purpose of these village militias was to protect the growing number of Jewish settlements in Palestine founded by the waves of immigrants that began in the 1870s.

1909 - The Hashomer was founded in 1909 as a nation-wide reserve of guards, led by Yisrael Shohat and the original core of Bar Giora fighters, and including a large number of part-time workers and farmers.

1914 - During WWI, the Hashomer functioned to protect Jewish settlements from the Ottomans. During the war years, the Jaffa Group as founded, led by Eliyahu Golomb, that was centered in Tel Aviv and Jaffa. Several thousand Jews in Palestine were inducted into the Ottoman army. However, many Jews sought ways to help the British fight against the Turks. The Gideonites were founded by Aaron Aaronson to spy for the British.

1915 - The Zion Mule Corps was founded by John Henry Patterson and Joseph Trumpeldor to fight with the British army in Gallipoli.

1917 - After the evacuation from Gallipoli, Vladimir Jabotinsky sought to created a Jewish Legion to fight in Palestine. The British finally agreed in August to create the 38th King's Fusiliers from Zion Mule Corps veterans and Jewish volunteers, but they were not sent to Palestine.

1918 - The Fusiliers fought in Egypt in Sept. under Gen. Edmund Allenby, and in Jordan. Additional units, the 39th King's Fusiliers and teh 40th King's Fusiliers, were created with Jewish volunteers from America and Canada and Russia and Palestine, and were sent to Egypt.

1919 - The British formed a regiment called the First Judeans led by Colonel Eliezer Margolin to garrison in Palestine, but it was not used against the Arab revolt and was disbanded in 1921.

1920 - The Haganah was founded in Palestine as a all-Jewish self-defense force, but was considered illegal by the British administering the Palestine mandate.

1931 - The Jewish Agency and the National Council took control of the Haganah, but some radicals broke away and founded the National Military Organization, or Etzel.

1938 - The Haganah mobilized 20,000 Jewish "police" to help the British army suppress the Arab uprising.

1944 - The Jewish Brigade was founded and fought against the Nazis in northern Italy in the final months of the war.




revised 2/4/06 by Schoenherr | WWI Links | Topics | Bibliography | Maps | Songs | Picture Sources