The Palmach was formed in 1941 at the height of World War II in the wake of growing fears of an invasion by German forces into Eretz Israel. The purpose of the organization was to prepare the military infrastructure for military resistance to the German army. When World War II ended, the efforts of the Palmach were redirected to the struggle against the British Mandate in Palestine as well as to efforts to save Holocaust survivors and bring them to Eretz Israel.
The crowning achievement of the Palmach’s activities was the fight for Israel’s independence in 1948, playing a central role, and spearheaded the establishment of the Israeli Defense Forces. The Palmach was not merely a military organization. It was also a social-ideological organization, founded on the values of pioneering settlement. The story of the Palmach, a self-sufficient army, is the story of its members during the period when volunteer pioneering activities were the social ideal and way of life for many.
The exhibition in Beit Hapalmach is a walk through experience called “The Journey of the Palmach".”The journey” is a tour of the geographical landscapes and historical events of the period. It follows in the footsteps of a group of young people who joined the Palmach upon its establishment. This is a dramatic story set on a theatrical background, based on documentary material. The development of the events, the historical background, the nature and activities of the Palmach are all presented through the prism of the personal stories of the members of the group. The backdrop for these stories, the “group story,” is the scenery, constructed as scenes accompanied by a sound track, films, adours and other special effects. The presentation is constructed in chronological order and the transition from scene to scene signifies a transition of one year in time.
The tour begins in the memorial hall, which is dedicated to the memory of the 1135 fallen Palmach soldiers. Visits to Beit Hapalmach are conducted in groups of 15-25. This group size is compatible with the manner in which the exhibition is organized, which involves a series of scenes changing at fixed intervals. The group visit underscores the intense esprit de corps of the Palmach and contributes to the identification between the visitor and the topic of the exhibition. The tour takes approximately 70 minutes. It centers on a group of young people, members of the Palmach, and is sequential and set within a fixed timeframe. The changing lights, sounds, voices and other effects indicate the transition from one scene to the next. The tour involves 12 scenes, each representing a different topic.