Derived from the Hebrew words Noar Halutzi Lohaim, meaning "Fighting Pioneering Youth"; a formation within the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) that combines military training and operations with pioneering settlement and agricultural training. After completing basic training, Nahal groups are allocated to settlements for a period of combined agriculture and military training. The Na-hal program derived from the security needs of the pioneering agricultural settlements that developed from the immigration (see ALIYA) to Palestine starting in the latter part of the 19th century.
   The hostile environment and security situation in Palestine helped to dictate the requirement for self-defense against armed attack. The Nahal program was formalized in the summer of 1948 by Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion for the specific purpose of encouraging the flow of people into the agricultural settlements and maintaining the pioneering spirit. The Nahal was the natural continuation of the pioneering traditions of the waves of immigration to Israel. Since its establishment, Nahal has created new settlements and assisted in the establishment of others. It has opened up undeveloped areas and created a presence at sensitive border points. Originally a unit within Gadna, it was separated from it in September 1949. On 1 August 1998, Nahal officially disappeared as a separate branch of the IDF and became a part of the education and Gadna branch.

Historical Dictionary of Israel. .

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