For all those Israeli history buffs out there, the Hagana Museum in Tel aviv is a place that must not be missed. The Museum is located on 23 Rothschild Boulevard and is beside the home of Eliyahu Golomb who was one of the founders of the Hagana, the pre-State Jewish military force that later evolved into the Israel Defense Force-the army of the State of Israel- in 1948.
The Hagana was established in 1920 and operated under the auspices of the Worker's Union (known as Histadrut in Hebrew) for the next decade. After the Arab riots at the end of the twenties, the Hagana became the official, secret military wing of the Zionist Jewish Agency and the National Jewish Committee of Palestine.
The Hagana was commanded by six public figures that were selected from across the political spectrum. The Hagana viewed their main goal as providing security for the Jewish citizens and their property against the prevalent Arab violence.
The Hagana museum presents the history of the Israeli military from the time of the farm-field watchmen at the end of the nineteenth century, the creation of the Hagana in 1920, the Hagana's defense against the Arab uprisings in the twenties and thirties through to the Hagana' fight against the British in the 1948 War of Independence.
The first floor of the Hagana Museum is actually a biographical display of Eliyahu Golomb's life. The upper floors presents documents, photographs, multimedia presentations and actual objects from the period that all bring to life the thrilling story of the Hagana. The third floor is dedicated to showing visitors how the members of the Hagana would hide arms in farm machinery and how they would manufacture grenades and guns in Kibbutz workshops. In fact, there's a homemade grenade with the letters USA stamped on it so if the Hagana member was caught with it on him, the British wouldn't suspect that it had been made locally. The joke is that the letters USA are the first letters of three Yiddish words meaning "our piece of work"!
Although the majority of the explanatory captions in the four-storey museum are in Hebrew, there are English-speaking interpreters who are more than happy to help.