The struggle of kibbutz women to participate in guard duties during the Arab Revolt, 1936-1939

Meir Chazan*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


While problems of women's military service in Israel today are attracting increasing scholarly attention, there is little systematic discussion of the events and processes that laid the foundation for the present situation. This article discusses this topic as it emerged in the kibbutz movement during the Arab Revolt of 1936-39 in Palestine. The attempts of women to participate in guarding activities during the British Mandate reveal changes in their self-image during the first half of the twentieth century and the extent to which their aspirations were accepted and realized in the public sphere - security being one of its components. Although this article focuses on security, the issues raised are tightly connected to the social life of women on the kibbutz, the areas of their work, and their involvement in public activities. The kibbutz bulletins, the annual celebrations of International Working Women's Day, women's conventions, ideological seminars, and meetings of the Women Workers' Council reveal the transformations in kibbutz women's role in security matters during the Arab Revolt.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)83-108
Number of pages26
JournalJournal of Israeli History
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1 Mar 2012


  • Arab Revolt
  • Haganah
  • Palestine
  • gender
  • kibbutz
  • women's military service


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