The Haganah Museum tells the story of the Haganah that defended the Jewish Yishuv during the British Mandate.
The museum is located in Tel Aviv, in the house of Eliyahu Golomb, founder and leader of the Haganah.
The house, built in 1923, became the Haganah’s secret headquarters.
Once the State was established, and at risk of the building being torn down, the Haganah members decided to convert the house into a Haganah Museum.
The museum includes two rooms that have been preserved as they were when they were used for meetings.
Critical decisions for the Jewish settlement in the Land of Israel were made in these rooms.
The museum also includes three floors which tell the story of the Jewish settlement under the British Mandate and it’s defense.
The First Floor: 1907-1945
This floor exhibits the history of the Jewish Yishuv and the Haganah from the establishment of the earliest defense organizations – Bar Giora (1907) and Hashomer (1909).
This floor also includes a depiction of the violent riots against Jews could not rely on the British to defend them leading to the creation of Haganah organization.
This exhibit discusses the White Papers and the outbreak of World War II.
It depicts the story of the voluntary Jewish enlistment to the British Army, the establishment of the Palmach and the Jewish Brigade Group.
It also shows the encounter with European Holocaust survivors and displaced persons, and the beginnings of and illegal immigration movements.
Second Floor: 1945-1947
This floor features exhibits from the period of the illegal immigration and the struggle following WWII.
Haganah soldiers volunteered in the British Army, the Jewish guards and the establishment of the Palmach during the Second World War.
This was when Palmach, the Haganah’s striking force, was established due to fears of a German invasion.
The immigration was organized by the Aliyah Bet Organization – a secret branch of the Haganah.
Although most of the illegal ships were arrested by the British, and the immigrants aboard were transferred to detention camps, the influx of illegal ships increased.
This floor also features the clandestine purchase and production of weapons and ammunition in clandestine plants.
In October 1945, they joined with Etzel and Lehi in to create the Jewish Resistance Movement and initiate an armed struggle against the British.
The Haganah’s activities aimed to undermine the immigration restrictions and the persecution of illegal immigrants.
The Resistance Movement’s activity climaxed with the Night of the Bridges when the Palmach attacked eleven bridges that connected Israel with its neighboring countries.
Third Floor: 1947-1948
This floor features the events starting with the Independence War.
The exhibit includes an audi-visual presentation depicting the key battles of war, with a special focus on the battle for besieged Jerusalem.
The museum visit ends with an audiovisual display presenting 1948 and the establishment of the IDF on June 1, 1948.
Then Prime Minister and Minister of Defense David Ben Gurion, issued an order for the formation of a military.
This lead to the swearing in of members of the Haganah, Etzel, and Lehi, forming the Israel Defense Forces.
Ben Gurion wrote: “Upon the establishment of the State of Israel, the Haganah transformed from an undercover militant group into a regular army.”