The Israeli Galil

By Frank Iannamico

Created Out of Need for an Indigenous Rifle Combining the Reliability of the AK and Accuracy of the FAL

Galil History

The Balfour Declaration was a statement issued by the British government during World War I, announcing support for the establishment of a National home for the Jewish people in Palestine. The British pledge of support for a Jewish homeland in Palestine did not sit well with the Arabs living in the region. Fearing possible attacks, the Jews created a defense organization called the Hashomer. During 1920, the Hashomer was replaced by a larger and more organized group called the Haganah. The group’s primary mission was the defense of Jewish settlements. During World War II, many Jews left Germany to settle in Palestine. This further strained relations with the Arabs. At the end of World War II, many desperate Holocaust survivors traveled to the Jewish settlements. Due to the growing influx of people, friction between the Arabs and the Jews increased. During this time Jewish underground groups began assembling secret arsenals to defend their settlements. Hiding weapons was necessary because of British attempts to disarm the Jews to quell the fighting. Most of the weapons used during the period were World War II surplus. The British Sten gun was popular during the early period because they were easy to use, manufacture and conceal. In addition to British-made Stens, the guns were produced locally in Israeli factories.

In 1947, the United Nations proposed a plan calling for separate Jewish and Arab states in Palestine. In 1948, the Jews declared the independent state of Israel; they immediately came under attack from their Arab neighbors Syria, Jordan, Lebanon, Egypt and an expeditionary force from Iraq. The Israeli government had organized several small existing defense organizations into one, creating the Israeli Defense Force (IDF). During their early conflicts, weapons were procured from Czechoslovakia and France. However, the Israeli government did not want to depend on foreign countries to supply weapons and ammunition, and many of the weapons being fielded by the Israelis proved unreliable in the desert environment.

During the 1950s,...

This article first appeared in Small Arms Review V22N1 (January 2018)
and was posted online on November 17, 2017


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