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Genetic Hybridization and the Galil of Cows, Corn, and Israeli Assult Rifles

By Will Dabbs, MD

I once met an Israeli Aviator when I was a soldier. He asked me how far the nearest organized military threat was from my family. I answered truthfully maybe 5,000 miles. He observed that his children went to school 30 minutes by T72 tank from the nearest army bent upon the destruction of his people and his nation. Such stuff pervades their national consciousness. The Israelis are born fighting.

The birth of Israel as a contemporary nation in 1948 grew from the ashes of World War II and the aftermath of the Holocaust. 24 hours after the burgeoning state declared its independence and statehood its Arab neighbors invaded. Israel has been at war on and off ever since.

Early on, the young state of Israel was in dire need of weapons. Support for Israel by the international community has always been intermittent at best so developing a domestic source for small arms was a top priority for Israeli leaders in the years immediately following independence. This institutional desperation drove Major Uziel Gal to design the Uzi submachinegun, arguably the most robust and efficient subgun ever devised. The Uzi was heavy at around 9 pounds but it fed from 25 and 32-round box magazines, was built efficiently via industrial metal presses, and ran anywhere anytime no matter what. In so doing the Uzi kept the fledgling state of Israel alive during some of its most desperate hours and was subsequently exported to hotspots around the globe. Uzis were used by several European countries and were produced by FN under license. They were also liberally distributed across Africa. The Secret Service agents protecting President Reagan during his well-publicized assassination attempt carried Uzis.

The developing Israeli Army employed German and British surplus bolt action rifles like the Kar98k and Lee Enfield. Their first standardized infantry rifle was the FN FAL. While the FAL was a superb weapon for fighting in European forests it was found to be marginally reliable in the sandy places where Israeli soldiers served. As a result, drawing from...

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