Nahal Brigade Insignia
|Part of||162nd Division ("Steel Formation"), Central Command|
|Motto(s)||"The Human Advantage"|
|Colors||Light green beret ("glow stick green"), Green & White Flag|
|March||"Ha-Nachal Kan" ("The Nahal is here")|
|Engagements||Suez War (Mitla Pass); Six-Day War (reunification of Jerusalem, Umm-Katef); First Lebanon War; First Intifada; Second Intifada; Second Lebanon War; Gaza War|
|Colonel Yehuda Fuchs|
The Nahal Infantry Brigade is an infantry unit of the Israel Defense Forces. It was formed in 1982 due to the growing need for infantry manpower in the wake of the 1982 Lebanon War. It is formed from a core of soldiers from the Nahal group, part of the Nahal movement, which combines social volunteerism, agriculture (historically the establishment of kibbutz farming communities) and military service.
Nahal Brigade soldiers are distinguished by their light green berets, which earned them the nickname "sticklights" (Hebrew for glowsticks). The brigade is composed of 4 active-duty battalions – 50, 931, 932, and 934 (the Gadsa"r, Hebrew for reconnaissance battalion) – and the various companies on its training base, which together comprise Battalion 933.
The 50th Battalion has a unique makeup. Two thirds of its companies are made up of bnei gar'inim, groups that spend a year running programs in lower socio-economic communities before being drafted to the army. Following that year, they go through infantry training, taking around 8 months, and then serve in the same manner as other infantry units for about a year. This period is followed by around half a year of community service, at the end of which their term of service closes with another 4–6 months as infantrymen. The other third of the 50th battalion is composed of bakumistim, or soldiers who draft regularly to the unit through the Bakum.
Battalions 931 and 932 are composed entirely of soldiers who draft through the Bakum.
Prior to 2006, it was the case both that prospective soldiers were required to pass a two-day gibbush (selection phase) before being drafted in order to get into the 50th Battalion and that part of the battalion's training comprised a paratrooper course after advanced infantry training (hence Nahal Mutznaḥ, or Airborne Nahal, the name of the battalion before being appended to the Nahal brigade). Since 2006, however, both the gibbush and the paratrooper course were dropped and the 50th became a regular infantry battalion. In 2010 Nahal soldiers from the 50th Battalion produced IDF Tick Tock, a viral video of themselves dancing as a flash mob in the streets of Hebron.
The fourth active-duty Nahal battalion, the Gadsa"r (Reconnaissance battalion), was created in the early 1990s to serve as a special forces detachment for the brigade. Soldiers wishing to serve in this elite battalion must pass a three-day gibush, or tryout, after which they are dispersed into specialized training programs for each of the three companies that make up the battalion: the Palsa"r (Reconnaissance Company), the Palna"t (Anti-Tank Company, commonly known as the Orev company), and the Palha"n (Engineering and Explosives Company). Soldiers in this battalion undergo an additional 8 months of training in krav maga, urban combat, navigation, camouflage, parachuting and other specialized courses. During periods of low intensity conflict, the companies are tasked with capturing enemies of the state and serve as counter-terrorism forces, raiding terrorist homes and hideouts. Gadsa"r Nahal won the IDF Chief of Staff prize in 2010 for best land combat unit.