(Hebrew for "defense") A Zionist paramilitary group formed in 1920 with the expressed goal of defending the growing Jewish population in British mandate Palestine
against attacks by Arab residents. The group later became part of the Jewish resistance against the British presence. In addition to its paramilitary activities, the Haganah actively established new Jewish settlements in and supported illegal Jewish immigration to Palestine. Upon the establishment of the State of Israel
in 1948, the Haganah formed the core of the Israeli
army. See Righteous Victims: A History of the Zionist-Arab Conflict, 1881-2001
, Benny Morris, Vintage Books, 2001; and One Palestine, Complete: Jews and Arabs Under the British Mandate
, Tom Segev, Henry Holt and Company, 2000. See also "The Army Called 'Haganah,'
" Sam Pope Brewer, the New York Times, Feb 29, 1948; and the official Haganah website