HaShomer (The Watchman)
early jewish self-defense organization, 1909-1920
A key feature of kibbutz life was the formation of a semi-professional Jewish guard force called HaShomer — the Watchman. It was a socialist militia charged with protecting Jewish settlements. Where possible the guards lived communally and spoke only Hebrew. They started with 26 men but soon began training others, believing that all Jewish farmers should know how to take up arms and fight in self-defense. Joseph Trumpeldor and David Ben Gurion were both active members. HaShomer was disbanded with the creation of the Haganah in 1920.