Gdud HaAvoda

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Gdud HaAvoda VeHaHaganah al shem Yosef Trumpeldor (Hebrew: גדוד העבודה וההגנה על־שם יוסף טרומפלדור‎, lit. Joseph Trumpeldor Work and Defence Battalion), commonly known in Hebrew as Gdud HaAvoda and in English as the Labor Brigade or Work Battalion, was a socialist Zionist work group in Mandate Palestine.

The group was established on 8 August 1920, with the three focuses of work, settlement and defence.[1] It was named after Joseph Trumpeldor, who was killed at Tel Hai by Arabs, and was joined by many of Trumpeldor's followers who had made aliyah from Crimea; initial membership was around 80. The "defence" part of the name was dropped to avoid antagonising the British authorities.

The group was open to anyone. It drained swamps, paved roads, worked in agriculture and construction, establishing several kibbutzim, including Ein Harod (22 September 1921), Kfar Giladi, Ramat Rachel and Tel Yosef (14 December 1921). Many former members left to join the Solel Boneh construction company after learning their trade in the battalion.

In 1923 the battalion split on ideological grounds; the left-wing demanded socialism, whilst the right-wing were more interested in Zionist pioneering. Despite the split, by 1925 the group had over 650 members, including Israel Shochat, Manya Shochat and Yitzhak Sadeh.[1]

In December 1926 a communist faction of the battalion was expelled. Some members of the faction returned to Russia, where they formed a commune named Vojo Nova (Esperanto for "A New Way"), which was later liquidated during the Stalinist purges. The following year Gdud HaAvoda stopped work, and in 1929 it was dissolved after Kfar Giladi, Ramat Rachel, Tel Hai and Tel Yosef formed the HaKibbutz HaMeuhad movement.[1]


  1. ^ a b c Gdud Ha'avodah Zionism and Israel