Jewish Settlement Police

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Jewish Settlement Policeman 1942
A "ghaffir" (special policeman), of corporal rank, 1942, and a Ghaffir cap badge.

The Jewish Settlement Police (JSP) (Hebrew: משטרת היישובים העבריים‎, translit. Mishteret Ha-Yishuvim Ha-Ivri'yim) were a division of the Notrim established in Mandatory Palestine in 1936, during the 1936-39 Arab revolt.[1]


At the end of 1940, the JSP had about 15,000 members.[2] A field army based on the force was estimated to be 16,000 men and women strong in 1946.[3] According to a statement made by the Palestine Government in June 1947 and referenced by the United Nations Palestine Commission, the force itself was 1,929 men strong at the time.[4] In early 1948 the force was about 2,000 strong.[5]

The Settlement Police cooperated with the British to form a joint British-Jewish unit known as the Special Night Squads. These were commanded by a "fervent Christian Zionist"[6][7][8][9] British officer called Charles Orde Wingate, who was posted to Palestine in 1936. The Special Night Squads fought Arab guerrillas who attacked the Iraqi Petroleum Company pipeline.

The Haganah used the force as a "Training Centre" and put as many of its members through the JSP as possible: 13,455 between its formation and the end of 1945.[1] The British authorities provided special uniforms, guns, light trucks and some machine guns and allowed the force to control sections of land around Jewish villages and Kibbutzim.[10] The JSP also provided paramilitary training to Haganah units.[11] The force thus expanded the assets of the Haganah and helped to provide a legal basis for much of their activities.[12][13][14]

One notable member of the force was Ariel Sharon who joined the JSP in 1945 and became an instructor.[15][16] Another notable member was Yigal Allon. Both later served as Ministers in the Israeli government, Sharon also as Prime Minister; Allon was interim Prime Minister.


  1. ^ a b Levenberg, 1993, p. 156.
  2. ^ Zweig, 1970, p. 255.
  3. ^ Jewish Virtual Library - Chapter IX: Public Security
  4. ^ A report by UN Palestine Commission. Report dated 10 January 1948. Mentions the Jewish Settlement Police. Retrieved on 18 December 2006.
  5. ^ Khalaf, 1991, p. 209.
  6. ^ Black, 1992, p. 14.
  7. ^ Penkower, 1994, p. 112.
  8. ^ Kessler, 1996, p. 174.
  9. ^ Gal, 1986, p. 4.
  10. ^ Bar-On, 2004, pp. 27-28.
  11. ^ Rosenzweig, 1989, p. 110.
  12. ^ Federal Research Division, 2004, p. 285.
  13. ^ Gal, 1986, pp. 4-5.
  14. ^ Tal, 2004, p. 68.
  15. ^ Karsh, 2002, p. 69.
  16. ^ Tucker, 2001, p. 287.


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