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Founding and organization
The brigade was founded in March 1948 with two battalions, the 2nd and 8th. The 7th Battalion was created in April, with the 9th Battalion being the last of the four. Yisrael Galili, the Haganah Chief of Staff, and Yigal Allon, the Palmach commander, chose Sarig to command the brigade in December 1947, although the residents of the Negev and David Ben-Gurion appointed Shaul Avigur instead, without Sarig's knowledge. After Avigur toured the Negev, he told Ben-Gurion that he would not be able to command the brigade, citing deteriorating health, and praised Sarig.
It was commanded by Nahum "Sergei" Sarig (which is why it was also called Sergei Brigade) and consisted of four Palmach battalions. The Negev Brigade participated in many operations in the Negev Desert, including Operation Yoav in the latter part of the war. Sarig decided to divide the Negev into two sectors, divided by the Beersheba–Gaza road (later Highway 25). Yigal Allon then named Haim Bar-Lev as the commander of the southern sector—the 8th Battalion.
The Palmach memorial website records the names of 312 of its members who died whilst in the Negev Brigade.
Negev Brigade's raid on Bir Hama Airport during Operation Horev
Haim Bar Lev, as Commander of the 8th Battalion of the 12th Negev Brigade (1948)
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