Palestine Regiment

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Palestine Regiment
Active 1942-1944
Country  United Kingdom
Branch  British Army
Type Infantry
Size 2,800 volunteers

The Palestine Regiment was an infantry regiment of the British Army that was formed in 1942.[1] During the Second World War, the regiment was deployed to Egypt and Cyrenaica, but most of their work consisted of guard duty.[2] Some Palestine Regiment members were killed in Benghazi, where they fought heavy battles against the Germans.[3]


In 1940, Jews and Arabs living under the British Mandate for Palestine were allowed to form separate companies, known as Palestine Infantry Companies, and join the Royal East Kent Regiment, known as the "Buffs". [1][2] The establishment of the first Jewish Infantry Company was completed in September, 1940, within the framework of the "Buffs" and 14 more Jewish Companies were raised, in which about 5,300 men served. Their missions included security, guarding installations and escorting convoys in Palestine. Their training exercises were extremely limited. The arms they were given were from First World War surplus. The declared intent of the British to recruit an equal number of Jews and Arabs did not occur. [4]

Formation and Service[edit]

The Palestine Regiment was formed in 1942 with the Palestine Infantry Companies that were attached to the Buffs.[1] The regiment was divided into separate Jewish and Arab battalions.[5] According to historian Ashley Jackson the regiment consisted of 1600 Jews and 1200 Arabs[1] but according to writer Howard Blum, Jews outnumbered Arabs by a more than three to one ratio.[4]

The Jewish companies were then formed into three battalions, which became the new Palestine Regiment.[2]

Personnel of the Palestine Regiment later formed the core of the Jewish Brigade.[1]


  1. ^ a b c d e Jackson, Ashley (2006). The British Empire and the Second World War. Continuum International Publishing Group. p. 141. ISBN 978-1-85285-417-1. 
  2. ^ a b c Frank, Benis M. (July 4, 1997). "The Jewish Company of the Shanghai Volunteer Corps Compared With Other Jewish Diaspora Fighting Units". Retrieved 16 August 2010. 
  3. ^ Kessler, Oren (4 March 2012). "Libyans desecrate British, Italian, Jewish graves". The Jerusalem Post. Retrieved 4 March 2012. 
  4. ^ a b Blum, Howard (2002). The Brigade: An Epic Story of Vengeance, Salvation, and WWII. Hardscrabble Entertainment. p. 5. 
  5. ^ Walker, Bob. The Politics of Religious Zionism. p. 67. ISBN 978-1-4092-5731-8.