July 28th 2015
A yuppie haven located on the edge of northern Tel Aviv, Ramat Aviv is home to several museums, so it’s worth asking what makes the Palmach Museum such a worthy attraction, as compared to all of the other popular destinations in the area. The answer is a combination of the dramatic historical events covered here and the creative experiential format, through role playing and multi-media, that the museum offers visitors as a memorable hook for absorbing this compelling content.
The Palmach was the elite defense unit – what today would be called “Special Forces” – of the pre-state para-military force, the Hagana, founded by the Zionists of Palestine. Without the Palmach, establishing the state would have been a far more precarious endeavor than it ultimately was.
Learning about the Palmach, its intrigue and exploits are extremely interesting and potentially exciting when studied from a history textbook. But when the soldiers, the terrain and the sounds of battle come to life, as it were, through film, special effects, real-life characterizations and décor that incorporates the historical reality, then the museum visitor has a far greater chance of appreciating the travails, motivation and thrill of triumph that was experienced by the actual Palmach fighters in their day.
Creating this powerful multi-media experience took the museum’s management nearly ten years. Was it worth it?
Museum visitors nearly universally rave about the experience, and the museum’s director, Ilan Lev, is often lauded for the effectiveness of his facility’s conveying the period and reality of Palmach fighters. Perhaps the element of the museum that best exemplifies Lev’s ideal is the way museum visitors travel through a series of chambers to capture the Palmach experience in groups – even solo visitors are assigned to groups – for personal embodiment of the team spirit that thrived so vibrantly in every pioneer Zionist.
Note that because the tour is conducted only with groups, your visit must be scheduled prior to your arrival. Groups of up to 25 people, aged six and up, travel the museum for 90 minutes each, with the option of Hebrew or English with live tour guides, and Russian, French, and Spanish via headphone recordings.