5 of the best military history museums in Israel

May 7th 2018

Israel has a rich military history dating back from before the establishment of the modern state in 1948. Few other countries in the world have faced so many repeated attacks against its borders and in such a relatively short space of time. It’s for good reason the military is held in such high regard by Israelis and it’s why there are so many interesting military history museums throughout the country.

The military is integral to the history and existence of Israel today. If you want to learn more about the foundations of the Israeli Defense Forces and discover some amazing stories of heroism, then the following museums will be well worth a visit.

Ammunition Hill/ 1967 War Trenches

One of the defining moments of the Six Day War in 1967 was the reunification of Jerusalem. For the first time in 1,900 years, the Holy City was once again under Jewish control. The city was reunified when Israeli troops defeated the Jordanians in a heroic battle, part of which involved overrunning the enemy hiding in a complex system of trenches.

The Ammunition Hill Memorial and Museum, located on the western slope of Mount Scopus in Jerusalem – where the battle took place – tells the story of the valiant soldiers who led the fight into the Holy City. The museum features reconstructed bunkers, pillboxes, and exhibits detailing the events of those momentous days.

Palmach Museum in Tel Aviv

The Palmach was an elite fighting force which formed part of the Haganah, a Jewish paramilitary organization active during the British Mandate period. The underground resistance movement evolved to protect Jewish communities from Arab attacks and organize what then was considered illegal Jewish immigration into the region.

The Palmach Museum, located in the Ramat Aviv neighborhood of Tel Aviv, is dedicated to the history of this famous underground movement. The museum houses a series of fascinating multi-media experience chambers, located underground, showing the story of how the Palmach helped create the modern State of Israel.

 IDF Airforce Base Museum in Be’er Sheva

The IDF Airforce museum is located within the Hatzerim Airbase just outside the southern Israeli city of Be’er Sheva. The museum features more than 150 airplanes and chronicles the history of the air force in Israel, including from before the establishment of the modern State. There are also features on anti-aircraft weaponry and some incredibly war tales as told by pilots of old.

From WWII-era Spitfires to the modern F-15s and Kfirs, there is an aircraft from every year and for every interest. You’ll also get to learn more about the development of the Israeli Air Force (IAF) to what it is today.

Latrun Tank Museum

The Latrun Tank Museum (Yad La-Shiryon) is Israel’s official memorial site for fallen soldiers from the armored corps. The memorial site and museum is located on the road between Tel Aviv and Jerusalem, in and around a Mandate-era hilltop police station. With more than 110 tanks and armored vehicles, it’s considered one of the most diverse tank museums in the world.

The tanks include those developed by the Israeli military (including the renowned Merkava) and tanks either purchased from allies (like the M24 Chaffee from the US) or captured from enemies (like the Egyptian T-100).

Etzel Museum in Tel Aviv

The Etzel Museum is a small tightly-focused museum showcasing the story of the Zionist paramilitary organization known as the Irgun (Etzel). The exhibits feature the Irgun’s history and combat activities during the War of Independence (particularly the battle to liberate Jaffa).

The museum is conveniently situated on the Tel Aviv seafront, in the Charles Clore Garden, just north of Jaffa. It’s a great place to visit when taking a stroll along the beach.