Negev Brigade
The 12th Negev Brigade was an Israel
The State of Israel is a parliamentary republic located in the Middle East, along the eastern shore of the Mediterranean Sea...

i infantry brigade that served in the 1948 Arab-Israeli war
1948 Arab-Israeli War
The 1948 Arab–Israeli War, known to Israelis as the War of Independence or War of Liberation The war commenced after the termination of the British Mandate for Palestine and the creation of an independent Israel at midnight on 14 May 1948 when, following a period of civil war, Arab armies invaded...

. It was commanded by Nahum "Sergei" Sarig (hence also called Sergei Brigade) and consisted of four Palmach
The Palmach was the elite fighting force of the Haganah, the underground army of the Yishuv during the period of the British Mandate of Palestine. The Palmach was established on May 15, 1941...

 battalions. The Negev Brigade participated in many operations in the Negev
The Negev is a desert and semidesert region of southern Israel. The Arabs, including the native Bedouin population of the region, refer to the desert as al-Naqab. The origin of the word Neghebh is from the Hebrew root denoting 'dry'...

 Desert, including Operation Yoav
Operation Yoav
Operation Yoav was an Israeli military operation carried out from 15–22 October 1948 in the Negev Desert, during the 1948 Arab-Israeli War. Its goal was to drive a wedge between the Egyptian forces along the coast and the Beersheba–Hebron–Jerusalem road and ultimately to conquer the whole Negev...

 in the latter part of the war.

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
Yisrael Galili
Yisrael Galili was an Israeli politician, government minister and member of Knesset. Before Israel's independence in 1948, he had served as Chief of Staff of the Haganah.-Biography:...

, the Haganah
Haganah was a Jewish paramilitary organization in what was then the British Mandate of Palestine from 1920 to 1948, which later became the core of the Israel Defense Forces.- Origins :...

 Chief of Staff, and Yigal Allon
Yigal Allon
Yigal Allon was an Israeli politician, a commander of the Palmach, and a general in the IDF. He served as one of the leaders of Ahdut HaAvoda party and the Israeli Labor party, and acting Prime Minister of Israel, and was a member of the Knesset and government minister from the 10th through the...

, the Palmach commander, chose Sarig to command the brigade in December 1947, although the residents of the Negev and David Ben-Gurion
David Ben-Gurion
' was the first Prime Minister of Israel.Ben-Gurion's passion for Zionism, which began early in life, led him to become a major Zionist leader and Executive Head of the World Zionist Organization in 1946...

 appointed Shaul Avigur
Shaul Avigur
Shaul Avigur was a founder of the Israeli Intelligence Community.-Biography:Avigur was born in Dvinsk under the name Saul Meyeroff , but when his son Gur Meyeroff was killed in the 1948 Arab-Israeli War, he changed it to Avigur, meaning "Father of Gur"...

 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.

Sarig decided to divide the Negev into two sectors, divided by the Beersheba
Beersheba is the largest city in the Negev desert of southern Israel. Often referred to as the "Capital of the Negev", it is the seventh-largest city in Israel with a population of 194,300....

Gaza , also referred to as Gaza City, is a Palestinian city in the Gaza Strip, with a population of about 450,000, making it the largest city in the Palestinian territories.Inhabited since at least the 15th century BC,...

 road (later Highway 25
Highway 25 (Israel)
Highway 25 is a rural highway in southern Israel. It begins northwest of Nahal Oz at the border with the Gaza Strip, and it passes through Netivot, Beersheba and Dimona. It continues southeast toward Arava Junction, where it meets Highway 90. Its length is estimated by the Israeli Department of...

). Yigal Allon then named Haim Bar-Lev as the commander of the southern section—the 8th Battalion.

The Palmach memorial website records the names of 312 of its members who died whilst in the Negev Brigade.


Outside Be'er Sheva stands Dani Karavan
Dani Karavan
Dani Karavan is an Israeli sculptor best known for site specific memorials and monuments which merge into the environment, though he has made important installations as well as other significant contributions to art and architecture.- Biography :Dani Karavan's father Abraham was the chief...

's sculpture "Monument to the Negev Brigade
Monument to the Negev Brigade
The Monument to the Negev Brigade , known locally as the Andarta, is a monument designed by Dani Karavan in memory of the members of the Palmach Negev Brigade who fell defending Israel during the 1948 Arab Israeli War. It is situated on a hill overlooking the city of Beersheba from the east and...

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