On 26 May 1948, the Israeli provisional government approved the decision to establish a regular army. Five days later, on 31 May, an order signed by David Ben-Gurion, who served both as prime minister and as minister of defense, was issued establishing the Israel Defense Forces. The significance of this decision, which was taken during the first round of fighting with the Arab armies, and just two weeks after the establishment of the state of Israel, extended beyond the military sphere. The process of establishing the Israeli army during the course of the 1948 War became one of the main components in the consolidation of the authority and sovereignty of the new state, and in shaping its character. During the transition of power that accompanied the formation of the

state, structural features in the sphere of the military forces showed elements of both continuity and change. The transition from the Haganah (“Defense” in Hebrew) as the main military organization of the Yishuv to the Israel Defense Forces reflected an attempt to combine a popular and voluntary army in the spirit of the Haganah with the foundation of an army with a professional and regular character, in accordance with the British model as applied during the Second World War. The process of building and exercising power, including changing methods of warfare and their adaptation to the progress of the war, was undertaken alongside the military mobilization. The mobilization for war, which would have been impossible without the subject of civil society organizations and voluntary participation in the war effort, took place with an emphasis on the just division of the burden of war and on striking a balance between military needs and ensuring the ongoing functioning of civil society. This policy was reflected, in particular, in the public campaign against evasion of the draft and in the concern for the families of soldiers – aspects we will discuss in this chapter. This chapter focuses on the participation of society in the mobilization of

personnel for military, labor, and emergency services. This includes an examination of the changes that occurred in recruitment patterns following the establishment of the state of Israel and the declaration of the state of emergency on 19 May 1948. The essence of the change was a transition from a selfmobilization based on voluntary action in a community lacking sovereign

authority and subject to the control of the British mandate to mobilization directed by government ministries and institutions in a centralized manner and on the basis of law and discipline. The transformation created by the transition from the Yishuv to the state and the increase in the powers and functional responsibilities during the war were especially evident in the process of mobilization in general, and the mobilization of personnel in particular.1

Until late in 1948, the mobilization of personnel constituted the dominant aspect of mobilizing the society for war. However, during the course of the decisive military campaigns toward the end of that year, and against the background of the deteriorating economic situation, the process of demobilization was the focus of particular emphasis.