In 1936 Arabs staged an uprising against British colonial rule in Palestine. Orde Wingate, a British intelligence officer (and later one of World War II’s most colorful generals), proposed raising small units of British-led Jewish commandos to combat Arab guerrillas. By June 1938, these Special Night Squads were operational, manned with British officers and Jewish soldiers handpicked from the elite commando arm of the Haganah, the Jewish paramilitary organization in Palestine. They carried out their missions ruthlessly and successfully, relying on torture and execution in addition to well-honed counterinsurgency tactics. The squads would influence the development of special forces for years to come.
Aaron Eitan Meyer is an attorney, consultant, analyst, and researcher. Currently in private law practice, Meyer was previously research director and assistant director of the Legal Project at the Middle East Forum. He has written widely on law and war, terrorism, nontraditional warfare, Zionism, and Middle East history.