This Underground Movement Has Become Israel's Largest Militia. And It's Just the Beginning

At first they were seen as a fringe right-wing organization that was liable to take the law into its hands. Today they are so strong that the state may put the law into their hands. Who are Israel's 'new guardians' and what do they want?

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Hilo Glazer
Hilo Glazer
Hilo Glazer
Hilo Glazer

An almost palpable darkness covers Lahav Forest in the Negev. The only light comes from Rimon Farm, a project for at-risk youth. Inside a hut overlooking the farm, cookies, oranges and hot drinks are laid out on a table. The refreshments are for the jeep unit and other volunteers of Hashomer Hachadash (the new guardian in Hebrew). They’re preparing for action in the depths of the forest. The operation’s commander is standing with his back to a plasma screen that shows a map of the area. He begins his briefing by mentioning recent incidents: people trying out guns, illegal sales of combat weapons, the axing of pine trees, the deliberate destruction of crops, the torching of picnic tables. The group appears to be deploying for a tense night in a forest teeming with violence and crime.

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