The Givati brigade was one of six brigades which were formed in December 1948. It was placed under the command of Shimon Avidan. The brigade operated in the Tel Aviv district, fighting against seasoned Arab forces, defeating them in the capture of Tel A-Rish (between Jaffa and Bat Yam), at Bet Dagan junction, and in securing the Jerusalem corridor. Later, Givati was successful in the raid on the Arab forces’ command center of the Ramle-Lod sector.
But the brigade’s main theater of operations was not in the Tel Aviv area. It was the country’s south which was to be the brigade’s major theatre of operations. The south comprised a number of solitary settlements serviced by the Majdal-Bet-Guvrin road. Enemy capture of the road would have meant isolation of the settlements, so the Givati brigade was deployed among the settlements. During this period, Givati soldiers were also “borrowed” for various missions in other sectors. Operation Nachshon was one such mission. “Nachshon” was undertaken to transport supplies to the capital, Jerusalem, which was then under siege. The Commander of Operation Nachshon was Givati Brigade O.C. Shimon Avidan and Givati Brigade troops participated.
Upon the Egyptian Army’s invasion, Givati troops, and the settlements which they were defending, found themselves facing a new, intensified threat. The defense operation took place in several stages. Initially, defenses were laid out in anticipation of the approach of the Egyptian Army from one direction, and the Jordanian Legion from the other. The Givati Brigade was then ordered to halt the advance of the Egyptian Army. Givati troops succeeded in scoring hits on the Egyptian army and weakened its strength. Finally, the IDF launched a counter-attack. Following a number of successful operations, in some of which Givati participated, the entire Negev was in the hands of the State of Israel. One of these missions was Operation Yoav.
Operation Yoav (15-22 October 1948) was planned in response to Egypt’s success in isolating Jewish settlements in the South from the rest of Israel. Givati participated in this Operation along with the Palmach Negev and Yiftah brigades, as well as armored and infantry elements. The aim of the Operation was to drive a wedge into Egyptian forces in the Majdel Beit-Guvrin area, surround Egyptian forces in the Faluja pocket and open a central road to the Negev. The Givati brigade’s role in the operation was the capture of the areas of Hulikat, Kawkaba, and the junction which is known today as Givati Junction. Following this operation, the Egyptians evacuated the entire area up to the Gaza Strip. Many sites of the battle now hold memorials to the brave deeds of the vastly outnumbered Givati troops who overcame and repelled the enemy.
The Givati Brigade Following the War of Independence
Following the War of Independence, the Givati Brigade was divided into two separate brigades. One of these, the 17th brigade, became a reserve brigade, while the second remained, under the name of Givati Brigade. In the summer of 1956, the regular brigade was disbanded, and the name of “Givati” was transferred to the 17th brigade, which operated under that name in the Sinai Campaign (1956) and in the Six Day War (1967) in the Central Command.
In the Six Day War, the Brigade took part in fighting in Samaria, and the surrounding hills, up to the banks of the Jordan river.
During the Yom Kippur War (1973), the Givati Brigade held a sector against the 3rd Egyptian Army, and its soldiers also held the captured Egyptian city of Suez, on the African banks of the Canal.
The Givati Brigade Reborn
Following the Lebanon War, the IDF felt the need for additional infantry forces. To this end, the Givati Brigade was re-formed on 13 June 1983. As a regular infantry brigade, the Givati Brigade undertakes ongoing security operations including, serving in the Territories, patrolling the borders, and manning positions in Lebanon. The brigade undertakes these responsibilities just as its older sister brigades do, and also has its own infantry specialization – marine amphibious landings. The Givati Brigade, after initial growing pains, emerged into a demanding, well-disciplined fighting force, with high-quality recruits, including IDF-affiliated Yeshiva students who alternate periods of study with tours of combat duty. It has, in recent years, played a key role in ongoing security operations in the Security Zone of Southern Lebanon.
This year (1999) , the Givati Brigade was placed under the command of a formation in the Southern Command, as part of the organizational changes in the IDF.