After 82 years: IDF's magazine prints final edition, moves online

The "Bamahane" magazine, older than the State of Israel itself is "respected" but had to adapt to a changing world.

December 25, 2016 12:43
2 minute read.
An IDF soldier.

An IDF soldier.. (photo credit: IDF SPOKESMAN'S OFFICE)

After 82 years of publishing, the Israel Defense Forces’ official magazine, Bamahane (“In the Camp”), printed its final edition last week, to be “more compatible with the present era,” the IDF announced.

The IDF stated that “Bamahane magazine is not closing, but rather it is being upgraded and made more compatible with the present era. As such, the goal of the changes is to make the magazine more accessible with a digital version. In addition, the magazine will be distributed in print once a month to subscribers.”

Soldiers serving on the magazine are being transferred to the spokesman’s unit, where they will work on the online version.

Bamahane, published since 1934, was launched by the Hagana, the pre-state underground Jewish paramilitary that eventually became the IDF. Several prominent politicians and journalists, such as Yesh Atid Party chairman Yair Lapid, MK Stav Shaffir (Labor) and award-winning graphic artist Asaf Hanuka served on the magazine.

According to former IDF spokesman Brig.-Gen. (res.) Avi Benayahu, who wrote for Bamahane between 1986 and 1990, it is a “very strong Israeli brand. Everyone knows the magazine. It’s been around longer than the State of Israel itself. It is respected.”

But because of technological changes, the magazine had to change, Benayahu said.

“I told the chief of general staff and the head of the army’s Manpower Directorate to change the magazine to an Internet website like Ynet or Walla, which updates daily,” he said. He suggested that the magazine “should be distributed once a month to the homes of subscribers and once a year to the general public, as well as once a year to youth who are about to enlist, to prepare them for the army and answer any questions they may have,” in order for it to have a much greater reach.

In April the magazine was reduced from a weekly to a monthly publication, and its responsibility moved from the Education Corps to the Manpower Directorate, and now the online magazine will fall under the purview of the IDF Spokesman.

According to Benayahu, this is a mistake, as the magazine will now look like PR for the army. He thinks Bamahane “should be under the Education Corps or Manpower Directorate, so that it would look more independent.”

Many print magazines around the globe have been struggling in recent years as digital media continue to grow. Scores of print magazines are no longer published in print, in favor of an online presence.

In April, Soldier of Fortune, a magazine known for covering the world of mercenaries, ended its print edition after more than 40 years on newsstands.

According to The Wall Street Journal, magazine founder Lt.-Col. Robert K. Brown said it “couldn’t cut a deal to sell just the print edition. We want to keep the brand going, so we are transitioning entirely to the Internet.”

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