A unique way of life developed in the Palyam. Many songs were written on the subject of the sea, of looking forward to leaving on missions, of longing for sweethearts and of the friendship between fighters. Chaim Guri and Chaim Hefer - the Palmach poets - took active part in creating the culture that developed. Some of the trainees in the various courses turned out to be talented artists.
Two of them – Shaike Ophir and Dan Ben-Amotz – later on became famous Israeli culture icons.
Shaike Ophir drove everyone crazy from his earliest appearances. Shaike was very young; he was only about 17 years old when he gave his first presentation of “The case of the eye at Dr Ticho’s” and his performance of “threading the eye of the needle”, and other such items which have become a part of Israeli folklore. Dan Ben Amotz went AWOL from the British Navy in order to join the Palyam and his sense of humor flowered as the Palyamniks sat around their campfire.
Benny Marshak would appear every so often and give the boys a blazing speech and his words were so dramatic that they seemingly begged to be turned into satire. Above and beyond all was the presence of the popular poet Natan Alterman who kept in close touch with the Palyam and participated in some of the activities of unloading Ma’apilim from ships that managed to run the siege, and wrote songs that had the Palyam as their theme. His songs spread like a prairie fire and were carried by the Palyamniks to distant countries.
At the base of the Palyam in Sdot Yam, Caesarea, there were evenings of singing and of skits and when one of these events was to take place the word of it would spread throughout all the bases of the Palmach. Once I.D.F (Tzahal) was formed and the boys spread throughout the army, it was no longer feasible to continue the intimate kind of camaraderie that existed at Sdot Yam. One of the traditions that developed in the Palyam was that of the
"the toast on the13th of the month". It was decided that on that day, at 21:00, every Palyamnik, wherever he is in the world, raises a toast and knows that he and his pals are together again in spirit. This tradition has lasted for many years (the famous Naval Commando of the Israeli Navy – the navy seals – is called “Shayetet 13” because of its roots in the Palyam and in reference to its "the 13th of the month" tradition).
Shaike Ophir - a Palyamnik and later on a famous Israeli comedian & actor
In Marseille, France, from left to right: Dan Ben-Amotz, Yehuda Ben-tzur, Shaul Biber