By the end of World War II, ha-‘Ivri ha-Tza‘ir was sufficiently developed so that the senior members could entrust their younger disciples with continuing the movement's educational work on their own. They formed a gar‘in (nucleus) and made plans to immigrate to Palestine and establish a new kibutz. Between 1945 and 1947, three contingents of about 30 members each left Egypt, leaving about 500 younger members of the movement behind. The second contingent of the gar‘in participated in “Operation Passover” on April 11, 1946, which brought 65–100 immigrants to Palestine illegally. This was the largest single group of Egyptian Jews to reach Palestine before 1948—a good indication of the scale of Zionist activity.
The first contingent of graduates of ha-‘Ivri ha-Tza‘ir arrived at Kibutz ‘Ein ha-Shofet in January 1945. ‘Ein ha-Shofet was chosen to welcome them in Palestine and provide agricultural training for the gar‘in because it was the first kibutz of ha-Shomer ha-Tza‘ir in North America, a branch of the movement with which the Egyptians had been in contact. The second contingent of the Egyptian gar‘in was received at Kfar Menahem, the second kibutz of North American ha-Shomer ha-Tza‘ir. After completing its agricultural training, in July 1946 the gar‘in became independent and moved to Ramat ha-Sharon, where it was joined by a group of French-speaking graduates of ha-Shomer ha-Tza‘ir from Belgium, Switzerland, and France. There the gar‘in worked for wages while waiting for the Zionist authorities to allocate a plot of land for its future kibutz.
Members of the gar‘in were recruited into the Palmah (the elite prestate Zionist military unit) on the eve of the UN partition decision. On November 14, 1947, they joined the Negev Brigade and took up a position at Hazali, a he’ahzut (militarily fortified agricultural settlement) about fifteen kilometers southeast of Be’ersheba. Hazali formed the southernmost triangle of Jewish settlement in the Negev together with Revivim and Halutza. It was besieged by the Egyptian army in the summer of 1948, but the gar‘in held its position throughout the war. Members of the gar‘in participated in all the major battles of the Negev against the Egyptian army, and four of them lost their lives in the fighting. The gar‘in members were demobilized after the conclusion of hostilities in April 1949. On September 13, 1949, about fifty to sixty remaining members of the Egyptian gar‘in and an Israeli gar‘in established Kibutz Nahshonim at Migdal Tzedek, near Petah Tikva, on the border between Israel and Jordan.
Ezra Talmor was one of the founders of Nahshonim, and he remained politically active during his first decade on the kibutz. From 1956 to 1959, he served as the representative of MAPAM in London. During this time, his wife, Sascha Talmor, obtained her Ph.D. in philosophy from the University of London. At the end of their stay, Ezra found enough time to study for an M.A. in philosophy from the same institution.
While the Talmors were in London, Fenner Brockway, a leader of the left in the Labour Party, reported that he had met with Michel Aflaq, a founder of the Syrian Ba‘th Party. According to Brockway, Aflaq said that he was interested in meeting Israelis but could find no interlocutors. Ezra Talmor contacted Brockway and expressed his willingness to meet Aflaq. Consequently, he met several times with Syrian and Iraqi Ba‘thist medical students in London. They drafted an outline of an Arab-Israeli peace agreement and sent a report of their meetings to Michel Aflaq, Me’ir Ya‘ari, the leader of MAPAM, and Hugh Gaitskill, the leader of the British Labour Party. Talmor reported that Me’ir Ya‘ari rebuked him for acting on his own initiative in this matter.
When he returned to Israel, Talmor wanted to be an activist in the Arab department of MAPAM because he “wanted peace between Jews and Arabs.” He worked briefly with Simha Flapan and New Outlook, a nonparty monthly magazine devoted to promoting Arab-Israeli peace and heavily supported by MAPAM. Then he retired from political activity. Talmor felt that he was excluded from a political career in MAPAM. “At first I thought it was simply racist. They could not accept that an Egyptian Jew would do something in political leadership,” he said. Later he came to feel that his exclusion was due to the cliquishness of ha-Kibutz ha-Artzi and MAPAM and the fact that he did not belong to the inner circle of Me’ir Ya‘ari composed of Eastern Europeans.
In the 1960s, Ezra Talmor obtained a doctorate in philosophy from the University of Paris. He and Sascha became professors at Haifa University in the Departments of Philosophy and English, respectively. In 1980, they founded and became editors of History of European Ideas—an interdisciplinary scholarly journal dedicated to studying the history of European cultural exchange and the emergence of the idea of Europe. This intellectual agenda is obviously in harmony with the political project of the European Union. The contents of the journal disclose that the Europe of the contributors and editors is almost exclusively England, France, Italy, and Germany—a traditionalist vision affirming the global centrality of the Western European Renaissance and Enlightenment. Today Ezra Talmor believes, “There is only one conceptual grid to grasp the world. It's a European conceptual grid.”
Although we are all, even those who resist it, in some sense bound up in a European conceptual grid, Ezra Talmor's eager embrace of Europe can also be understood as a particular consequence of both the cosmopolitan, Francophone, left-wing political milieu of his youth in Egypt and in ha-Shomer ha-Tza‘ir and the formative experiences of the founders of Kibutz Nahshonim that tended to make French culture a part of their identity as Egyptians. The Egyptian gar‘in had to integrate with contingents of European French speakers and Ashkenazi Israelis. Their comrades fought and died in battle with the army of the land of their birth. They settled on rocky soil on the frontier with Jordan where hard physical labor was required to sustain themselves economically and it was tremendously difficult to remain politically informed and engaged. The social ideal of Israel in the 1950s and 1960s was the melting pot (kibutz galuyot). The members of Kibutz Nahshonim saw it as an important Zionist task to assimilate into Israeli Jewish culture, which was, in fact, heavily Eastern European in many respects. Consequently, although Nahshonim served as a gathering point for many French-speaking Jews, including those from Egypt and North Africa, it did not try to preserve the distinctive cultural characteristics of its founding members, nor was it able to make a distinctive political contribution drawing on the founders' origins in the Arab world.
In 1964, when Egyptian Jews still composed 40 percent of the membership of the kibutz, Ezra Talmor contributed an article titled “A Kibutz of Eastern Jews and Its Mission” to the weekly magazine of ha-Kibutz ha-Artzi to mark the fifteenth anniversary of the establishment of Nahshonim. He wrote,
From the start, Kibutz Nahshonim was considered by its members and by ha-Kibutz ha-Artzi to have a special character and mission. Most of its members are from Eastern communities and hence it was clear that to their public mission a special feature was added.…[But we] have still not succeeded in realizing the dream of our youth: a kibutz that is active in the political arena mainly among Eastern Jews and Arabs. Nonetheless, our kibutz has still preserved its distinctiveness. Those who enter our homes will feel immediately the characteristic Eastern way of life. Here beats a wide and good Eastern heart which gives the settlement its special character.
This assessment suggests that the kibutz had largely succeeded in adopting the political and cultural norms of Ashkenazi Israel. The only culturally distinctive attributes of Nahshonim Talmor could specify were the typically folkloric expressions of Middle Eastern lifestyle and hospitality. In 1993, I asked Ezra Talmor if he thought something distinguished Nahshonim from other kibutzim of ha-Shomer ha-Tza‘ir as a consequence of the social origins of its founders. The only characteristic of the kibutz that came to his mind then was its food culture. “We know how to cook rice properly. We don't make hard white balls like the Poles. We have pride of rice.”
Lazare Giv‘ati, another founder of Kibutz Nahshonim and former head of the ken of ha-‘Ivri ha-Tza‘ir in the Ramle district of Alexandria, responding to the same question, replied, “Yes. Language and Western culture. We were different from the mainly Eastern European culture in Israel at the time. The entire country was Ashkenazi. We were less rigid and more compromising than the Poles.”  Their former comrade, Sami Shemtov, a founder of Nahshonim who left the kibutz in 1961, agreed that the distinctive aspect of the kibutz was its Francophone cultural character.
For these veterans of Nahshonim, being Egyptian meant being more Westernized than the majority of Israeli Jews. They were proud of their French education and culture, which they considered superior to the dominant Eastern European norms of Israel. Some felt that they had been discriminated against as Middle Eastern Jews, but they integrated into Israel when it was considered unpatriotic and culturally backward to identify this as an issue. Consequently, any feelings of pride they may have had as Egyptians were sublated to pride in their Francophone culture.