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Tower and Stockade

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Title: Tower and Stockade  
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Subject: Kibbutz
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Tower and Stockade

Tower and stockade (Hebrew: חומה ומגדל‎, Homa UMigdal, lit. Wall and tower) was a settlement method used by Zionist settlers in the British Mandate of Palestine during the 1936–39 Arab revolt, when the establishment of new Jewish settlements was restricted by the Mandatory authorities. During the course of the Tower and stockade campaign, 52 new Jewish settlements were established throughout the country. A Turkish Ottoman law that was in effect during the Mandate period stated that any illegal building may not be demolished if the roof has been completed.


The objective of these settlements was to seize control of land that had been officially purchased by the KKL-JNF,[1] so to have as much Jewish-owned land as possible populated by Jews, particularly in remote areas, by establishing "facts on the ground." These settlements would eventually be transformed into fortified agricultural settlements, and served for security purposes (as defences against Arab raiders) as well as creating contiguous Jewish-populated regions, which would later help determine the borders of the Partition Plan.

All of the major settlement groups (mostly kibbutzim and moshavim) took part in the campaign, which consisted of assembling a guard tower with a fence around it. While many of these settlements were not approved by the Mandate, existing settlements were not dismantled according to the Turkish Ottoman law at the time. Therefore, the construction of the Tower and Stockade settlements had to be finished very quickly, usually in the course of a single night.[2]

The invention of the Tower and stockade system is attributed to Shlomo Gur-Gerzovsky, founding member of Kibbutz Tel Amal, and was developed and encouraged by the architect Yohanan Ratner. The system was based on the fast construction of pre-fabricated wooden moulds, which would be filled with gravel and enclosed with barbed wire fencing. In average, the enclosed space formed a yard of 35 x 35 metres (1 dunam). In the yard a pre-fabricated wooden observation tower and four shacks, providing housing for a "conquering troop" of around 40 people, was erected. The constructions were located within eyesight of neighbouring settlements and with accessibility for motor vehicles.[1]


Tower and stockade settlements by date of establishment:

See also


External links

  • Beit She'an
  • Sharon Rotbard: Wall and Tower: The mold of Israeli Adrikhalut, December 17, 2008
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