Tower and stockade

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Nir David – Tower and Stockade (1946)
Kibbutz Hanita – Tower and Stockade (1938)
Recreation of Tower and Stockade in Kibbutz Negba

Tower and stockade (Hebrew: חוֹמָה וּמִגְדָּל, translit. Homa UMigdal, lit. Wall and tower) was a settlement method used by Zionist settlers in Mandatory Palestine during the 1936–39 Arab revolt. The establishment of new Jewish settlements was legally restricted by the Mandatory authorities, but the British generally gave their tacit accord to the Tower and stockade actions as a means of countering the Arab revolt. During the course of the Tower and stockade campaign, some 57 Jewish settlements including 52 kibbutzim and several moshavim were established throughout the country. The legal base was a Turkish Ottoman law that was in effect during the Mandate period, which 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 United Nations Partition Plan for Palestine.

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, founding member of kibbutz Tel Amal (now Nir David), 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]

57 were constructed between the last days of 1936 and October 1939.[3]

A model of a Homa Umigal was constructed for the Land of Israel Palvilion at the 1937 World Exposition in Paris.[4]


Tower and stockade settlements by date of establishment:

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Rotbard, Sharon. Wall and Tower - The Mold of Israeli Adrikalut. In: Territories, KW - Institute for Contemporary Art, Berlin, 2003, p.162., ISBN 3-88375-734-9
  2. ^ Illana Shamir; Shlomo Shavit (December 1987). The Young Readers' Encyclopedia of Jewish History. Viking Kestrel. p. 79. ISBN 0670817384. 
  3. ^ Segal, Rafi & Weizman, Eyal (editors) (2003) A civilian occupation. The politics of Israeli architecture. Verso. ISBN 1-85984-549-5. p.57 (Rotbard, Sharon. Wall and tower (Homa umigdal). The mold of Israeli architecture).
  4. ^ Weizman/Rotbard. p.47

External links[edit]