Stockade and Watchtower


Between 1936 and 1947, when the Jewish National Fund sought to both establish "facts on the ground" and settle land it purchased in Mandatory Palestine far from other Jewish populations, a major concern was vulnerability to Arab attacks. In response, Jews established the strategy of erecting "Stockade and Watchtower" settlements (also called "Wall and Tower" or Chomah V'Migdal in Hebrew) using an old Ottoman rule which prohibited the demolition of roved structures on landowners property.

To build such settlements, convoys of hundreds of volunteers carrying prefabricated dwellings and fortifications set out for the new location during the middle of the night. Before morning, the entire settlement construction - including a surrounding double wall filled with earth and stones, searchlights, and a central watchtower - would be completed.

All told, 118 settlements including 52 new kibbutzim, spanning the Jordan Valley and the Galilee regions, were erected in this manner.

A museum and model of the first Stockade and Watchtower can be found at Tel Amal near the city of Bet She'an.