Ein Hashofet, a Tower and Stockade Settlement, 1938
This is a photograph of Kibbutz Ein Hashofet taken in 1938. The photograph shows the construction of a watchtower. Next to the tower are some tents and in the background a couple of sturdier buildings. This photograph is part of NLI’s Emanuel Harussi Photograph Collection.
Kibbutz Ein Hashofet, situated in the north of Israel, was one of the "tower and stockade"settlements built by Zionist settlers between 1936 and 1939. The settlers relied on a Turkish Ottoman law that was still in effect during the British Mandate which stated that illegal buildings could not be demolished if they included a wall and a tower. In order to overcome Mandate laws preventing the construction of Jewish settlements, the settlers arrived in secret, usually during the night, with a prefabricated wall and tower, and the construction would take place within a couple of hours, by which time there was little that the Mandate police could do. These “tower and stockade” settlements became the basis for new kibbutzim or moshavim. In total, 57 settlements were built in this way, including Ein Hashofet, Hanita, Maale Hachamisha, Sde Eliyahu and others.
The objective of these settlements was to establish a Jewish presence on land that had been officially bought by the JNF (or KKL in Hebrew), thus populating Jewish-owned land with Jewish citizens of Palestine and creating an unbroken settled area which would help determine the future borders of the Jewish State.
This photograph depicts the establishment of many kibbutzim and moshavim in the years before the birth of the State of Israel. It also represents the struggle of the Jewish people to establish settlements during Mandate rule. Teachers could use the photograph in Jewish Studies lessons around Independence Day (Yom Ha'atzmaut), in Jewish History lessons, or before school trips to Israel. This photograph demonstrates how much Israel has developed since the time of the British Mandate. Students can easily find current photographs of Kibbutz Ein Hashofet and compare them to how the settlement looked in its early days.
Describe the photograph.
What do you think the buildings are?
What do you think was the purpose of the tents and of the buildings in the background?
Why did the kibbutz need a tower?
What were the “tower and stockade” settlements?
How were they built?
Why were they built like this?
Why did the government of the British Mandate prevent the Jews from building their own settlements?
Why did the Jews make so much of an effort to build settlements? Why weren't they satisfied with living in the existing cities?
Do you think it is still important to settle new areas in Israel? Why or why not?
What is life like in Ein Hashofet today? Compare the modern-day Kibbutz with this photograph and with other historical reports about the Kibbutz.