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Tower and Stockade
Dear guests, we are pleased to provide you with information regarding our unique site, “Tower and Stockade”, which constitutes a tourist attraction to all those who consider the Jewish heritage in pre-state Israel dear to their hearts. Let’s see what we have to offer you:
1. Be impressed with the site and the activities carried out through these photos.
2. Unique activities for schools and kindergartens.
3. Group activities: for pensioners, Taglit groups, organized families, team building days and more.
4. If you are interested not only in a fascinating heritage journey to the past but also in a great cultural experience, be sure to visit the extraordinary Museum of Archeology which is situated right here at Gan HaShlosha.
What’s on at the Tower and Stockade Site?
The site is a life-size reconstruction of “Tel-Amal” – the first “Tower and Stockade” settlement. In the courtyard, which is surrounded by a wooden wall, reside the residential shacks, the dining room and the kitchen. Here one can observe and perceive how 57 settlements were established during the Arab Revolt in pre-state Israel (also known as the Arab Revolt in Palestine) between 1936 and 1939 under the British rule, how did these settlements influence the outline of Israel’s borders and under what conditions did the pioneers live in those days. It is worth climbing to the top of the tower for an overlook of the valley, which once was a swampy wasteland and presently is a flourishing blooming area.
The site offers activity tasks intended for families, schools and adults, on the subject of pioneer settlements during the Arab Revolt in pre-state Israel between 1936 and 1939. An authentic short movie will be screened in Hebrew and English with subtitles in Russian, Spanish and German.
The “Settlement Bells” Garden was established at the foot of the site.
Likewise, it is possible to organize a visit which integrates additional sites in the area.
Our opening times: Sunday – Thursday, Saturday and Holidays: 10:00 – 14:00.
Closed on Friday and Holiday Eves.
Groups require coordination in advance: also on Friday as well as beyond the normal operating hours.
How to reach us: through the Beit She'an – Afula Road (#71), the site is situated within the premises of Gan HaShlosha (The Sachne).
Contact us by phone: 04-6581017, fax: 04-6581090, email: email@example.com
*For visitors of Gan HaShlosha, a visit to the Tower and Stockade Site is included in the entry ticket. Guidance and movie screening are provided at an additional cost.
The “Tower and Stockade” heritage wing is a life-size reconstruction of “Tel Amal” – the first “Tower and Stockade” settlement, where this construction method was invented and initially carried out.
The site was inaugurated by the late Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin in May 1993.
The initiative for the establishment of this site was promoted by the members of Kibbutz Nir David (Tel-Amal) and the Regional Council Emek HaMa’ayanot (Beit She'an). The following organizations also partook in the site’s establishment: the staff of the Gan HaShlosha National Park, The Israel Nature and Parks Authority, The Council for Conservation of Heritage Sites in Israel and The Jewish National Fund (Keren Kayemeth LeIsrael). The site was constructed in accordance with the Tel-Amal courtyard, but it tells the story of the pioneering settlement of all the “Tower and Stockade” settlements in the Land of Israel in general and at the Beit She'an Valley in particular. It aims to illustrate the history of the daring and courageous settlement in those days, the plight and difficulties at that time and to instill into the future generations the values of the pioneering settlement.
This is a precise and unerring reconstruction of the life within the sealed wooden fortress in 1936. The visitors can visit the residential shacks whose contents hint about the hard-pressed insubstantial life during that period, they may enter into the dining room, the kitchen, the laundry facilities, see the double wooden wall and the farm’s courtyard. It is recommended to climb to the top of the tower for an overlook of the valley, which once was a swampy wasteland and presently is a flourishing blooming area.
The site comprises an archive containing extensive documentary material from all the
“Tower and Stockade” settlements. It is possible to read and study the documents, book lectures, teachers continuing education programs, activities with actors, singing lectures, a “pioneers meal” event etc.
The site also includes an auditorium with approximately 80 seats and it can be rented independently from the activities.
The site enables unconventional learning, experiential meetings on a variety of subjects, such as: pioneering settlement, security, water problems and more, schools are offered unique and original activity programs such as: joint activities for religious and secular visitors and evening/night activities. Experiential active pioneering activity stations intended for all ages, including special
education students (see our Homepage – Group Activities).
Guidance for soldiers, adults and pensioners are also carried out, as well as guidance and activities for visitors from abroad. Also available are birthdays, bar/bat-mitzva’s and other events – all require coordination in advance.
Tower and Stockade / Prof. Yoav Gelber
Prof. Yoav Gelber is Head of the Herzl Institute for Research and Study of Zionism and concurrently Head of the School of History at the University of Haifa.
Contrary to the arguments put forward recently by “new” historians and sociologists, the Jewish settlers who immigrated to the Land of Israel since the end of the 19th century, were not armed “colonialists” who came here in order to forcefully take over the indigenous lands. They purchased their lands for the full price and worked the land by themselves or while harshly competing with the native Arabs in the labor market of the agricultural farms of the settlements. The hostility of the Arab surroundings and the damages caused to the settlers and their property, which occured more and more frequently, were the reason that forced the settlers to take up arms and defend themselves.
Settlement and security therefore became intertwined values during the British Mandate. The defensive capability became a stipulation for settlements that did not aspire to become protégées of their neighbors while the settlements themselves turned into a hothouse for the Haganah Organization. The fate of settlements that were attacked and abandoned during the Arab Revolt greatly strengthened the recognition of this bond.
The Arab Revolt during 1936 – 1939 created a close-to-war situation in pre-state Israel. This was not a short-lived outbreak like the one that took place during the previous waves of clashes but a prolonged period of perils, anxiety and alertness. The conditions existent in this period required a change of attitude and finding suitable solutions for the new settlements that were expected to suffer strikes and attacks by the Arabs immediately upon their establishment. Shortly afterwards, political aspects were added to the security and economic aspects of the new settlement: the United Nations’ Partition Plan for Palestine which was put on the agenda in 1937, instigated a settlement race, assuming that the settlement boundaries will determine the boundaries of the Jewish State that will be established in the future, and in this race the settlements penetrated into new regions that have not yet been settled with Jews, such as the Beit She'an Valley, the Hula Valley, the Zevulun Valley and the Western Galilee, the southern regions of the Land of Israel and the feet of the mountains at its center.
The “Tower and Stockade” method was initially a technical solution, a method that was conceived for the purpose of rapid settlement in the midst of a hostile region and it was designated to ensure protection for the settlers against attacks of Arab gangs immediately upon the settlement’s establishment. However, the concept soon became a symbol rather than a method, symbolizing the settlement as a means of political struggle over the borders, as a contribution to the security of the Yishuv (Jewish residents in pre-state Israel) and as a combination of the values of settlement and security.
All the 57 settlements that were established during those years, since the establishment of Tel-Amal in December 1936, are called the “Tower and Stockade” settlements. Although not all of them were established using the specific method that was developed then, and not all of them were border settlements that penetrated into new settlement spaces, all of them did express the determination of the Yishuv, and particularly the settlers’ determination, to settle here despite the harsh conditions and despite the dangers, and they accentuate the affinity between settlement and security, the borders and the determination of sovereignty.
In our collective memory, the term “Tower and Stockade” has taken root as a settlement aimed to protest against the restrictions set by the British Mandatory rule on the settlements. This use of the term is erroneous. The British restrictions came into effect only in 1940, after the “Tower and Stockade” period, and the “Tower and Stockade” settlements were established with the consent of the British and in coordination with them. They constitute part of the Jewish-Arab struggle over the Land of Israel and not part of the Jewish-British struggle for independence.
Tel-Amal is the First Tower and Stockade Settlement
According to Yehoshua Luria of blessed memory, a historian, member of Tel-Amal and a researcher of that period, at the beginning of April 1936, the clashes of the Arab Revolt of 1936 – 1939 erupted in Jaffa. They commenced with a wave of strikes and bloody attacks on the Jewish population, on isolated settlements and on the British forces that resided in pre-state Israel at that time. The clashes began on account of the feeling that the power of the Jewish Yishuv was increasing. The revolt was led by the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, Haj Amin al-Husseini, and throughout the land, especially in Samaria and the Galilee, Arab military gangs began operating
against the Yishuv.
The British reinforced their troops in the Land of Israel and concurrently established joint military frameworks with the Jewish Yishuv. The activities of the Jewish guards-policemen under the British command were expanded. Likewise, the Special Night Squads under the command of Orde Charles Wingate were formulated as well as the Fosh (Plugot HaSadeh, the Field Companies) under the command of Yitzhak Sadeh.
The leaders of the Jewish Yishuv, The Jewish Agency for Israel, the Haganah Organization, The Jewish National Fund (Keren Kayemeth LeIsrael) and the Agricultural Center searched for ways to expand the area under Jewish control, to acquire lands and establish new Jewish settlements in regions where lands were purchased and the Jewish population was sparse. Already in 1929, the principles regarding the establishment of Jewish settlements in these areas were formed. Among others, it was determined that it is necessary to establish groups of settlements in close proximity to each other, to build them at high points dominating the area and ensure the existence of a short and safe transport and communication system.
Upon the commencement of the clashes of the Arab Revolt, many settlements were attacked and there were many casualties and numerous property damages. As a result, it was decided to establish many settlements in Jewish-owned regions and thicken the number of settlements at the border areas. To this end, a rapid organization and establishment of new settlements were required, while maintaining the option of defense in cases of gang attacks.
The breakthrough in the settlement process during this period was begun by the members of Kibbutz Tel-Amal (Nir David), who resided in Kibbutz Beit-Alfa. For two years they worked the lands of The Jewish National Fund across the Beit She'an Valley, until the clashes erupted. After their fields, which were located at the banks of the Amal (Hassi) Stream (Tel Shoket) were attacked and burnt, a special committee comprising Kibbutz members was formed, led by Shlomo Garzovski (Gur), with the encouragement of Haim Shturman from Ein Harod. A plan intended for the establishment of a settlement within one day (or night) was prepared. The main principle that stood behind the proposal was to prepare structure parts, a tower and wooden walls, transfer them secretly to the site slated for the settlement’s establishment and there, with the assistance of volunteers from nearby settlements, erect the walls, fill the gap between them with gravel, construct three to four shacks that will be used for habitation, a dining room, an infirmary and the like, and at its center, construct a tower that will serve as a communication and watch tower. The settlement’s area will span over 35 X 35 meters and the budget for its establishment will amount to 400 Palestine Pounds (Lira Eretz-Yisra'elit).
A squad of guards accompanied every group of builders in order to secure and protect the settlement’s establishment, and additionally, hiding places for illegal weapons (slick or stash) were prepared in every settlement.
This method of establishment, which was initially carried out in the establishment of Tel-Amal on December 10th, 1936, was adopted by the leaders of the Yishuv and it became the construction method of 57 settlements which were established between 1936 and 1939, hence the “Tower and Stockade” settlements.
Some of the settlements were attacked immediately upon their establishment and some of them some time later. Although the Arab gangs did not dare to attack Tel-Amal, five of its members fell in assassinations in the settlement’s fields and in battles with Arab gangs. Nevertheless, despite the numerous harassments, the harsh attacks and the wounded, none of the settlements was
The pioneering deeds of the members of Tel-Amal and the breakthrough achieved by the “Tower and Stockade” settlement method, led to an accelerated establishment of tens of settlements across the country. These settlements were established in areas comprising sparse Jewish populations, yet possessing security importance, and they certainly assisted in the determination of the borders of the State of Israel.
In Conclusion and Information Organization
Tel-Amal, the first “Tower and Stockade” settlement, was established in December 10th, 1936.
Most of the “Tower and Stockade” settlements were established within one day, and not during the night, as is customary to think, and this in order to ensure that already from the first night, the settlers will be able to defend themselves against Arab attacks.
Most of the “Tower and Stockade” settlements were established with the consent and awareness
of the British and only the last ones were indeed established during the night.
The Law stating that “If a house has a roof it cannot be dismantled” was a Turkish Law and it had
no effect during the “Tower and Stockade” period (during the British Mandate).
Complete and extremely accurate information regarding this period can be found in the book: “Era 9 – The Period of Tower and Stockade”, published by the Yad Ben-Tzvi Publishing House 1987 (5747), and edited by Mordechai Naor.