Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Settlements at Pesach Chapter 1

On March 21, 1938, 75 years ago tomorrow, the kibbutz of Hanita was founded, as part of the "tower and stockade" program. In this program, more than 50 new settlements, most of them kibbutzim, were set up between 1936 and 1939, against the backdrop of the Arab uprising against the British Mandate. The idea was to broaden the areas settled by Jews, in the anticipation that someday the British or someone would introduce a viable partition plan, and its contours would reflect areas of settlement - as indeed happened in 1947. The moniker reflects an old Ottoman law which was still in force, forbidding the destruction of a roofed building. Settlers in the project would arrive on a plot of Jewish-owned land and hurriedly set up a tower, a roofed shack, and a wooden stockade to withstand any attack; they would also begin to plough a field, acquiring additional legal protection.

Hanita was not the first nor the last, but it remains one of the most famous. Situated on the rocky ridge between the western Galillee and southern Lebanon, it didn't seem likely to be able to support itself through agriculture; it was also remote from other Jewish settlements (well: remote is a relative term in this very extremely small land).

Ten of the settlers were killed in the first few day after the founding of the settlement in skirmishes with locals.

Here are some photos from our Zoltan Kluger collection, taken that day. Notice the diversity of people in them, from recognizable haluzim, to Rav Holzberg from distant Rosh Pina who came with a Torah scroll to bless the (secular) pioneers, to Moshe Shertok (later Sharet, Israel's second prime minster, third from the left in the last picture), and an assortment of beasts of burden including camels. No trucks, however, for them to haul the stuff up the mountain. The first picture features the tower, on its way up.


1 comment:

  1. And here I thought you were going to show us pictures from Rav Levinger's hotel visit.