Kfar Ruppin Is Founded

November 25, 1938

The Kibbutz Kfar (Village), Ruppin, is founded. It was established in the framework of the “Tower and Stockade” movement in Zionism, which took place primarily between 1936-1939, just prior to the initial British restrictions being placed on Jewish settlement.

Kfar Ruppin and other “Tower and Stockade” settlements built during this time were built to circumvent the British intent. An Ottoman law that was still in effect during the Mandate period stated that any illegal building may not be demolished if the roof had been completed.

To ensure that any construction would be completed before the arrival of British military forces or Arab gangs, the settlements were planned in advance and in secrecy with virtually all of the construction completed in advance. A Zionist team would arrive in the morning with their pre-fabricated materials and complete their work by sundown. There were more than three dozen such settlements established during this period of prolonged unrest in the late 1930s.

The “Tower and Stockade” settlements were planned as a solution to security needs as well as to create facts on the ground in terms of Jewish settlement in the event of Palestine being partitioned into two states. Zionists wanted to have key positions established for strategic purposes that would be of defense and political value to a nascent Jewish state. Kfar Ruppin and the other fortified communities helped extend the map of Jewish settlement and impact the potential borders of a future Jewish state.

The original “Tower and Stockade” at Kfar Ruppin was replaced by a cultural hall as the Kibbutz grew and attracted more residents. The Kibbutz is located in the Beit Shean Valley, in the Syro-African Rift, the main migration route for birds. In 1997, Kibbutz Kfar Ruppin established an international bird watching center.

In 2000, the Kibbutz had a population of 450. The Kibbutz was named for Arthur Ruppin. Along with Jacob Thon, Ruppin opened the Palestine Office of the World Zionist Organization in 1907. Engaged in land purchase and Jewish settlement, Ruppin played a significant role in bringing Yemenite Jews to Palestine in 1911, in building Tel Aviv, and in expanding Haifa.

The website Jewishvilkaviskis.org presents a pictorial history of the founding of the Kibbutz. The photo above was taken from the website and depicts the building of the stockade wall.