Treasure Trove: David Matlow looks at a fund that helped Jewish settlements protect themselves

Kofer HaYishuv (literally, the “Jewish Settlement Ransom”) was a special fund established by the Vaad Haleumi or Jewish National Council in 1938 to finance the protection of the Jewish communities in the Land of Israel. Created in response to the Arab Revolt of 1936-1939 and the Jewish population’s concern that the British were not doing enough to protect them, the fund imposed indirect taxes on products such as cigarettes, oil, wine, radios and public transportation. 

The money was used to train soldiers, establish defence units, build fences, construct security routes and build “tower and stockade” settlements. The tax was voluntary, and in return the donor received a stamp such as this one which depicts a tower and stockade outpost, a form of prefabricated fortress.