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At times, he unintentionally arrived at danger zones. In 1929, he would arrive at Jerusalem every week or two to closely follow the construction of the first wing of the National Institutions Building – the KKL-JNF Wing. While he was in Jerusalem, the 1929 Arab Riots broke out, and the city become a center of violence and murder. Ratner made himself available to the local branch of the "Haganah" and hurried to every danger spot, sometimes at great personal risk. Thus, he reached Motza a short time after the massacre of the Makleff Family and its guests, and helped rescue those who were besieged there, including the mother of the family, who was seriously injured and passed away on her way to the hospital. Over the following decades, he remained in touch with Mordechai Makleff, who had been nine years old at the time and who survived with his sister, including during the period in which he served as the third IDF Chief of Staff.
Due to his civilian profession, Ratner became the authority within the "Haganah" with regards to the establishment of settlements and fortification. They turned to him not only because of his extensive military knowledge, which few in the "Haganah" commanders could match, but also because of his experience as a planner and an architect. This was the case in one of the key enterprises of the "Haganah" during the "Arab Revolt" (1936-1939).
Members of the "Hashomer Hatzair" group that resided in Kibbutz Beit Alfa were supposed to take possession of land several kilometers from there but due to the events of the "Arab Revolt", this was repeatedly postponed. Shlomo Grazovsky (Gur), a member of the kibbutz, came up with a brilliant idea: Establish within a day a temporary fortified settlement 35X35 meters in size, surround it with a double wooden wall filled in-between with gravel against long-range shots, so that the settlement would be standing by nightfall.
Many had questioned the plan's practicality and the "Haganah" commanders in the Valley told Gur: Go to Ratner in the Technion and show him the plan. Gur did so and Ratner became enthusiastic and gave his approval along with an improvement: He proposed placing at the center of the settlement a tower with a spotlight to keep watch during the night for any suspicious movement. Thus, the "Wall and Tower" enterprise was born. Over the three years of the riots, more than fifty settlements were established in this format, and determined the map of Jewish settlements in the Land of Israel to a large degree.
In 1938, Ratner was promoted to a key position in the "Haganah". Since the Thirties, the organization was headed by a national, equal headquarters – three members from the left and three from the right. During the "Arab Revolt", the "Haganah" demonstrated its capabilities, but also discovered it weaknesses: a decentralized organization, a discordant leadership and only partial successes in many of the operations. The Head of the Finance Department in the Jewish Agency, Eliezer Kaplan, who also held the Settlement Portfolio, summoned Ratner to him (probably at David Ben-Gurion's emissary), who explained to him the difficulties of the "Haganah" in military terms and presented him with proposals for improvement. Kaplan requested a memo and this was submitted to him on the following day. The memo reached the Agency Chairman David Ben-Gurion, and a three-way meeting was held several days later: Ben-Gurion, the Head of the Haganah Eliyahu Golomb and Ratner.

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