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First Garden City for Workers Being Established in Palestine Near Haifa

(Jewish Telegraphic Agency)

Plans for a workers garden city for 1,200 families–about 6,000 people–the first community of its kind to be established in Palestine–have just been announced by the Jewish National Fund and Keren Hayesod.

The garden city, considered of great significance in the colonization of Palestine, will be located near Haifa on the Jidra estate recently bought by the National Fund, American Zion Commonwealth and other organizations. This area is now in the midst of an intense development because of its industrial projects and its coming harbor improvement. The garden city will occupy about 5,500 dunam of land, owned by the Jewish National Fund.

Improvement of the land will cost about $900,000, half of which will be borne by the Workers’ Organization, the balance equally between the National Fund and the Keren Hayesod. The workers will raise their $450,000 by deducting approximately $5 monthly from the wages of the 2,000 workmen to be employed in the undertaking, beginning April first and continuing for twenty to twenty-five months until the whole amount is fully paid.

The National Fund has been considering the problem of workers suburbs for some years, because of the serious living conditions facing Jewish workmen forced to reside in the congested cities where rents and other expenses are so high. Workers’ suburbs also help introduce a sounder basis of urban development for Palestine.

The establishment of a workers’ suburb on Haifa Bay marks the beginning of the exploitation of this important area, which is bound to become increasingly important, economically and politically, as the Port of Haifa develops. The employment of a large number of workers will ease the present seasonal unemployment conditions in Palestine, and will also help solve the acute housing problem facing Palestine’s growing city workers’ population. The proposed suburb will include an agricultural zone, enabling the city worker to retain contact with the soil and further provision is to be made to establish a group of women agriculturists in the suburb.

The statement issued by the National Fund and Keren Hayesod says in part:

“High rents and the high cost of living fall with the greatest hardship upon the worker who is compelled to live in congested surroundings. He finds himself compelled to remain a wage laborer with no prospect of establishing his own home. The waves of unemployment which must be expected in urban pursuits render his position still more insecure. Partly to meet these ills and in order to introduce a sounder basis for the development of our towns, Workers Suburbs on the lines of Garden Cities have been long proposed as a solution of these difficulties.

“Several important factors may be stressed. The establishment of a workers’ suburb on the Haifa Bay estate marks the beginning of the utilization of this important area which is bound to become increasingly significant both economically and politically as the port of Haifa develops. Further, the employment of a large number of workers will ease the present unemployment difficulties. Thirdly a substantial step forward will be made in the solution of the housing problem of our growing city working population. In regard to the new suburb itself it may be mentioned that it will include an agricultural zone, thus enabling the urban worker to retain contact with the soil. Further provision will be made for the establishment of a group of women agriculturists important from so many points of view. The suburb will accommodate 1,200 working families.”

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