Menu JTA Search

Palestine Jewish Delegation at Geneva Urges England’s Active Assistance in Upbuilding National Homel

(Jewish Telegraphic Agency)

The demand that the British government, as the mandatory power for Palestine on behalf of the League of Nations, take an active part in assisting the Jewish people in the upbuilding of Palestine as their national home and that it no longer play the passive role it has up to now, was expressed in the memorandum of the Vaad Leumi, the National Council of Palestine Jewry, the delegation of which will appear before the Permanent Mandates Commission, which opened its session here today.

The session was opened on Tuesday morning under the chairmanship of H. Zan Van Rees of Holland, in place of Marquis Theodoli, whose arrival was delayed for several days because of illness. Dr. Chaim Weizmann, president of the World Zionist Organization arrived here today.

The Vaad Leumi declares that it submist its memorandum to the League of Nations in accordance with the covenant of the League. The Vaad Leumi, the memorandum states, is a democratically elected body of the Jews in Palestine.

Describing the present situation in Palestine and the development of the Jewish settelment there the memorandum enumerates the demands the community makes to the mandatory power. The Jewish community in Palestine has never ceased to exist. Its decisive increase began only during the last half century which resulted in the Zionist national movement spreading among the Jewish population throughout the world. In the past years 100,000 Jews have entered the country, 170,000 acres were added to the cultivated land of the world, 60 agricultural settlements were established, towns were erected, schools built, the Hebrew University opened, the Hebrew press developed and industries started. As a modern colonizing enterprise on the scale in which the Jewish national home is being built, it.

The Jewish community of Palestine and the Jewish Agency have striven to furnish the necessary means. The Jewish community of Palestine, however, is convinced of its right to expect practical assistance from the mandatory power in accordance with its civilizing achievements in the country, the achievements which are a modern step toward the redemption of the entire Jewish nation, the memorandum states.

The Jewish community of Palestine has complained to the mandatory power several times that the Palestine administration has adopted a negative policy and is maintaining a passive role instead of actively participating in the Jewish constructive activities, the memorandum declares. This attitude has resulted in the restriction of the Jewish development in the country; Article 6 of the Palestine Mandate is still inoperative, in that the most important tracks of land west of the Jordan are inhabited by sparse settlements of Bedouins who are pasturing goats on land suitable for intensive cultivation, the memorandum declares.

The governmental subsidy for the Hebrew educational chool system in Palestine is negligible. Statutes regulating the conditions of labor are urgently required in view of the fact that the Jewish labor population which in 1921 amounted to 4,000 has now reached the number of 25,000. The governmental customs system is not calculated to protect and promote the young Palestine industries, the memorandum states.

A demand that the import duties on raw materials be removed was voiced in the memorandum.

The Vaad Leumi also asks that the Palestine government enact as soon as possible the Palestine communities ordinance which would accord a measure of self-government to the local Jewish communities.

The memorandum of the Vaad Leumi expresses dissatisfaction with the Palestine government’s ordinance concerning the frontier defense unit. The Jewish community of Palestine demands full participation and quality of all nationalities in the life of the country and complains that many government departments ignore Hebrew as one of the official languages recognized by the Mandate. The Vaad Leumi demands that democratic elections be held in the municipalities, that measures be taken against land speculation and the rising of land values, that better facilities be provided for the Jews to acquire Palestinian citzenship.

The memorandum also complains that Jewish railway workers and policemen were compelled to work on the Sabbath and Jewish holidays and even on the Day of Atonement. The memorandum also refers to the events on the last Day of Atonement when the benches of Jewish worshippers were removed from the Wailing Wall by an order of the police.

“The Jews of Palestine have never regarded themselves as a local body but as a national home in the process of evolution. The Jewish community of Palestine feels that it has the right to count on the moral and political support of the League of Nations and the mandatory power, in view of the fact that the undertaking of the mandatory power is not only to create new cultural values, to bring about the redemption of the Jewish masses whose lives are menaced, but also the reclamation of a desolate country,” the memorandum concludes.

The Vaad Leumi points out that in its appeal to the League of Nations. it is acting as in other times in close cooperation with the Jewish Agency which it regards as the legitimate representative of the Jewish people of the world.

Among the recipients of the 200 degrees and diplomas awarded to the graduates of the Institute of Technology, the Night School of Engineering, the Night School of Art and the Woman’s Art School of Cooper Union, 60 are Jewish.

NEXT STORY