Rome (Jun. 20)
(Jewish Telegraphic Agency Mail Service)
A special section for Palestinian geographic studies has been instituted at the Italian Royal Geographical Institute in Florence.
In an interview with the Jewish Telegraphic Agency correspondent here, General Niccola Vache, the President of the Geographical Institute and a member of Parliament, explained what would be the work of the newly formed Palestine section of the Geographical Institute, General Vacche said, is to secure Italian participation in Palestinian studies, historical, critical, analytical or research work of any other nature carried on by special scientific missions in Palestine.
“We intend to create in Italy a background for studies of Palestine analagous to the similar institutions existing in England and Germany. An expedition has already been organized and it will sail in the next few months for Palestine in order to make a thorough geographic study of the Dead Sea and of the depression in which it is situated, as well as of the Jordan Valley. This expedition will prepare and collect the necessary material by means of systematic observations of the variations of the level of the Dead Sea and will report on the meteorology of the whole region. The activity of the Palestinian section will be extended to other fields of research by the establishment in Jerusalem of a centre supplied with bibliographic and cartographic materials for the study of the various Palestinian problems.
“This is the program in general of the Palestine section, which will later add a number of other enterprises, among them the publication of a special periodical which will be the official organ of the new section,” General Vache said.
With regard to the attitude of Italy towards the Jewish upbuilding of Palestine and the various economic and cultural possibilities of this upbuilding, General Vacche said that the Jewish factor would certainly become an element making for the rapid development of Palestine and in this respect the work of Jewish reconstruction would acquire great importance, in particular from the economic point of view and the point of view of the relations between Europe and Asia. “I believe,” he said, “that Italy can on no account dissociate itself from what is happening in Palestine where the courageous and tenacious work of the Jews is transforming the country into a Jewish National Home. It is necessary, therefore, to establish the best possible relations between Italy and Palestine, both of them Mediterranean countries destined on account of their geographical position to work closely together in the economic sphere and also to collaborate in the cultural sphere, as has been demonstrated in the past.
“I believe that such a relationship will be to the advantage of the Jewish population of Palestine, which constitutes the most active factor in the country,” he said.
On the question of the attitude of the Italian Jews to Palestine, General Vacche said that from what he had already stated it followed that Italian Jewry would have some very important work to do by giving its active participation in the upbuilding of Palestine, which would also be of great usefulness to the Italian State.
“Although it is hardly likely that there would be a big emigration of Italian Jews to Palestine, both because of the small numbers of the Italian Jews and because of the lack of that impulse among them which drives the Jews of other countries to seek in the land of their forefathers the Fatherland which they have not been able to find in the countries where they reside, the Italian Jews have, nevertheless, a specific duty to see that Italy should no be absent from the work of upbuilding which is being carried out by the Zionist Organization in Palestine. It is obvious that no Italians more so than those who belong to the Jewish race, could contribute effectively to the good relationship between Italy and Jewish Palestine, and this is why I think that the Italian Jews who follow the Zionist movement lovingly and contribute to the reconstruction of the country are doing a highly patriotic task and are also deserving well of their country.”