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Daily Digest of Public Opinion on Jewish Matters

[The purpose of the Digest is informative: Preference is given to papers not generally accessible to our readers. Quotation does indicate approval.--Editor.]

Ap optimistic view of the economic prospects in Palestine in connection with the proposed Palestine government loan is taken by Prof. W. Basil Worsfold, well known English historian and Oxford lecturer who recently directed a request to John D. Rockefeller, Jr., that, following the final withdrawal of his $10,000,000 gift offered to the Egyptian government for the purpose of establishing a new archaeological museum in Cairo, he turn his philanthropies to Palestine writing on “The Economic Outlook in Palestine,” in the July issue of the English monthly, “The Nineteenth Century and After.”

“Palestine,” he writes, “hitherto a subject of melancholy interest to the British taxpayer, now threatens to obtrude itself upon the thoughts of the British investor. In short, Palestine has an economic outlook.”

He continues: “With the attainment of a substantial surplus, and the near prospect of the loan, it may be said, as was said of its neighbor, Egypt some thirty-five years ago, that Palestine has definitely turned the corner and entered upon an era of assured solvency’.”

Professor Worsfold. declaring that “a survey of the economic position in Palestine must take into account three factors: 1. The normal progress of production as based upon the present economic capacity of the people and the soil: 2. The agencies tending to accelerate this normal progress; and, 3. The development of undeveloped resources,” reviews the Zionist work in the country and its contribution to the progress in the country. He directs particular attention to the importance of the Ruttenberg electrification and irrigation projects, construction of the Haifa and Jaffa harbors, and to the expected sensational developments in the field of unexploited natural resources, particularly those of the Dead Sea.

“The third factor (mentioned above) comprises the less certain but more engaging field of unknown and undeveloped resources.

“This is the factor most worthy of attention, since upon the results of these new developments it depends whether Palestine is merely to go on with a respectable rate of annual progress in productivity, or whether the economic capacity of the people and soil is to be raised suddenly to an altogether higher level.

“Up to the present there are no indications of discoveries of gold or precious stones such as those which brought a sudden access of population and wealth to California, Australia, and South Africa. But there are in sight two less sensational developments and one promising ‘windfall’,” he writes.

“There remains the Dead Sea,” he continues. “Quite early the Administration received an offer of monetary consideration for a grant of the sole right to recover the potash and magnesium stored beneath the glittering surface of these waters.

“In the absence of any precise knowledge of the value of the deposits they refrained from accepting it. The nature of the concession was the subject of very careful consideration at Jerusalem and at Downing Street. It was necessary to safeguard the interests of the people of Palestine and of the Mandatory Power, and to avoid mistakes the advice of a committee of experts, set up by the Colonial Office, was obtained. In these circumstances it is not surprising that some years elapsed before the terms of the concession could be determined; but when it length this had been done, the concession was offered for sale to the highest bidder in the open market.

“The tenders were received last October, and the Palestine Administration and the Crown Agents for the Colonies are now considering them. The concession requires the concessionaires, apart from giving proof of their ability to work the undertaking efficiently, to show that they can command the capital necessary to build a railway running up the Jordan Valley to join the Haifa-Damascus line at Beisan.

“If crystallization by solar evaporation proves to be practicable, it is understood that the cost of recovery and transport will permit of the potash being sold at a profitable price.

“Among all these developments, this promise of wealth from the Dead Sea–for so many centuries the type of Divine wrath, of supreme human disaster, and of uttermost physical desolation–is the most significant.

“Significant of what?

Of a harvest of Dead Sea fruit, of balked hopes and unsuccessful efforts? Or, as I would rather think, of a new economic era in which Palestine under the broad folds of the flag of England will become once more populous, well cultivated, fertile and beautiful, and its people will play a part in the progress of mankind as great as, perhaps even greater than, the great part which once they played under the eagles of the Caesar?”

THE PRICE OF NEGLIGENCE

The apprehension of two Jewish bandits by the New York police is characterized by “The Day” as “the price of negligence.”

“The excuse that we are entitled to our quota of criminals, that this quota of our is not even filled, is not much of an excuse to the world at large Public opinion, which soon forgets the Chapmans and the Whittemores, will long remember our Loebs and Leopolds, Goldbergs and Cohens,” the paper writes.

“If crime is for others merely an unavoidable evil, it is for us a disaster. If excuses may be found for others, we will not be pardoned easily. Among ourselves, however, if not for the world at large, we must find an explanation of this crime wave. The better we understand the causes of this moral degeneration of a part of our youth, the nearer we will be to the solution of this most dreadful of our problems.

“The most important cause of the fact that so many of our young men go astray seems to be their estrangement and side-stepping from the Jewish manner of living and from Jewish culture. When the yoke of tradition is entirely thrown off with a single stroke, when one permits children to grow up without any home influence and outside the spiritual environment of their own people, one may expect that a part of those neglected and abandoned should not find in themselves the moral and spiritual power necesary to resist all the illusions and temptations of the great city.

“The Jewish community in America in the first years of its development neglected the spiritual education of its children. The present day Jewish criminals are the price which the American Jewish community pays for that negligence. At closer range one will observe that a majority of the Jewish criminals of whom the newspapers are so full now are in the late twenties. Twenty years ago almost all of them were children of the East Side, who ‘knocked around’ without any spiritual influence and without a Jewish moral education, which would have protected them from danger

“The well developed Jewish school system and the entire cultural apparatus which we have started to build for our then. They, the Jewish criminals, and American Jewish youth did not exist we who must suffer for them, now pay a terrible price for this. It is possible that we will have to pay for a long time, but less and less every year, for the sounder Jewish life in America will become, the greater the spiritual influence of the Jewish community, the greater will be the liquidation of Jewish delinquency and the smaller will be the chances for further moral degeneration,” the paper states.

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