A short-cut to better conditions in Palestine, which would hasten the sound establishment of the Jewish National Home, must be the aim of the immediate policy of the Zionist Organization, declared Dr. A. Coralnick, who recently returned from a visit to Palestine.
Dr. Coralnick, who went to Palestine on behalf of “The Day,” also expressed a new opinion with regard to the much discussed “Fourth Aliyah,” which has been considered partly responsible for present conditions.
“To my mind the paramount question in the Palestine situations is the Fourth Aliyah,” Dr. Coralnick stated. “What did the Fourth Aliyah mean? The idea of the Fourth Aliyah is a very simple one. It meant the coming into Palestine of elements which are considered all over the world as the vanguard of every development, that is, the industrial element. It seems to me that this was the most necessary, the most vital move for Palestine.
“I do not believe that the future of Palestine as far as the Jewish aspirations are concerned. can be based on the agricultural development. The reasons are basic. The soil of Palestine is too hard. The task to irrigate, reafforest and cultivate Palestine is tremendous. I don’t say it cannot be done or should not be done. I say only it requires too long a time and an effort which is perhaps too strenuous for the Jews.
“I think, therefore, that we have to use a short-cut and this is the industrial and commercial development of Palestine.
“Palestine has all the prospects of becoming the great transit road of the Orient, the bridge between Europe and Asia; Jaffa, Haifa or el-Aviv has the possibilities of becoming a new Alexandria and you know what Alexandria was in olden times. Of course, Alexandria had a “Hinterland.” Alexandria was the granery of the world. But what agriculture was at those times, industry is today.
“I cannot give a specific program of how commerce and industry should be built up. I can say that this work has to be done on a large scale with big capital or it will not succeed. And this is the reason why the so called Fourth Aliyah has failed. The Fourth Aliyah was simply a misnomer.
“What happened? Several thousand Polish Jews came to Palestine most of them with no money to speak of, with little technical equipment. They started business on a very small scale, intended mainly for Palestinian consumption. The Zionist administration in Palestine was not able to grapple with the problem. However, I don’t consider this immigration a failure. One of the greatest results is Tel-Aviv. and this is a lasting achievement. This brings me to the question of the Chalutzim,” he said.
“Of course, they were and are valuable. They have a great place in the upbuilding of the spiritual and, to some degree, the material values of Palestine. But I am afraid that the Chalutzim movement is on the wane. And mainly because they tried to combine the simple work of agriculture with a social ideal that is not adapted to the conditions of the country. I do not believe that agricultural settlements can be based on collectivism in one form or the other. We see it in Russia nd elsewhere. The Kvutzoth form was perhaps necessary as a stepping-stone. But this transitory period will be passed very soon. The Kvutzoth form is not a permanent one. The Chalutzim are getting tired; their energy is dwindling away. It is a natural evolution in agricultural life from the ‘Mir’ to use the Russian expression to individualistic ‘Wirtschaft.’
“As to Hebrew values and Palestine’s contribution to human or Jewish culture, I would not like to engage in predictions or in literary analyses. I cannot understand the expression ‘Hebrew values.’ There are no more Hebrew values than Yiddish or German or Volapu. Even in Palestine we have to speak of Jewish values, that is the elements of culture represented by the Jewish spirit. And insofar as Palestine has not produced anything new, she is still living on the spiritual material provided by the European Jews. It will take a long time before there will develop a new Palestinian or Hebrew culture and literature.
“But it will develop; it will be an amalgamation of oriental and occidental culture. There, as in the economic field, Palestine is destined to be a land of transit with the vast hinterland of the Jews of the world,” Dr. Coralnick concluded.