Berlin (Jan. 2)
(By Our Berlin Correspondent)
An appraisal of the progress made in Palestine during the last decade as a result of the activities of the Jews has been made in an article here from the pen of Dr. Franz Oppenheimer, professor at the University of Frankfort, who recently caused a stir with his criticism of the cooperative colonization method promoted in Palestine by the Zionist Organization. Prof. Oppenheimer’s article was written in connection with the formation of the German pro-Palestine Committee, which includes in its membership leaders of all German elements and political parties, as for example, Hoetzsch, of the Deutschnationale Partei and Breitscheid of the Sozialdemo-kratische Partei.
“I was in Palestine twice before the war, in 1910 and in 1913,” Prof. Oppenheimer says in part. “The visible prog-ess which the country shows now, six years after the war, is astonishing Rail connection with Egypt by a most comfortably fitted de luxe train. A far sighted Jewish travel company, the Palestine Lloyd, furnishes sleeping cars, arranges all details in connection with visas, luggage, etc. There is a vastly larger number of better hotels than before. There is a completely new Jewish city, Tel Aviv, and Jewish suburbs in the other cities, Haifa, Tiberias, Jerrusalem, etc. All lower Galilee is studded with Jewish settlements, the whole territory being covered with excellent roads over which a constant movement of automobiles is going on. From Jaffa to Jerusalem (800 meters) it takes less than one hour and a half, and from Haifa to Tiberias, the same length of time, from Jerusalem to Haifa, approximately three hours and a half. Whoever has made the trip in former years over burning roads, sand knee deep and rocks and stones, ditches and ruts, will know how to appreciate the change. Only now the country has become cally approachable and traversable.”
Prof. Oppenheimer then discusses the Arab-Jewish relations, pointing out that there is at present no danger of threatening developments. England has the situation well in hand, the Arabs are divided amongst themselves and they have ceased to fear the Jews as they do not believe a Jewish majority will come to be in Palestine. “Only few people,” Prof. Oppenheimer further declares, “still believe in the Herzlian State inhabited exclusively by Jews; the majority, and precisely the practical persons, have realized that Palestine can only become a sort of Middle-East Switzerland, a country in which two peoples will live side by side in full political cultural equality. Those, however, whose expectations are more modest should be satisfied. It is possible that several hundred thousand Jews who at present have no homeland will find it in Palestine and will found there a well organized community, a community that will create harmonious cooperation betwecn all sections and elements in the country and will always be in a position to accept new immigrants from the old countries. A community which will make it at least difficult to repeat the legend of Jewish inadaptability to any productive work. If, moreover, the effort to arrange the relations and laws regarding land ownership not only in accordance with the most modern economic theories but also in accordance with the laws laid down on this subject in the Bible, should prove successful, then Palestine may become an exemplary state that will serve as a model for the nations of the world. And so it seems to me that participation in this glorious if difficult enterprise constitutes more than mere philanthropy,” Prof. Oppenheimer writes.