Jerusalem Zionist Executive Reports on Financial Operations

(Jewish Telegraphic Agency)

A complete report of the financial operations of the Zionist Executive in Jerusalem, showing a deficit of £E133,144 was submitted by the Zionist Executive to the Finance Committee of the Zionist Congress.

The financial report of the Palestine Zionist Executive renders account for the period beginning October 1, 1924 and ending May 31, 1927. Of special interest is the section of the report dealing with the period beginning October 1, 1926 and ending May 31, 1927, the time when the Executive had to cope with the growing unemployment in the country. It appears that since the beginning of 1927 6,000 unemployed workers, registered with the Executive, have been receiving support from the dole system of relief inaugurated by the Executive in August 1926.

According to the report, the Zionist Executive in the period October 1926 to May 1927 had a total expenditure amounting to £E414,007, while the income amounted to £E352,385. The total of the Executive’s debts on account of expenditures made amounts to £E133,144.

The income was as follows: £E339,422 from the Keren Hayesod, £E5,643 from the Keren Hayesod as an extraordinary contribution and £E7,318 through collections made in Palestine.

The main difficulty seems to have been with the Labor Department which was allotted a budget of £E60,000 by the Fourteenth Zionist Congress. This was later increased to £E100,000 by a decrease in a number of other items by ten percent. The unemployment situation made this new budget insufficient and by the end of May 1927 the expenditure of the Labor Department amounted to £E115,274. Further committments incurred by the department which have not yet been paid amount to £E19,843, thus the total expenditure of the Labor Department in the period under review amounted to £E135,117. This does not include any relief payments made after May 1927. During the last few months the weekly payment for relief amounted to £E2,100 which means that until the end of the year the additional amount will be £E36,000.

According to the report the ordinary Palestine budget as adopted by the General Council at its meeting in London in August 1927 amounted to £E509,100 as against £E600,000 of the preceding year. During the period under review this budget was fully covered by the Keren Hayesod, the total amount which the Keren Hayesod put at the disposal of the Zionist Executive for the eight months, October 1926 to May 1927, amounted to £E339,424 or exactly 8-12ths of the ordinary budget. This income, however, was found by the Executive to be insufficient to cover the expenditures because it found itself compelled to increase the budget of the Labor Department in view of the growth of the unemployment which started in October 1925. The number of the unemployed workers varied between 5,000 and 7,000 up to September 1926.

In April 1927 the number of registered unemployed reached 8,234. The total amount paid in relief from October 1926 until May 1927 amounts to £E43,994. During the same period a number of public works were undertaken to aid the unemployed. On account of these works, the amount of £E40,564 was spent.

“As pointed out,” the report states, “the Executive had incurred a deficit of £71,522 by the end of 1926, which had made the financial situation of the Executive extremely difficult. These financial difficulties were greatly increased during the period October 1926–May 1927 when a new deficit of £E61,622 was created. The arrears in salaries to the officials of the Executive and to the teachers rose to four months up till the end of May. The work of all departments was severely handicapped by the constant lack of money. Liabilities increased monthly; the total indebtedness of the Executive to the bank and creditors (including arrears of salaries) stood at £E195,600 per the end of May 1927, ## against £E131,663 per the 1st of October 1926.

“It is clear that under such circumstances,” the report continues, “the work of the Executive becomes paralyzed. The income from the Keren Hayesod is pledged months in advance; the money that is received is used for the payment of debts instead of for fresh constructive effort. A further expansion of the amount outstanding as indebtedness of the Executive would have the most serious consequences and cannot be contemplated. The utmost endeavors should be made without any delay to reduce the maximum expenditure to below the level of the minimum income so as to provide the necessary funds for covering the arrears of salaries outstanding and other debts of the Executive, while reducing the total amount of notes payable. Only then will the Executive be able to resume the mastership of its own activities, which have been latterly dictated by its financial embarrassments,” the report states.

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