Berlin (Nov. 25)
Education and Labor Main Problems; Relations with Mandatory Satisfactory Since Crisis, He Says (J. T. A. Mall Service)
Labor and education are the two outstanding problems which face the Zionist organization in Palestine today, Dr. Chaim Weizmann, president of the World Zionist Organization, emphasized in the addresses he delivered in Germany during his . Central European tour on behalf of the Keren Hayesod.
“The most painful consideration for us in Palestine today is the feeling that the upbuilding work is in a state of stagnation and that we must restrict ourselves to consolidating what already exists,” Dr. Weizmann said. “Such a state of affairs cannot be endured longer than is absolutely necessary. Our very next task is to raise the budget so that the Executive should no longer be faced with the danger of bankruptcy; and to realize that the budget is only a minimum, a preparatory stage for greater work, for larger land puchases. We are putting our house in order and then we shall be able to go forward again. If we stagnate, the Zionist movement ceases to exist. We must fix a time limit for making a new beginning. Those who are now enduring unbearable sufferings in Palestine will hold en only if they know that they must do so for a specified time and that then it will move onward again. We will bear with these conditions for a few years, but then it must be onward again.
“Unemployment in Palestine is still acute, although less so than previously. The works which have been started now will temporarily absorb a large part of the unemployed. In many places there is no longer any unemployment at the moment, but in Tel Aviv we still have to spend thousands of pounds every week to assist the unemployed, if we want to alleviate the distress. The Executive can only provide Â£1,000 a week for this purpose.
“The press,” Dr. Weizmann said, “recently reported that without consulting the Executive I had added Â£300 to the Â£700 which had been previously decided upon. It may be that in an urgent case I would do something like that. hut this time I am innocent. The increase from Â£700 to Â£1,000 was made with the agreement of the Executive. But I want to emphasize that Â£1,000 a week is the most minimum minimum. We need a slow and gradual process of absorption of the unemployed. A large number of them will still be left. After five or six months, we shall have to deal with the serious problem of carrying out this essential work of absorption. The funds for the work must be found outside Palestine.
“The people who are now in Palestine,” Dr. Weizmann went on, “are the generation for which Zionism has waited fifty years. If we waste this splendid human material and allow it to go back, it will hit the very nerve of our movement. If we settle on the land 500 to 600 of the 4,000 unemployed, as a first step, but immediately, we shall find that it will have a very strong psychological effect and will give the others courage to hold on. This is now the pivotal task of our movement.
“The second question which affects us profoundly is the question of education. The Congress agreed to an education budget of $53,000. We must not regard this figure as sacrosanct. It is impossible to cut down a school system recklessly without mutilating it. There must be a limit and the limit is that every child must have a place in the schools, even if instead of $53,000 we have to spend $58,000. If we go beyond the limits. we reach roads which are not Jewish. The Mission Schools are waiting for the moment when our school system withdraws, in order to get the children under their influence. It is our duty to give the Executive a chance to assure to every child a place in school.
“My last visit to Palestine,” Dr. Weizmann said, “convinced me that in spite of the crisis important progress has been made. I am very far from official optimism, but it is a futile thing to be always sadistically pointing to one’s wounds. More people are settling on the land. Industrial development is making progress. In two years’ time the economic aspect of the country will have changed. The building of the harbor in Haifa, the electrification work, and much else point toward this new formation. A country is not built up by Jeremiads. If this development continues for two years, the doors of Palestine will be able to open again.
“Since the crisis the relations of the Zionist Organization to the Mandatory Rower have grown more intimate.” In connection with the agitation of the Revisionists. Dr. Weizmann said that he had delivered many Revisionist speeches in London and in his letters to the authoritiess he was more Revisionist than many Party Revisionists. But one had to find the proper time for one’s words so that they should carry force.
“As things are now,” he continued. “the Mandatory Power is taking a more active part in the overcoming of our difficulties. The Government feels that it is its duty to help us to bear the burden of the uplifting work. For example, the Customs Agreement with Syria, against which the Palestine industrialists complain, is not being enforced for the present. For at least two or three years Palestine industry is safe from this side. A second example. The Government has pledged itself to employ Jewish workers on the public works. But it will not pay our standard of wages; it will pay according to its own standard. We shall have to reduce our standard. Then there is the question of the budget surplus. There was talk of a surplus of IK million pounds. We know that it has dwindled. The Government mav have a surplus of about Â£300.000, which it will be able to invest in public works.”