The economic crisis in Palestine is disappearing and the Jewish upbuilding work in the country is on the eve of a new period of activity.
The day when the Jewish Agency, which is to unite Zionists and non-Zionists in the Palestine upbuilding work, will be created is not distant.
American Jews are beginning to lose the leadership they held in the past decade in providing the financial means for the Palestine work through the Zionist fund raising institutions, since contributions to the Palestine funds in European countries and in South Africa are increasing, making the contribution of American Jews smaller in proportion.
With these statements Dr. Chaim Weizmann, president of the World Zionist Organization, arrived in New York on his fifth visit to the United States.
Shortly after his arrival, Felix M. Warburg, chairman of the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee and one of the American Commissioners of the Jewish Agency Survey Commission, called at the Hotel Commodore to welcome the Zionist leader.
In a special interview with the representative of the “Jewish Daily Bulletin,” Dr. Weizmann said tht in addition to stimulating activities of the Palestine fund-raising agency he intended to conclude final negotiations for the Jewish Agency. He reported that practically all the investigators who were sent to Palestine by the Survey Commission have completed their research work and that their reports are in. While he is in this country, Dr. Weizmann will arrange for a meeting of the Agency Commissioners which include Sir Alfred Mond, Felix Warburg, Lee K. Frankel and Dr. Oscar Wassermann.
Dr. Weizmann was emphatic in declaring that the Jewish Agency negotiations were being carried to their conclusion. “The Jewish Agency is a fact, and nothing has occurred since the Survey Commission was decided upon to alter the plans for the Agency. During my visit here the Agency will be established, according to present arrangements.”
Commenting upon the continued talk of a crisis in Palestine, Dr. Weizmann stated that there was no reason to speak of such a condition at the present time. “According to the latest reports which I have received from the Homeland, the situation is steadily improving. If only we would have carried on our part of the budget, there would have been no agn of stringency whatever in Palestine. With $50,000 a month more from the United States, the difficult conditions would have been entirely liquidated.”
Dr. Weizmann stated that the Zionists of Europe are taking an increasingly active part in the rebuilding of the Homeland, particularly from a financial point of view. “America is not doing its share,” Dr. Weizmann declared. “The various countries of Europe have done more, proportionately, for Palestine that the United States.
“Zionism in Europe is being strengthened. The first indication of that renewed vigor is the substantial increase in the receipts of the Keren Hayesod in England, Poland, Roumania and other countries. The most important growth in Zionist sentiment is taking place in South Africa, however, where the receipts of the Keren Hayesod have averaged one pound per person. Sixty thousand pounds is reported from a territory with a Jewish population of sixty thousand.
“Naturally, however, the largest amount of support for the upbuilding of Palestine must come from the United States, because that country has the largest Jewish population, economically speaking. Upon the Jews of America, at the present time, depends the rate of Palestine’s progress. Unfortunately, however. American Jews have not done everything that was expected of them.”
Answering the question for his opinion on the oppositional squabbles of certain elements in the Zionist Organization, Dr. Weizman stated: “It was thought that after the Zionist Congress work for the upbuilding of Palestine would take on new impetus in the United States because the program presented by the American delegation at Basle was largely accepted. It was on that basis. furthermore. that the Executive made its plans. I now understand that there has been some criticism of the administration in this country. I shall make it a point to ascertain the cause of dissatisfaction during my visit here. If, however, antiadministration agitation has interfered with the upbuilding of Palestine, it is extremely deplorable. There is no justification on any grounds for making the work in Palestine harder than it is.”
Dr. Weizmann stressed the fact that Palestine is emerging from the critical situation in which it found itself for two years. “Money is coming into Palestine. Jews are beginning again to buy land. A new period of building activity is in the offing. Employment projects sponsored by the Government are on the increase. The work on the Ruttenberg electrification scheme is becoming more important all the time. The most significant phase of the present situation in Palestine is the rise of small industries. Factories which, several months ago, were completely idle, are now working in day and night shifts. The Shemen factory is now working full time, too. The cement factory is going at full speed, due to the preparations that are being made for the building of the Haifa harbor.
“Palestine is experiencing a new period of hope, based on the prospects of the Haifa harbor and the Dead Sea exploitation projects. There is no doubt that these two projects will revolutionize the economic structure of the Jewish Homeland. Work on the Haifa harbor is scheduled to begin in the near future, and the actual extraction of chemical deposits from the Dead Sea will start as soon as final negotiations for the concession have been completed.”
The political situation as regards Palestine finds Dr. Weizmann entirely satisfied. Speaking of the High Commissioner of Palestine, Dr. Weizmann characterized him as “a thoroughly capable, reliable person, in whom I have great faith. Palestine is now the most stable country in the Near East. This, it is becoming increasingly clear, is due to British administration. That makes the political problem of Palestine a more dependable factor.
“During the hard times that Palestine experienced, the Government cooperated to the utmost. Several reforms that have been introduced are extremely important, such as the recognition of the Vaad Leumi and the revison of the tariff laws and Land tax. The Government is making strenuous efforts to increase the political and economic stability of the country. True, everything that we want has not been done. We are constantly pressing our demands. But we must admit that several steps forward have been taken.
“We have weathered this storm, though with some casualties. But our moral purpose has been strengthened immeasurably. Palestine will continue to involve us in hardships and sacrifices, but our ideal has not changed. Whatever happens, none of us dares to relinquish the work of upbuilding the Jewish National Homeland,” Dr. Weizmann concluded.