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Jewish Agency Commission, After London Conference, Makes Public Its Findings and Recommendations for

The report of the Jewish Agency Commission, submitted to Louis Marshall, president of the American Jewish Committee, and to Dr. Chaim Weizmann, president of the World Zionist Organization on June 18, 1928, was made public by the Commissioners through the Jewish Telegraphic Agency today. The document reads in full as follows:

INTRODUCTORY NOTE

The mandate for Palestine, which is appended to this document as annex number 2, provides in article 4 that the Zionist Organization, which is recognized as the Jewish Agency for Palestine “shall take steps in consultation with His Majesty’s Government to secure the cooperation of all Jews who are willing to assist in the establishment of the Jewish National Home.” With a view of facilitating such cooperation, the Zionist Organization has recently made proposals to various groups of non-Zionists interested in the upbuilding of Palestine for the enlargement of the Jewish Agency and its reconstitution on a broader basis. His Majesty’s Government have been informed concerning these proposals and have intimated their general approval. After a series of conferences the Joint Palestine Survey Commission was constituted in June 1927 for the purpose of ascertaining by means of a survey and investigation conducted along scientific lines into the resources, economic conditions and possibilities in Palestine to facilitate the framing of a comprehensive and systematic programme for future constructive work in Palestine and for the guidance of a reorganized Jewish Agency.

As Commissioners to carry through this agreement were designated Sir Alfred Mond, Lee K. Frankel, Felix M. Warburg, Oscar Wasserman. The designations were accepted and the several members of the Commission visited Palestine in 1927 and 1928 and there conducted personal inquiries.

To aid them in their task they availed themselves of the services of the following experts who made extensive studies on the various subjects and reported to them.

37 Lowndes Square, London, S. W. 1.

June 18, 1928.

Louis Marshall, Esq.

Dr. Chaim Weizmann.

Gentlemen:

Pursuant to the mission entrusted us by the terms of reference and specifications bearing the date of June 1st, 1927, to conduct a survey and investigation into the resources, economic conditions and possibilities of Palestine, to facilitate the framing of a comprehensive and systematic programme for future constructive work in Palestine and for the guidance of a re-organized Jewish Agency, we submit this, our unanimous report.

It was with considerable reluctance that we assumed the responsibility involved in the task committed to us. fully recognizing the difficulties and delicacy of the problem to be confronted, the variety of opinions entertained by Jews of Palestine and those living in other countries concerning the various phases of the subject to be investigated and the necessity for proceeding on independent lines of inquiry.

We embarked on our mission with the consideration that the great desideratum was to collate all facts ascertainable which would enable an unprejudiced mind to visualize Palestine as it is and present our conclusions and recommendations based on those facts impartially and in accordance with our best judgment. Some of us already had been in Palestine. Yet, every member of the Commission proceeded, thither subsequent to its creation and familiarized himself with general conditions. We have also had the benefit of carefully formulated reports of distinguished experts selected by you to which we have given intensive study and upon which our findings are largely founded. These reports we now deliver to you for such use as you may desire to make of them.

For convenience we have divided our report into two parts. The first contains our findings of facts given as far as practicable in the order in which the subjects were touched upon in the terms of reference; the second part contains our recommendations based on our actual findings and on the reports of the experts. It will afford a suitable background to premise our findings with a succinct historical statement concerning the movement which has attracted the attention of the world to Palestine after centuries of indifference and which has evoked most exalted ideals and the warmest enthusiasm of Jews in every part of the globe.

COMMISSION’S CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS

In a preliminary statement surveying the results of ten years of Jewish activity in Palestine due weight must be given to the special character of the problem which had to be dealt with. The unsettled condition of Palestine at the close of the war and the political unrest which prevailed were themselves sufficient to make it necessary for both the government of Palestine and all colonizing agencies to proceed cautiously.

Until 1920 Palestine was governed as a country under military occupation. A civil administration under a British High Commissioner was established in July 1920 and two years elapsed before the status of Palestine was regularized by the confirmation of the terms of the mandate by the Council of the League of Nations. Throughout this period Palestine was disturbed by political agitation culminating in the Jaffa riots in May, 1921. Since then there occurred no disturbance of the public peace and the tension which existed gradually relaxed. The anti-Zionist agitation among the Arabs practically ceased, largely because they realized that Jewish immigration is far from injuring them and has in many respects been materially to their advantage. Nevertheless in appraising the work done in Palestine it should be borne in mind that the country is one in which the great majority of the inhabitants is not Jewish.

It is, moreover, a country not only devastated by war but one which suffered from centuries of neglect. The country was not without natural resources, but little or nothing had been made of them and both time and money were required for their development. In the conditions existing at the termination of the war, Palestine was not a promising field for colonization, even had the area been more extensive and the sonl more fertile. In important respects the problem which the Zionist Organization had to deal with was unusual. The Zionist Organization was devoid of governmental powers, did not possess government’s resources, land or money. It relied on voluntary contributions. That it was able to secure funds averaging nearly£ 650,000 annually affords striking testimony to the devotion and enthusiasm of its supporters. Most immigrants had little or no agricultural experience; most of them came from countries in which living conditions are altogether different than those prevalent in Palestine. They were, however, imbued by a lofty ideal.

Due to the weight being given to these considerations, a broad survey of Jewish activities in Palestine since the close of the war leads to the general conclusion that the results may be regarded as hopeful for the future, though mistakes may have been committed in the course of these years.

Based upon the reports of the experts and on their own personal observations, the Commissioners have reached the following conclusions and make the following recommendations.

IMMIGRATION

1. The immigration programme of the Palestine Zionist Executive has not always been prepared with due regard to the actual facts and conditions. Conclusions too sanguine have sometimes been drawn from temporary and abnormal demands for labor when there were not sufficient grounds for assuming that they would continue. While it is desirable to bring into Palestine as many immigrants as the country may reasonably absorb, it is clear that in the long run Jewish interests will be best served by a programme pursuant to which there shall always be maintained a reasonable balance between the number of immigrants admitted and the economic needs of the country.

2. It is suggested as regards immigration of persons without means that existing government regulations, while generally satisfactory, might be amended to enable the Jewish Agency to submit proposals for a labor schedule three times instead of twice a year. The present period of six months is too long for ascertaining the needs of the labor market.

3. A more thorough selection of individual immigrants than has hitherto prevailed and more in consonance with the needs of the country should be made.

4. As regards immigrants with means, the selection of such immigrants constitutes a responsibility which should not be assumed by the Palestine Offices of the Jewish Agency. Free play must be given to private enterprise. The immigrants should be given full and detailed information in regard to the conditions prevailing in Palestine. To that end the Jewish Agency should maintain an efficient Information Bureau which should be in constant communication with the Palestine Government and the principal centers from which the immigrants come.

5. Immigrants with means, as preseribed by government regulations and who are qualified to undertake industrial and commercial enterprises, should be encouraged to settle in Palestine.

6. The Palestine Offices must bear a purely economic character, working under the direct orders and instructions of the Immigration Department of the Jewish Agency, independently of local politics, it being necessarily understood that these offices are to work in cooperation with the local Jewish organizations.

7. Repayments by immigrants of all advances made to or for them should be enforced as speedly as they are able to make such repayments.

AGRICULTURE

1. On the basis of the experts’ calculations, without allowing for improvements of the land through artificial fertilization, and taking into account all cultivatable land in Palestine, it would appear possible to subdivide such land into

33,000 irrigated farms 50,000 non-irrigated farms

50,000 non-irrigated farms

Of this land approximately 8 percent is now in Jewish hands.

2. Until the Jewish Agency shall have in hand funds to proceed with the consolidation of all existing colonies where such consolidation is deemed desirable, no new colonies shall be established.

3. The Commission regrets that the Palestine government has not yet found it practicable to take steps towards the facilitation of “close settlements of Jews on land including state lands and waste lands not required for public purposes” as contemplated in article 6 of the Mandate. It takes note of the statement of the Government that apportionment of state lands to Jewish settlers cannot take place until the cadastral survey of the country is completed. It is believed, however, that it would be appropriate for the Jewish Agency to urge the Government to adopt measures to render certain lands available for settlement even before the completion of the survey.

4. The importance of a systematic policy of afforestation throughout Palestine cannot be exaggerated. It would not only favorably influence the climate and afford protection for the water supply, but render possible eventually to utilize the hill sections of the country which are not available for agriculture and thereby provide a new source.

It is believed that the extension of such a policy is likewise the function of the government and it is hoped that the Palestine government will seriously consider this project.

5. No progressive colonization in Palestine is practicable until modification of the present system of taxation is effected. The Commissioners are aware that the government of Palestine have adopted as a temporary expedient a plan for the commutation of the Tithe based on the average of five years yield of the land. This, however, has been applied only in certain villages. Although this new system eliminates some of the major evils of the Tithe, it will not prove satisfactory, since taxation should be based not on the actual yield but on the unimproved value of the property to be taxed.

6. It is desirable that the government of Palestine shall stimulate the agricultural development of the country by exempting new agricultural enterprises from taxation for five years, in conformity with the common practice in other parts of the world where encouragement of agricultural colonization is sought.

7. Efforts should be made in the future to secure such settlers who possess means of their own in addition to those immigrants who, though without means, are especially qualified for agricultural settlements, the Chaluzim.

8. It is desirable that before the colonist is settled on the land, the preparation of the holding should be carried to a point at which it is capable by good husbandry to provide him with a living from the beginning. This necessitates previous drainage of the land, provision for a water supply, in the case of irrigable land, installation of suitable irrigation works, the construction of such roads as are required for communications and connection with the nearest highway, and the preparation of the soil itself for the selected crops. This selection should be made on the basis of adequate scientific data and machinery and implements to be placed at the disposal of the colonist should be carefully adapted to the actual requirements.

9. The agricultural colonization department is to be reorganized and conducted by the Jewish Agency in such a manner as to secure competent business management and the application of sound economic principles in the administration.

10. In the opinion of the experts, the further establishment of communal settlements, known as Kvuzoth, is undesivable, but the equipment of the existing settlements of this character should be completed. The Commissioners concur in this opinion.

As regards new colonies initiated during the past year, the Commissioners believe that they should not be abandoned, but the necessary means must be found to proceed with their equipment, provided that reorganization can be effected to convert them into individualistic, cooperative settlements, known as Moshavim, or to use them as training centers.

11. In view of past experience, unless new factors come to light, further establishment of hill colonies should be abandoned.

12. The desirability of enabling setters to become actual owners of the land is recognized. Under the present articles of the association of the Jewish National Fund, this seems precluded on its lands. The Jewish Agency should, therefore, in addition to lands now owned or hereafter acquired by the Jewish National Fund, secure a land reserve free from similar restrictions.

All soil purchases should be preceded by thorough soil analyses and water surveys and the price should not exceed the fair value of the land.

13. In the past more colonists have been settled in given areas than can reasonably be maintained thereon. It is important that this tendency be guarded against in the future colonization. There are existing colonies in which holdings per family will have to be increased if the settlers are to become self-supporting. The needs of each individual colony present separate problems which should be dealt with in accordance with their merit without delay. The problem is complicated both in existing colonies and in the new colonization, because of the lack of reliable data concerning the number and material point such as the water supply available for irrigation and the extent to which the productivity of the soil can be increased by the use of fertilizers. A hydrographic survey should therefore be made at an early date and the practicability of artificial fertilization should likewise be ascertained. The making of such a hydrographic survey seems to be the function of the government because of the tremendous part which an adequate water supply plays in the future development of all Palestine.

14. Formal written contracts between the Jewish Agency and the individual settlers should be executed at once and without the intervention of any other body.

In arriving at the amount which the settler is to repay, liberal allowances are to be made for the fact that the monies advanced by the Palestine Zionist Executive as the cost of settlement were enhanced by causes for which the settler is not responsible. The amount to be repaid should be fixed at a sum at which the land can be profitably operated with due regard to the economic value of the land rather than to the amount expended upon it by the Jewish Agency. Payments are to be made in installments at times to be specified in the contract. Settlers who fail to meet these requirements are to be replaced by others who will.

15. The possibilities for Jewish settlement are limited by the supply of cultivable land in Palestine. It is therefore desirable that prompt investigations be made regarding the use of artificial fertilizers. This is of special importance in view of the fact that land prices have reached a very high figure.

16. The principle that outside labor of any kind shall not be employed by settlers, as now practiced in Zionist colonies, is indefensible if one has in mind the ultimate success of the colonization.

This is impossible, among other reasons, because at times when the fruits of all efforts expended by the colonist are at stake, he is unable to hire the necessary labor without which it will be impossible for him and his family to harvest the crop. Many difficulties which were sought to be obviated by the existing system might be met by inserting in the contract between the colonization department and the settler of a clause whereby minimal compensation is assured to hired labor.

17. The present unscientific use of water in parts of the Citrus Zone is already showing signs of lower water levels. In view of the importance of the citrus industry, regulations should be adopted and enforced for the proper use of water for irrigation purposes.

18. The zones for new settlement should as far as practicable be located in areas which are suitable for growing specialty export crops, with due regard to the general agricultural needs of the country.

19. The cooperative purchase of materials and supplies required by the settlers as well as the cooperative marketing of the produce is regarded as conducive to the creation of better conditions both economic and social. Such a system must, however, be administered by an organization or a body which is not influenced by social theories.

20. The coordination of the activities of the various bodies engaged in agricultural research and extension work is of primary importance. It is of equal importance that planning of research activities for a number of years in advance should become practicable and for the further purpose it is necessary that the system of instruction and unification of curriculum in agricultural schools be brought about, so that the present overlapping be eliminated. A board should be constituted representing the government department for agriculture, the department for agricultural colonization of the Jewish Agency, the Pica, the Mikweh Israel school and the Hebrew University.

21.There is no subject of more importance than the marketing of the products of the colonists. This calls for a careful investigation and involves the adoption and maintenance of high standards of quality, the problem of shipment and transportation and the creation of an agency which is to facilitate the handling and the sale of such products.

INDUSTRY

1. The encouragement of industry should not in any sense be regarded as a matter of subordinate importance.

While it is essential that the work of agricultural colonization be continued and intensified, there is room in Palestine for industrial development. Of the entire population of Palestine, about 65 percent, lives on the land. Taking the country as a whole, from the point of view of consumption, it cannot therefore be said that the urban population is disproportionately large.

2. Steps should be taken toward the establishment in London and in New York of a Palestine commercial and tourist bureau. The Jewish Agency should offer its cooperation to the government of Palestine in this matter.

The support of the Pica, chambers of commerce, banks and principal producers should be enlisted.

3. In Palestine, as in other countries, it is essential that industries should enjoy some measure of protection in their infancy.

The effect of the revised customs tariff recently promulgated is to give protection to certain local industries. It is not suggested that the protective duties be levied indiscriminately. Every case should be considered on its merits in accordance with a well considered policy. A judicious use of tariffs for the encouragement of industries, having reasonable prospects for establishing themselves on a self-supporting basis, will have a beneficial effect upon the conditions of life in Palestine and will be to the advantage of the population as a whole.

4. Bound up with the question of tariffs is that of customs agreements with neighboring countries. Article 18 of the Palestine Mandate provides “the Mandatory shall see that there is no discrimination in Palestine against nationals of any state that is a member of the League, including companies incorporated under its laws, as compared with those of the Mandatory or any foreign state in matters concerning taxation, commerce and navigation.”

The same article states that the administration of Palestine “may on the advice of the Mandatory conclude special customs agreements with any state, the territory of which in 1914 was wholly included in Asiatic Turkey or Arabia.” There would therefore appear to be nothing to prevent the Palestine government from concluding customs agreements with Syria, Iraq, Hedjas and Turkey. Customs agreements with those neighboring countries are of special importance since they constitute the natural markets for Palestinian products. A customs agreement approximating free trade between Palestine and Syria was, in fact, negotiated in 1921, but it is understood that this agreement is not to be persisted in. If such agreements are to serve a useful purpose it is essential that there should be no sudden changes since new industries cannot be expected to make headway if exposed to the risk of abrupt alterations in the conditions under which they were established.

5. In view of the complicated problems involved in the use of protective duties and the importance of insuring that tariffs shall take into consideration the interests alike of the industry, the revenue and the consuming public, it seems desirable for the government of Palestine to establish a special Tariff Board which should be charged with the duty of laying down and applying definite principles of fiscal policy.

6. The existing railway tariffs in Palestine are not sufficiently flexible and neither favor the local manufacturers against the importer, nor encourage the export trade. It is suggested that the government of Palestine consider the feasibility of a general reduction in freight rates and in particular of the introduction of a special tariff on goods for export.

7. The corodination of transport facilities is assuming an increasing importance, especially in view of the harbor projects now in contemplation.

The establishment of a Transport Board by the Palestine government is, therefore, deemed to be an urgent necessity.

8. The development of home industries is of essential importance. Certain sections of the Jewish population, notably the Yemenites, are adapted to this occupation. Such industries would not only cater to the tourist traffic, but in view of the sentimental appeal of Palestine, is likely to open remunerative markets abroad. By these means a considerable number of Jewish workers in towns could find employment outside of factories.

9. A coordinated effort between the government of Palestine and the Jewish Agency should be initiated for the establishment of a bureau which would advise prospective immigrants as to the advisability of transferring their existing plants to Palestine or establishing new industries there.

On such a bureau should be represented

a. The government of Palestine.

b. The Jewish Agency.

c. Chambers of Commerce.

d. The Economic Board for Palestine.

e. Banks.

f. Palestine Manufacturers Association.

g. The Jewish Labor Federation.

10. It is highly desirable, as a source of revenue, to provide adequate hotel facilities for the ever-increasing number of tourists.

EDUCATION

1.It is the function of the government to furnish a minimum of secular education to every child whose parents demand such instruction. Grants should be made by the government to such non-governmental schools as comply with the minimium requirements as shall be laid down officially. The grant should be based upon the proportion of children attending the schools.

2.The present system whereby a grant-in-aid is paid to the Jewish Agency for further distribution is satisfactory since its guarantees the maintenance of proper standards.

The Jewish Agency will doubtless desire to supplement the government grant.

PUBLIC HEALTH

1. A larger share of the responsibility than hitherto assumed in regard to public health should be borne by the government of Palestine.

Such functions as vaccination, suppression of epidemics, control of contagious diseases, drainage and improvements in quarantine service constitute the direct duties of the government.

2. It is desirable that grants-in-aid be extended to private hospitals upon the basis of the number of days of free treatment provided in them.

The Jewish Agency will doubtless desire to supplement these subventions to maintain the standards regarded by them as essential.

3. The medical and health work conducted under Jewish auspices should be coordinated and consolidated.

It is probable that the Hadassah is the logical organization to undertake this coordination.

4. The Kupath Cholim, Sick Fund of the Workmen’s Labor Federation, should limit its activities to the task which it has primarily set for itself, namely, workmen’s insurance sick benefits and care of convalescents, turning over to the health department of the Jewish Agency, its other medical and health activities.

It is proper that the reorganized Kupath Cholim be maintained since it has been instrumental in teaching sound principles of self-help and self-government.

5. Every effort should be made to coordinate the activities of private hospitals in Palestine, to maintain an harmoniously working system.

This may involve the formation of a Central Hospital Board and the consolidation of a number of institutions.

LABOR

1. The Jewish Agency Commission sympathizes with the aspirations of the workers to improve their social and economic condition and welcomes their realization.

2. Whilst fully appreciating the achievements of the organizations representative of the workers in the direction of agriculture, immigration, health services and cultural activities, it is believed that the acceptance of the principle that industry and agriculture must be established upon an economic basis including an equitable return on capital invested, is necessary, preliminary to the progressive increase in the standard of living which it is desired to establish.

3. The Jewish community should establish conciliation machinery to eliminate losses incurred by disputes in industry and agriculture.

Such conciliation machinery could be best established by the creation of a Council consisting on one side of representatives of employers in industry and agriculture and, on the other side, of representatives of organizations of workers in equal numbers.

All matters in industry or agriculture tending to lead to labor disputes should be referred to this Council on the application of either side in the dispute. The Council should make every endeavor to effect a settlement by conciliation, provided that in its opinion matters at issue are sufficiently important to merit their consideration.

The services of an impartial chairman should be available where required.

4. Cooperative organizations of producers and consumers as well as organizations of workers should be encouraged. Such organizations should be founded on sound business principles and not according to doctrinaire theories.

FINANCE

1. In view of the lapse of time which will inevitably accompany the establishment of the enlarged Jewish Agency and the introduction of the recommendations of the Joint Palestine Survey Commission, every effort must be made to strengthen the position of the existing Zionist Funds, the Keren Hayesod (Palestine Foundation Fund) and the Keren Kayemeth (Jewish National Fund) during the period of transition so that the constructive activities and consolidation work will not suffer.

2.The minimum annual budget beginning with the fiscal year 1929-1930 will roughly be one million pounds (£ 1,000,000).

This total has been reached in the following manner:

a. New colonization after the consolidation of existing settlements (expenditure is to be made only against contracts specifying repayments in due course) not less than ……………….£ 250,000

b. Consolidation of financial and cooperative institutions, to improve shipping and marketing facilities……………….. 100,000

c. Additional land purchases (such purchases to be made only when land can be obtained at fair market value) …………. 200,000

d. Loans to newly established farmers………. 50,000 (These items, a, b, c, d, will eventually be recovered)

e. Elementary education — in addition to government grants-in-aid – for the Hebrew University, the technical, secondary and religious education ….. 120,000

f. Training of immigrants and assistance to labor . 50,000

g. Consolidation of and subventions to hospitals … 100,000

h. Administrative budget of the Jewish Agency and its Funds ………….. 80,000

i. Miscellaneous ………… 50,000

Total ……….. £ 1,000,000

The above budget has been composed on the assumption that the government will appropriate sufficient monies, provide for objects which are in our opinion of governmental character, and that the Jewish Agency will exercise strict economies in the collection and administration of expenditure.

It is not too much to expect that the United States, with the establishment of the Jewish Agency, will raise a minimum of $3,000,000 annually for five years, and that an equal amount will be raised by all other countries contributing to the Palestine Funds.

It follows from the conclusions which this Commission have drawn and from the experts’ investigations that the future and continuous development of the Homeland in Palestine must primarily depend on funds available for this purpose. The present budget of the Keren Hayesod scarcely suffices to maintain the existing services and carry out the necessary consolidation of already acquired possessions and the economic development of schemes already in existence. Unless more funds are forthcoming, the Commissioners can only recommend for the present that no new enterprises can be undertaken.

The Commissioners, however, feel very strongly that a policy which does not allow fresh and new development and the acquisition of new territory, the foundation of new colonies and the initiation of broader schemes of great importance to the economic life of the country must be considered entirely unsatisfactory and not one which should be accepted by the Jewish community as a whole for carrying out their duty and obligations.

The Commissioners consider a minimum budget of £1,000,000 a year should be aimed at. They believe that this amount can and should be raised. If there were a budget of this nature, the solution for the establishment of a National Home in Palestine and its maintenance over a number of years could be proceeded with and brought to a satisfactory conclusion.

The Commissioners wish, however, to emphasize the necessity for strict economy and the best utilization of the money provided for the necessary reorganization along the lines which they have indicated and the frank acceptance of the Jewish Agency on the lines discussed.

If these conditions are complied with, the Commissioners appeal to the entire Jewish world to make the necessary sacrifices to establish an ideal which will be a just source of pride and satisfaction to all members of the community, to be regarded by the world as a worthy effort on behalf of Jewry for the re-establishment of the country of their origin.

The Commissioners themselves undertake to use their own personal endeavors towards the success of the appeal which they are putting forward with the confident hope of success.

(Signed)

Melchett (Sir Alfred Mond)

Lee K. Frankel

Felix M. Warburg

Oscar Wassermann

London, June 18, 1928.

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