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J. D. B. News Letter

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(BY our London Correspondent)

The recommendations of the JEwish Agency Commission with have called forth the greatest criticism among the Zionist Labor circles and the radical Zionists, are those remaining to the colonization methods employed until now in the Zionist colonies. Particular emphasis was laid on the recommendation agains further extending the Kvuzoth system and the insistence upon individual contracts between the setlers and the colonizing agency.

The Finding of Facts by the experts made public in the Commission’s report, deal at length with this question. The Zionist settlements, the report states, were of two main types. In the Moschavat Ovdim (Smallholdeers Settlements) the individual settler farms his own holding though there is a good deal of cooperative purchasing and marketing. In the Kvuzoth (Cooperative Groups.) the land is held and farmed by the group as a whole, reseipts are pooled, and the principle of corporate ownership is pushed to its furthest limits. In both types of colony the employment of hired labor is ruled ## it is regarded as an axiom that the settler and his family must do everything for themselves.

The relative advantages of various types of settlements is an important ### and at the same time very ##. Viewed from the purely economic angle, there are still insufficient ### is determine which particular type of the newer settlements will become self-supporting Doubtless, at the time of their beginnings the kvuzah type enabled the colonists organized under this plan to accomplish results cooperatively whith would have been more difficult under individual initiative. Nothing is more significant in the kvuzah colonies than the spirit of sacrifice to an ideal which has actuated the memebrs. It is an open question whether without this idealism equal results could have been effected. An unsuccessful attempt has been made to approach the matter from the statistical point of view. Unfortunately, the available figures do not lead to any very definite conclusions, when all ### circumstances are taken into account. So far as they go, they app## as sugess that the koshav is a more efficient economic instrument than the kvazah. Little reliance can ###, he placed on this conclusion for a variety of reasons. It is impressing that ### sensible men exist who after long experience, believe most firmly that the kvazah organization is unquestionably the best and it is evident that men of this type would fit badly–so far as could be foressen–into any other form of colonly. The quantity of this material is not large, but it undoubtedly exists. However, it is evident that grave difficulties, economic and psychological, are inherent in the kvuzah. In the kvuzah personal antipathies gradually declare themselves, and circumstances are such that escape is impossible without leaving the colonly. The necessity of approaching the Committee before obtaining permission for relatives to reside in the settlement is found irksome. The women usually dislike the communal conditions; the men are therefore pressed to provide a home where greater privacy and greater personal freedom may be obtained. On the economic side also, having to bear a share of the burden which the lazy or incompetent worker imposes on the community generally causes resentment. There is the temptation on the part of the inefficient to slacken their own efforts. Some dislike any limitation of the hours of labor.

Individual farms offer greater incentive to industry and thrift. They give more freedom to the family to plan its farming operations for the year and to carry out the daily tasks. The variations in the kind of work to be done, the exercise of judgement as to the time of planting and the kinds of crops to plant distinguishes farming from industries where the same operations are performed day after day. The difference ebtween good and poor farmers is much greater than the difference between good and poor workers in factories. Where each family cultivates its own farm, the earning of a livelihood is the stimulus to thought and effort, and the infallible test of fitness.

All these considerations are weighty and sound. The logic of events appears to be in favor of the Moshav, the kvuzah — despite strong official support — is giving way before the moshav. In the struggle between the two, there can be no doubt that the moshav must win, and that it is already winning rapidly. The fluidity of the membership, the constant flux and change in many kvuzoth, are all against the continuance of the system.

The recovery of the advances made to colonists is the crux of all colonization schemes. Generally speaking, when colonists have been established on masse. recoupment becomes peculiarly hard. It is difficult to apply effective pressure; and effective pressure, over any considerable area, may mean in the last analyiss the partical destruction of the work accomplished. One cannot colonize, and then eject — and yet ejectment, or the threat of ejectment, is often the only effective means to secure repayment which can be resorted to. The important point is that, throughout the work, the whole attitude of the colonizing body, in all their relations with the settlers, should be such as to inculcate the conviction that repayment is expected and will be enforced. Judged by this criterion, the methods hitherto adopted in the Zionist colonies have not been satisfactory. Contracts with the settlers have not yet been signed, and third parties had been permitted to enter into negotiations with the Executive as to the repayment terms. In the colonies, the Palestine Zionist Executive was not looked to as the body which governed and directed the colonization movement. These functions were, to a great extent, in the hands of the Executive of the Federation of Agricultural Workers. The Zionist Executive frequently merely registered their decisions. That was not a situation favorable to the signature of reasonable contracts, or to the enforcement of the measures necessary to secure repayment.

Reference must here be made to the situation created by the principle, which is regarded as axiomatic in the Zionist settlements, that no hired labor should be employed, and that the whole of the work should be done by the settler and his family. Under this policy outside labor is not permitted. It is a source of pride to each colonist that he is cultivating his own farm unaided, excepting such aid as is given by the members of his family. The idealism is beautiful. It seem ungracious to question whether it is practical. Frequently there is more work than can be done by the farmer and his family. To meet this need, farmers are importing “relations.” such as cousins, etc., to assist them. In this way, they feel that they are not violating the fundamental principle of the Moshav. The amount of labor requird varies with the different seasons of the year, and periods of stress in a given district come at the same time Local exchange of labor between farmers in these periods is not possible. Either the farmer must do less than he ought to do in normal periods or he must employ outside help in these periods of extra demand. The practice throughout the world is to employ additional labor during these brief periods. Prohibition against hired labor involves a farm program basd on under-employment during the greater part of the year, and places the colonists when they need more help, in a position where the necessary work cannot be done. Another result that follows the rule against outside labor is to exclude from these colonies the Jewish family which earns its living by working for wages. Some of the most efficient and most skillful workers prefer to work for wages, without assuming the., risks and responsibilities of farm ownership and management.


Dr. Louis I. Harris, Commissioner of Health, would say nothing further yesterday concerning reports that he had sent his resignation to Mayor Walker, Mr. Walker, who was asked about the matter Saturday evening in San Francisco, highly commended Dr. Harris as a “splendid, efficient and loyal official” whom the city would be sorry to lose, and added that he would not stand in his way if he wished to retire.

When Dr. Harris was shown the report he said that he was much gratified by the Mayor’s generous opinion, but that he could say nothing more himself at present.

A rumor that Dr. Harris intends to go to Palestine in connection with some Zionist work was denied by the Health Commissioner.

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