London (Jun. 15)
Centuries of repression and restriction to the narrow confines of the Ghetto might make the peoples of the world think that they would leave their effect upon the physical development of our people. The presence of these twelve motor-cyclists this evening, who have journeyed all the way from Palestine and have crossed the Sinai Desert in 16 hours is in itself sufficient proof of the fact that these centuries of persecution have not prevented the full physical development of our people, Mr. O. E. d’Avigdor Goldsmid, President of the Jewish Board of Deputies and Chairman of the British Section of the Jewish Agency, said this evening, when he presided at a reception given in honour of the twelve Palestinian motor-cyclists who have arrived here after traversing the Sinai Desert and crossing Europe oh their way to London, on a tour of propaganda for the Jewish Olympiad, which is to take place in Tel Aviv in 1932, and also to collect funds for building a sports stadium in Palestine.
The cyclists were received this morning at the Guildhall by the Lord Mayor of London, Sir William Phene Neal, handing him a letter from the Mayor of Tel Aviv, and receiving from him a reply to the Mayor of Tel Aviv in which the Lord Mayor pays tribute to the value of athletics in promoting goodwill and understanding among peoples.
I congratulate the motor cyclists who have so successfully overcome the difficulties and dangers of the long journey from Palestine to London, the Lord Mayor wrote in his letter which Mr. Goldsmid read out to the gathering, and I sincerely trust they will attain the object of this expedition, viz., the building of a Jewish sports stadium in Palestine and the encouragement of athletics among Jewish youth. I am in entire sympathy with international athletic movements which do so much to encourage goodwill and understanding among the people of different races and for this reason I shall be glad to know in due time that your efforts have been crowned with success.
These cyclists are here as our guests, Mr. Goldsmid went on, and at the same time they are living proof of the effect of Palestine air and surroundings on the rising generation. Those of us who have been fortunate enough to have been in Palestine can never forget the Maccabees and the children in Palestine, and I am thankful that many who have not had the privilege of a visit there can see for themselves now what the effect of a home by right and not on sufferance has on the rising generation. The motor cyclists are here quite frankly, to popularise the forthcoming Olympiad in Palestine when it is hoped that thousands of young Jews will visit the country on that occassion. They would thus not only enjoy great sporting contests but also could get to know the potentialities of the country.
Mr. Nahum Sokolow, who followed, emphasised the importance of athletics on the younger generation, and the respect strong, healthy, normal young people would win even from antisemites.
Dr. Eder, President of the English Zionist Federation, stressed the necessity and importance of the physical development as well as the intellectual, spiritual and moral development of the life in Palestine.
Zionism is creating something in Palestine which is not merely for the benefit of Palestine or the Palestine Jewish Community, Dr. Brodetsky said, but is creating something which is symbolic and representative of the whole revival of Jewish life in every possible sense. Life in Palestine which has become so entirely assembled on a modern basis has to undertake tasks which are not its own tasks but the tasks of the whole of Judea, and one of the most important of these tasks is to rebuild a Jewish physical as well as a mental and moral youth.
The Mayor of Stepney, Councillor Davis, Dr. Lauterbach and Mr. Barnet Janner also spoke, and Mr. Yekutieli, one of the Palestinian motor cyclists replied on their behalf.