Jerusalem (Oct. 14)
The Jewish Agency Executive here have sent a letter to the Teachers’ Union, in which they write that while they appreciate the desire of the teachers for promptness in reopening the schools, their decision to reopen the schools without authority is opposed, however, to the interests of discipline and efficiency. The Executive, the letter declares, do not accept responsibility towards the teachers and the other employees unless and until the competent authorities have decided on the necessary action to be taken.
The question of transferring the Jewish educational system in Palestine to the Palestine Jewish Community had become a real issue now that the organisation of the Community had been effected, Rabbi Ostrowski said in reporting on behalf of the Education Committee to the last Zionist Congress held in Basle in July. The Jewish Agency contribution to the Education Budget was Â£75,000, he continued, that of the Government about Â£20,000 and of the Yishub over Â£30,000. An increase in the contribution from the Yishub was hardly possible. The Palestine Jewish Community could take over the school system only on condition, he proceeded, that the Executive continued to contribute the same amount next year, entering into a formal agreement that it would pay this amount, directing the school system jointly with the Palestine Jewish Community. As the Executive had not yet grasped the need of this, he said, the transference would take place only in the course of the next two years. The Zionist Organisation would not be justified, however, in eliminating from its scope of activity the educational work, which was the soul of Zionism. 80 per cent. of the Jewish children in Palestine were receiving their education in the schools of the Zionist Organisation.
22,500 pupils had been attending the Jewish schools in Palestine during the year 5691, he stated. If the Education Budget for the next year was not increased by Â£13,000 it would not be possible to satisfy even the minimum needs of their education system. The last Congress had allocated Â£75,000 for the purpose and it had become clear that that amount would not suffice, yet now they were thinking of reducing it by Â£21,000. The Palestine Government maintained the entire Arab school system with 22,000 children at an annual expenditure of Â£100,000, he went on, while the Jewish schools attended by about the same number of children were given a subsidy by the Government of only Â£19,300.
Dr. Perkson, the Director of Education of the Jewish Agency Schools in Palestine, and a member of the Executive of the Jewish Agency (who tendered his resignation last week), said that in the view of the Executive of the Jewish Agency it was not desirable to postpone the present situation. Negotiations had been going on all through the past year, and they must fix a definite date.
Congress thereupon decided to accept the resolution submitted by the Education Committee, that a joint direction to carry on the educational system in Palestine should be set up by the Jewish Agency and the Palestine Jewish Community within the course of the next two years, by the time the next Zionist Congress is held, and that till then no transference to the local institutions is to take place.
Congress further decided to instruct the new Executive to effect the necessary economies in the Education Budget, and to call upon the Palestine Government to increase its contribution to the Jewish school system in Palestine in accordance with the needs of Jewish education.