Jerusalem (Dec. 17)
For the first time the Emek Jesreel itself appeals to the Jewish people, says an appeal issued by representatives of the Jewish settlements in the Emek, Ain Harod, Balfouria, Dagania, Merhavia, Ramat David, and the rest, and the leaders of the Jewish labour movement there, including Mr. Joseph Baratz and Mrs. Chana Maisel-Shohat.
The Keren Hayesod, our financial instrument, the appeal says, has laid the foundations for the workers’ settlements, on Jewish National Fund land, in the Emek Jesreel and in the Jordan Valley. The soil which had lain barren ever since we were driven from our country, has been fructified by the hands of the workers and the sacrifices of our people. Ten years have elapsed since the redemption of the Emek Jesreel was started, and twenty years since that of the Jordan Valley was taken in hand. We have succeeded in cultivating waste places, in drying swamps, in tapping wells, and, at long last, in eating our bread in the sweat of our brows.
We have struck root in the soil of our land to which we are attached by unbreakable ties. It took almost superhuman strength to overcome the obstacles in our path, both internal and external, and to achieve what we have actually achieved. This strength was drawn from the deep and abiding faith that we are laying a firm, nay an eternal foundation for our people, which has been a prey to persecution and torture, bereft of land and home.
We have tried to pave the way for agricultural colonisation, to create economic and social forms akin to the spirit of our people, which is seeking redemption through the building up of Eretz Israel. The land is waiting for its sons. Vast are the powers slumbering in our people and vast the strength hidden in the soil. The people will redeem the land and the land will redeem the people. Wide stretches of land are in our possession. Thousands of people are yearning and straining to be allowed to come and till them. Huge tracts of the Emek are still awaiting cultivation. The lands of Shephela and of Wadi Hawereth call out for the thousands of hands needed to render them fertile. This pioneering work will throw open the gates for increased immigration.
The Jewish people has come to a turning-point, the appeal goes on. Our masses are perishing for lack of an anchorage. The life of the individual Jew is losing its meaning, the people as a whole are pining away in misery and want because they have no ground under their feet. They yearn for and demand the chance to come and settle in Eretz Israel. We must consolidate our work. Dangers abound. But the greatest of these is apathy and the waste of every single hour which might be devoted to constructive effort.
After ten years of unceasing toil in the Emek Jesreel and twenty years in the Jordan Valley, the appeal concludes, we see in the midst of our daily work the land spread out before us, the land which offers a livelihood to tens and, perhaps, hundreds of thousands of Jews. It is waiting for its sons and builders. We call upon the Jewish people: Strengthen the hands of those working out our salvation! Increase your sacrifices for the Keren Hayesod, the people’s fund! Facilitate immigration! Return our people to its land!