Jewish Population in Palestine, American Jewish Migration Increasing; Jewish Agriculture and Public

A report showing that the Jewish population in Palestine is on the increase, that the value of Jewish agriculture and public enterprises is growing and amounts to some $220,000,000, and that immigration of American Jews to Palestine is growing, was presented tonight by Louis Lipsky, National Chairman of the American Palestine Campaign, and former President of the Zionist Organization of America, to a meeting of the Administrative Committee of the Zionist Organization of America, which was the first session of the thirty-fifth annual Zionist convention meeting here at the Benjamin Franklin Hotel.

In presenting the report, Mr. Lipsky announced that it had been compiled at his special request by A. Gurevitch, head of the Statistics Department of the Jewish Agency for Palestine and that its figures include Jewish activities in Palestine up to the past few weeks. The report is the first comprehensive statement of its kind at a public Jewish gathering in America since the Jews of the world, in 1921, began their accelerated tempo in rebuilding the Jewish National Home in Palestine.

Additional data will be presented tomorrow at noon at a luncheon to be attended by hundreds of leading workers from all parts of the United States in the American Palestine Campaign, the fund-raising instrument of the Jewish Agency for Palestine. Mr. Lipsky will preside, and other speakers will include Maurice Samuel, Jewish author; Morris Rothenberg, Chairman of the Administrative Committee of the American Section of the Jewish Agency, Judge William M. Lewis, one of the National Chairmen of the Campaign; and Judge Leopold C. Glass, Chairman of the American Palestine Campaign of Philadelphia.

That the movement for the rebuilding of Palestine is now on the threshold of its greatest period of development, was the declaration made by Louis Lipsky in a preface to the statistical report. He declared that American Jews, who have seen “the collapse of their former idols” are now in a mood to give serious consideration to the necessity of a Jewish National Home in Palestine. Mr. Lipsky said in part:

“Privation and trouble are re-making the character of the American Jew. As American Jews see the collapse of their former idols, begin to realize the emptiness of their former pursuits, the superficiality of their former beliefs, the emptiness of their pretensions, the folly of their ideals of wealth and comfort – the ideals of Zionism, the moral and spiritual significance of the National Home become more and more effectively visible to the victims of the economic and social collapse. And although the Zionist Organization, by reason of the hardships of the work and the lack of means to do the work with, may seem to be a shrivelled effigy of its former self, the Zionist movement has become the dominating influence in the thought and the aspirations of American Jews. Because of this change of attitude, forced by privation and the disclosure of the parlous conditions under which American life must be lived, the opportunity of the Zionist Organization is at hand. The conditions of American Jewish life now work for the strengthening of the Zionist ideal.”

Declaring that the time has come for Zionists to stop thinking and talking about the attitude of the British Government as the Mandatory Power over Palestine, Mr. Lipsky said:

“How intense was our feeling two years ago when blood was shed in Palestine, and the Government failed in its duty and began a course that led to lack of confidence. Involved in our demonstrative protests were all the emissions of anger and denunciation – the feeling that upon that issue the whole of Zionism is rested. Now, after time has corrected the vision, new adjustments have been made, facts have changed, a deeper understanding of the situation has been arrived at.

“The conclusions forced by that turmoil have tapered down to the French Report – a second-rate opinion by a second-rate civil servant; but instead of being greatly excited by what he may have written instead of becoming nervous and hysterical about it, sober judgment controlling Zionist opinion regards this latest report, in a large measure, as merely a matter to be referred to counsel, irrelevant and immaterial to the main issue. We are not interested in ex parte, more or less expert, opinion as to the quality and the conditions of the land in which we intend to create our National Home.

“We have learned that of primary importance in the attainment of our object is the strengthening of the Jewish will to create. The responsibility is ours. Good or bad, the trustee government is merely a technical incident of the redemption; it may be obstacle or help, but it is not the determining factor. It is not entitled to that exclusive attention which the political or legalistic mind would like to give to it.”

REPORT ON PALESTINE

In presenting the report of the Jewish Agency on the Jewish status in Palestine, which was prepared especially for the 35th annual Zionist Convention, Mr. Lipsky said that the Jews of the world have reason to be proud of their own contributions which have made the achievements possible, as they have reason to be proud of the men and women in Palestine whose self-sacrifice and courage have created such tremendous results. Mr. Lipsky pointed out that more than half of the funds that have been made available to the Jewish Agency for the maintenance of Jewish reconstruction activities in Palestine have been contributed by the Jews of the United States.

Excerpts from the report follow:

POPULATION

“The recent census of the Government of Palestine shows that the number of Jews in the country amounted to 175,006, which constitutes 18 per cent of the settled poulation of Palestine. The Jewish population has thus more than doubled since the 1922 census, when the number was 83,794. One-quarter of the Jews already reside in the villages and the rest are concentrated in four towns: Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, Jaffa and Haifa.

IMMIGRATION

“The total Jewish immigration to Palestine during the period 1919-1931 amounted to 115,296. The principal countries of origin: Poland, 40%; Russia, 24%; Roumania, 4½%; Lithuania, 3½%; Yemen, 3.1%, and the United States, 3%. The U.S.A. is thus the sixth on the list; qualitatively, however, it ranks considerably higher due to the large sums of money brought in by the immigrants and their economic investments.

IMMIGRATION FROM U.S. ON INCREASE

“The trend of immigration from the United States has been on the increase throughout the last five years, the percentage of American immigration now constituting 8.1% of the total; emigration, on the other hand, is now on the decrease.

Total Immigration Immigration from U.S. 1931 4,075 332 1930 4,944 260

UNEMPLOYMENT IN PALESTINE

“Unemployment in the towns showed practically no changes during the year and varied between 1,200 and 1,400. The figfures show that unemployment thus constitutes less than 1% of the Jewish population and serve as an indication of the urban and rural economic enterprises.

JEWISH LAND WEALTH

“According to the records of the Government Department of Lands the Jews purchased during 1931, 41,226 metric dunams valued at £;1,075,181. The total area acquired by the Jews since October, 1920, amounted to about half a million metric dunams, representing an investment of £;3,125,000. The total area of Palestine land in Jewish possession is estimated at about 1,000,000 metric dunams.

“The total area in the possession of the Jewish National Fund now amounts to 288,605 metric dunams, which constitutes more than one-quarter of land in Jewish ownership.

“The successive increase in area of Jewish National Fund land during the three decades is as follows:

1902-1911 … 15,100 metric dunams

1912-1921 … 51,100 ” “

1922-1931 … 222,400 ” “

“In addition to land purchased, the Jewish National Fund has carried out extension, amelioration and drainage work, afforestation, construction of water supply systems, etc.

CENSUS OF JEWISH AGENCY SETTLEMENTS

“Of the 135 Jewish settlements in Palestine, 58-the majority of them built in the last ten years-were established or are supported with the funds of the Palestine Foundation Fund (which is included in the American Palestine Campaign). The 58 settlements are divided into the following groups:

(a) Twenty co-operative settlements, located on Jewish National Fund land, financed entirely by the Palestine Foundation Fund;

(b) Sixteen smallholders’ settlements located on National Fund land, financed by Foundation Fund;

(c) Nine settlements supported in a certain measure by the Foundation Fund;

(d) Five girls’ training farms on National Fund land, the operating expenditure of which has recently been transferred from Foundation Fund to Women’s International Zionist Organization;

(e) Four Yemenite quarters, granted a small sum by Foundation Fund;

(f) Two co-operative settlements;

(g) Two experimental fields.

“The Jewish Agency settlements have, in the aggregate, an annual production value of over £;200,000.

EFFECTS OF DEPRESSION

“The effects of the general depression in agriculture, the lack of markets and the sharp fall in the prices of agricultural products witnessed in other countries have been felt by the Jewish rural population only to a limited extent and these too were confined to the villages practicing dry farming. The plantation villages, wherein live sixty per cent of the Jewish rural population, have registered further expansion.

EXPORT OF ORANGES

“The total exports of oranges (which are the basic exports of Palestine) are as follows:

Jews and Arabs

Total Export Jewish Share 1931-32 2,467,000 cases 1,100,000 cases 1921-22 1,234,000″

“As a result of the recent plantations, the shipments from Jewish groves are increasing by leaps and bounds, and it is estimated that in:

Jews and Arabs

Total Jewish Share 1936-37 5,570,000 cases 2,785,000 cases

JEWISH AGRICULTURAL WEALTH

“The value of Jewish agriculture in 1930-31 cannot be estimated with any degree of precision, but it is thought to be in the neighborhood of £;17,000,000.”

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