Berlin (Jun. 9)
Dr. Chaim Arlosoroff, political representative of the Palestine Executive of the Jewish Agency, who has been for some days in Berlin, studying the Jewish question in Germany, and has been in contact with leading Zionists and friends of the Palestine movement with a view to finding a partial solution of the problem by using Palestine as an important factor within the framework of a general, all-embracing constructive relief activity, has drawn up a plan, the main details of which he has outlined in an interview with the Berlin office of the Jewish Telegraphic Agency.
The restrictions placed upon the admission of Jewish children to the higher schools in Germany, the uncertainty of being able to create and maintain a real Jewish school system on German soil, and the anguish of soul to which those Jewish children who are permitted to attend State schools will be exposed, led Dr. Arlosoroff to the conviction that Palestine is of tremendous importance as a place of education for Jewish children from Germany.
If the children have to be boarded out with private families in Palestine or placed in the comparatively expensive boarding schools there it means that it will be possible to deal with only a limited number of children from Germany.
SCHOOLS ARE READY
The schools in the settlements, however, can take about 600 to 700 children at a very low fee, Dr. Arlosoroff said. If the parents of the children can pay the small cost of maintenance necessary in the agricultural settlements and a certain school fee, the schools in Ain Harod. Beth Alpha and Nahalal can be immediately enlarged and the buildings necessary for housing the children can but put up so quickly that there need be no delay in their transfer.
Large funds and complex organization would be needed, however, if it is desired to establish about ten new school settlements, on the lines of the children’s village of Ben Shemen, where the young people grow up in a community of their own, in close contact with the land and labor.
“I do not doubt”, said Dr. Arlosoroff, “that the Jewish Agency, through whose schools about 25,000 children have passed, will obtain understanding and assistance from the Government in the work of organizing such a school system for 3,000 or 4,000 children from Germany.”
The next question, Dr. Arlosoroff said, is that of altering the occupational structure of the youth between the ages of 12 and 22. To the older high school pupils and the younger university students who have by now realized that there are no prospects for an academic career for them, and to the young shop and office assistants who have been rendered unemployed, this is an urgent and vital problem. “It would be a difficult matter to find suitable places in Germany even for training several thousand of these young people, and I believe that we shall have to transfer the Hachsharah training work for manual labor largely to Palestine itself. The young people, organized in special brigades, will be employed for the first year on road building, afforestation and amelioration work. They will at the same time learn the Hebrew language and adapt themselves to the living conditions of the workers, so that at the end of the year they can be transferred to real agricultural or industrial occupations.”
The cost of this very productive but not immediately payable Hachsharah will be about Â£60,000 for an annual recruiting of about 3,000 people.
If the Jewish Agency would be able to obtain the funds to assure a guarantee for maintaining these people while they are undergoing their occupational reorganization, the Government would probably agree that these young people should be admitted into the country for training purposes without being counted in the immigration quota, and they would be counted as labor immigrants only after they leave the labor camps, and go into the colonies or towns.
LAND FOR 4,000 HOLDERS
So far as the actual colonization is concerned, Dr. Arlosoroff continued, apart from projects which require long and careful preparation, there are about 85,000 to 90,000 dunams of water-supplied land, part of which we already own and part of which could be now acquired that could immediately be placed at the disposal of the settlement of 4,000 small-holders who will themselves work their lots. The best prospects are for those who will bring with them children able and willing to help in the work. To make possible also the settlement in the future of young workers who have acquired experience in the course of a few years, the plan drawn up by Mr. Rutenberg, which foresees the establishment of a Palestine Development Corporation with several million pounds, as a settlement organization, should be incorporated within the framework of the program as a whole.
In utilizing the industrial opportunities, no central plan will ever be able to take the place of the inventive ability of the individual. The smaller and middling industries have already shown astonishing absorptive capacity for workers. There are today, on the plantations about 15,000 Jewish workers and in the colonies about 12,000.
It would be absolutely essential to have a special office to register the industrial projects before they are taken in hand, to see that there is no overlapping, and to bring about co-ordination, so as to avoid useless competition and rivalry, to combine the capital of a number of people, in order to enable them to deal with larger investments, and to bring people with valuable plans in contact with such who have the means of realizing them.
Dr. Arlosoroff then turned to the important question of the transfer of capital to Palestine. It is senseless, he said, to overlook the difficulties of the migration problem, or to assume that it can be settled without an agreement with the German Government. Lloyd George, in his plea for fair play for Germany, also pleaded for fair play for the Jews. It is the minimum of fair play to leave those Jews who under existing conditions must seek their opportunities outside Germany in possession of their property, so that they can secure their future. Naturally, Germany cannot expose herself to the risk of upsetting her currency and exchange balance, but a way out can be found to adjust these different interests.
A BARGAIN WITH GERMANY
It would be possible, for example, through an agreement to repay for property released for Palestine emigration, in exports of German goods to Palestine. It would be worth while, leaving all sentimentalities out of the question, to reach such an agreement with Germany, which is today concerned to secure its economic position. It could also be possible to establish a company, with the participation of the German State and other European, primarily British and Italian interests, which would slowly liquidate the particular properties by issuing letters of credit up to a certain limit, through Palestinian and European banks.
A guarantee fund created by public institutions could make this limit as high as possible. In any event, a way out can be found only through negotiations with the German Government. “I am convinced that the public opinion of the world will follow these negotiations with the utmost attention and sympathy, and will regard a just solution in the interests of all concerned as an important advance on the road to the constructive treatment of the Jewish question in Germany.
“What I have laid down here is the outline”, said Dr. Arlosoroff, “for the first year of a four-year plan based on Palestine. The public funds needed to carry through the plan will have to be raised by the Palestine Relief Fund, which is being organized under the leadership of Dr. Weizmann, on the instructions of the Executive of the Jewish Agency. Jewish Palestine will be vitalized by a powerful immigration from Germany. The German Jews who are now to become co-responsible for the Jewish life in Palestine will b# received there with joy. Service i# the common national work will en# able them and the Yishub to me### into one whole.”