Menu JTA Search

Digest of World Press Opinion

Near East and India, semi-official organ of the Colonial Office, comments on the laying of the cornerstone of the Rothschild-Hadassah-University Hospital in Jerusalem as follows:

The foundation stone of what promises to be the finest medical center in the Near and Middle East was laid on Mount Scopus this week, and the first building. to be started next spring, will be the Rothschild-Hadassah – University Hospital. The Center, which will ultimately comprise twenty acres of buildings and grounds, lies just below the Hebrew University, and commands a fine view of Jerusalem to the west and of the Dead Sea plain to the east. The joint enterprise has been undertaken by the Hadassah Zionist Women’s Organization of America, the American Jewish Physicians’ Committee and the Hebrew University, and the entire scheme will cost in the neighborhood of £100,000. A Post-Graduate School of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene is planned, and there is also the eventual possibility of an Undergraduate Faculty of Medicine being established.

The officer administering the government, Mr. J. Hathorn Hall, who was among the speakers at the laying of the foundation stone, declared that the High Commissioner had, with the authority of the Secretary of State for the Colonies, decided to make a capital grant to the construction of the hospital in view of its inter-sectarian importance.

The present Rothschild Hospital, founded last century by the Rothschild family of Paris, which has a site in town, will be sold and the proceeds devoted to the new buildings on Mount Scopus.

German Jews have already been engaged on the medical staff of the hospital, and it is expected that other Jewish doctors and researchers exiled from Germany or prevented from continuing their profession there will be absorbed.

HALL SPEECH ATTACKED

The Palestine Post, a daily newspaper published in Jerusalem, criticizes the profound pessimism of the speech which Chief Secretary Hall delivered at the laying of the cornerstone of the Rothschild-Hadassah-University Hospital:

The officer administering the government was in very dismal mood on Tuesday last. Influenced evidently by that black-seeing philosopher Schopenhauer, Mr. Hall treated us to a homily on the failings of human endeavor. Even when we do good, we harm—someone; “by improving one man’s lot harm may unwittingly be done to another; a service to one section may involve injury to others.”

One wonders whether these ruminations were but a general expression of the speaker’s outlook on life or whether they had any specific relation to events and developments in Palestine. It is depressing to think that the chief secretary’s experience of Palestine has led him to conclude that when making a balance of human achievement “there is nearly always a debit.” So much practical effort has been invested in the new Palestine during the post-war period, and so wonderful a change has been brought about (as acknowledged by authorities beyond suspicion), that one’s heart is heavy at the thought that ultimately the balance is on the debit side.

One had hoped that just in Palestine we were witnessing a constructive and humanitarian movement that brought progress and happiness to all whom it touched, but evidently there is another aspect suggesting much more sombre conclusions.

The fellahin, whose taxation has just again been lifted from their shoulders because immigration and its attendant consequences have swelled the government coffers, will, we hope, think differently of the effects of practical achievement. Yet if, as we pointed out recently, increased population, lessened disease and abolition of military service are to be regarded as evils, the betterment of Palestine may well be regarded as an abuse of nature!

The Hebrew ancients used to say “the air of Palestine makes one wise”; but some uncanny element must have crept into the atmosphere to turn sound minds into such unusual channels as were explored on this occasion on Mount Scopus.

NEXT STORY