Between the Lines

The Palestine government yesterday granted 9,700 immigration certificates for the coming six months’ period. This is just half of what the Jewish Agency demanded.

In submitting its demand, the Jewish Agency based its figures not upon a rough estimate but upon actual requirements of the Palestinian agricultural industry, building and transport. The Executive carefully avoided anything in the nature of exaggerated demands as a method of bargaining. On the contrary, the figures submitted were based upon as conservative an estimate as possible.

A careful survey was made by the Jewish Agency of Jewish orange plantations and other agricultural work to determine the number of fresh workers required for the land already under cultivation, and the land to be put under cultivation during the coming six months. A shop to shop canvas was made. Only written statements from individual employers were included in the claims submitted to the government. For building, and for public works to be carried on by Jewish public institutions, the estimate for fresh workers required was based upon a painstaking survey of immediate building prospects. With regard to the government works, the government figures were adopted.

THE GOVERNMENT CUT

Notwithstanding this very carefully compiled survey, the government has still not seen its way clear to fully grant to the Jewish Agency the number of immigration certificates required. The government has cut this number to nearly half despite the fact that the shortage of labor in Palestine is well known to the entire world.

It is therefore no wonder that the Jewish Agency, in a statement issued yesterday, expresses dissatisfaction with the number of immigration certificates received. Though this number is somewhat larger than any number of immigration certificates previously received, it still does not satisfy even the minimum of new labor hands now required in Palestine.

Of the 9,700 immigration certificates granted, the government has deducted 2,200 for illegal entrants and for tourists who were permitted to settle permanently in the country.

ARGUMENTS AND FACTS

It has been stated that the shortage of Jewish labor in Palestine is largely in the building industry, and that if a break in the economic boom should take place and the building operations were restricted or stopped, it would lead to a tremendous unemployment problem. A recent census taken by the Executive of the Jewish Agency in Palestine, shows however that of all the Jewish workers there, men and women, only twenty per cent are employed in the building industry.

Over thirty-five million dollars of Jewish capital was imported into Palestine in 1933 and about fifty million dollars were brought in during the first eight months of 1934. This import of Jewish wealth into Palestine should have convinced the Palestine government that the demand for Jewish labor in Palestine is not going to decrease. The cutting of the number of required immigration certificates to half is certainly not a justified act on the part of the Palestine government.

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