Szold Found Busy, Happy Nation During 2 Months in Palestine
Robert Szold, vice-chairman of the Jewish Agency for Palestine and chairman of the American Economic Committee for Palestine, returned to this country Tuesday on the S.S. Berengaria after a month’s tour of Palestine and neighboring countries. He had been away, in all, about two months.
Interviewed on shipboard, Mr. Szold was very optimistic about Palestine. He painted a rosy picture of prosperity in which party strife is abating.
“To evaluate the achievements of the Jews in Palestine,” he said, “one has to know what the country was before the Jews came in and what neighboring countries are today. Palestine is teeming with activity. There is no unemployment. Building is everywhere, of urban houses, roads, factories and farm dwellings. At least $50,000,000 came into the country last year. Immigrants are now entering at the rate of 50,000 per year. All are busy making their livelihood, building their homes, developing the country. In more than one place that I entered in the evening, I found tractors being driven by Jews in the dark.”
NEIGHBORING LANDS POOR
Continuing, he said: “The neighboring lands, on the other hand, are as they long have been. Undeveloped primitive agriculture, little or no industry, misery and starvation are to be found among the fellahin (Arab peasants). Transjordan is comparatively empty. Today the Transjordan Arab goes to Palestine to pick up the, to him, unbelievably high wage of Palestine.
“The Haurani Arab goes from the land east of the Syrian Lebanon to work at the new docks and industries in Haifa. One day when I was in Haifa, no Syrian money was obtainable because, they said, all available had been taken by the Haurani Arabs to send back home. Many thousands of Arabs from neighboring countries have recently come and continue to come to Palestine.”
Explaining the progress made by the Jewish Homeland, Mr. Szold said that the development of a hitherto backwoods country is due to the “experience and determination of the Jews.” He said:
LAUDS PIONEERING WORK
“Pioneering in agriculture, citriculture, commerce and industry, the Jews with their private capital, have already accomplished a permanent achievement. The great source of national wealth which they have brought is not merely their material capital, but more their experience, their spiritual devotion and willingness to endure for the common cause. To save any fraction of this human material from wastage and heartache is a truly national work, to which the American Economic Committee has devoted itself with modest success.”
Speaking of the German migration, Mr. Szold said that the Jews in the colonies welcome the new immigration. “The generation of existing colonists,” he said, “has already demonstrated the capacity and willingness of the Jews to farm. They are not leaving their homesteads to reap the high wages in the building trades in the city, but on the contrary are remaining and absorbing among themselves German newcomers. They see in those newcomers who go into industry in the urban centers, not only additional consumers of agricultural products, but also elements needed in a growing homogeneous community.
“Clean farm yards and barns, numerous white leghorn chicken runs complement the orange and grapefruit groves. “Whatever the future has in store for Palestine,” Mr. Szold said, “the Jews may well be proud of what they have already done. Palestine remains the land of hope and opportunity.”
Mr. Szold declined to discuss political matters except to state that he would not attend the World Zionist Congress, business affairs not permitting him to leave the country so soon again.
Returning with him was Mrs. Szold, vice-president of Hadassah, who made a tour of the projects of the organization in Palestine.