The French government has again invited Jewish organizations to promote settlement of Jews in Syria. This time the invitation is extended by none other than the French Colonial Under-Secretary, M. Candace.
When the French High Commissioner in Syria extended a similar invitation to the Jews several months ago he attached certain reservations to it. He demanded that the Jews who settle in Syria first of all refrain from spreading Zionist propaganda. He stipulated that the settlers must learn the Arabic language. He warned that no Jewish settlement will be permitted in the Syrian regions neighboring Palestine.
The invitation by the French Colonial Under-Secretary contains no such reservations. On the contrary, the French official makes it clear that his government will assist Jewish immigration and colonization in Syria along the same lines as the British government does in Palestine.
LARGE ACCEPTANCE DOUBTFUL
Nevertheless, it is doubtful whether a substantial number of Jews will take advantage of the French invitation. Much as the present immigration to Palestine does not consist of idealists, there is, however, the hope entertained by every immigrant to Palestine that sooner or later this country will become a Jewish National Home.
No such hope can, however, be entertained with regard to Syria. Jews settling in Syria will feel themselves strangers there for a long time. They will be settled in Syria but their eyes will be turned toward Palestine, the neighboring country, where Jews feel themselves perfectly at home in every respect.
BUT OFFER IS NOT IN VAIN
Although the inducement for settling in Syria is not exceptionally attractive it would, however, be a mistake to think that the repeated offer of the French government will be entirely in vain. There may not be a large Jewish immigration to Syria but certain groups of Jews, especially German Jews, will no doubt be interested in the French offer. Some of them are already interested.
There are today groups of German Jews who are seriously considering plans to develop certain industries in Syria and to invest their capital there since they find no fields for investing it in Palestine. A group of German Jews is already publishing a German-Jewish newspaper in Syria. This newspaper, a supplement to a local Syrian-Arab daily, is devoted entirely to Jewish life in Palestine and in Germany and is sold even among German Jews in Palestine.
STIMULATING THE PALESTINE GOVT.
The invitation by the French governmentâ€”whether or not it is accepted by some Jewish groupsâ€”may well spur the Palestine government, which is anxious to prevent the transfer of Jewish capital from Palestine to Syria, into taking a greater interest in developing Jewish agriculture and industry in Palestine. Partly, this is already being done by the Palestine government, which is now seeking ways and means to secure favorable trade agreements with other countries.
It is not a secret any longer that the Palestine government is ambitious to develop four large cities in the Holy Land, each of which would have a population of 250,000. These four cities are to serve as the industrial backbone of the country. Three of these four cities are already in existence. They are Jerusalem, Tel Aviv and Haifa. The fourth is to be built around Gaza in the nearest future.