Lucerne (Aug. 29)
The past two years have been a period of unprecedented increase in Jewish immigration into Palestine and “of an equally unprecedented struggle with the Government on the immigration issue,” states the report of the Executive of the Jewish Agency for Palestine to the Council of the Jewish Agency, published here today in connection with the Nineteenth World Zionist Congress.
“The great expansion of Jewish economic activity which had begun in the previous Congress period, has continued at an accelerated pace,” the report declares. ” It rendered possible a marked growth in the volume of immigration, but it produced at the same time a continued and intense labor shortage, the extent of which indicated in how large a measure labor immigration lagged behind the country’s rapidly expanding economic absorptive capacity.”
The report draws attention to the fact that the Government’s estimates of the absorptive capacity fell far short of those of the Jewish Agency and, on the largest schedule granted, equalled only 56.4% of the Agency’s estimate, from which was deducted a number of certificates mainly on account of illegal immigrants or tourists overstaying the authorized period.
The report notes, however, that the official estimates of the country’s capacity to absorb immigrant labor have been steadily increasing, both absolutely and in relation to the estimates of the Jewish Agency, and that in spite of the increasing deductions, the net schedule figures have also risen.
The total number of Jewish immigrants for the period between the 18th and 19th congresses is placed at 100,000 and the total Jewish population of the country as 335,000 or over 26%. The report gives the total for the first six months of this year as 30,500 as compared to 42,359 for the entire twelve months of 1934.
Reviewing the problem of land acquisition, the report points out that the last two years have witnessed an inordinate rise of land prices in Palestine, and a wave of land speculation, with all its concomitant evils, has developed on an unprecedented scale. Although there was great activity in the land market, the net addition to Jewish land possessions was relatively small, the report reveals. In 1933 an area of 37,000 dunams, about 9,250 acres, was acquired and in 1934, 62,000 dunams exclusive of the Huleh, it states. The average price per dunam of the registered transactions, which stood at $115. in the years 1931 and 1932, rose to over $175. in 1933 and to $270. in 1934.
The report also reviews the Government’s stand on the question of a Legislative Council for Palestine and the Jewish Agency’s objection to its establishment. “Recently,” the report states, “the question of the Legislative Council has been opened afresh by the Government of Palestine with a view to early action, and the representatives of the Jewish Agency have reiterated the objections previously submitted and expressed the fundamental and categorical opposition of the Jewish Agency to the proposed constitutional reform.”
The report also reviews the efforts of the Agency to obtain a fairer distribution of the #2,000,000 loan floated by the Government, larger subsidies for Jewish education and health work and the employment of Jewish labour, in the agreed amounts, on public works. It also tells of the Executive’s activities with regard to police and security and Arab relations.