Lucerne (Sep. 4)
The continued prosperity and economic progress of Palestine is assured despite the frequently asserted statements that the country is heading toward an economic crisis and the end of its unprecedented boom, the opening session of the fourth council of the Jewish Agency for Palestine was told today.
The session was opened by Morris Rothenberg, president of the Zionist Organization of America, and continued under the chairmanship of Dr. Chaim Weizmann, newly elected president of the World Zionist Organization and the Jewish Agency.
Cooperation with Great Britain, the mandatory power, was the keynote of Dr. Weizmann’s address. The Jewish Agency, he declared, despite its opposition to the Palestine Government’s plan to establish a legislative council, intends to cooperate with the mandatory power.
The best answer to the difficulties of establishing a Jewish National Home, Dr. Weizmann said, is to continue the rapid development of the country which has shown great absorptive capacity only because of Jewish work and Jewish energy.
Bringing the greetings of the mandatory power to the council, Sir George Warner, British Minister to Switzerland, pointed out that Palestine, which he described as the most peaceful country on the shores of the Mediterranean, is destined to play an important role in the development of the Middle East. He voiced the hope that existing differences of opinion on Palestine matters would be settled peaceably and satisfactorily.
Dr. Arthur Ruppin, newly appointed head of the Zionist Executive’s special department for economic planning, and formerly head of the Jewish Agency’s colonizing department, spoke on various problems and aspects of the work in Palestine.
Dr. Ruppin characterized the fears of an impending economic crisis as entirely baseless.
A temporary setback in progress of the work, he said, was to be expected since no country can hope to escape such “natural consequences,” but this setback when it does come will not affect Palestine deeply.
Dr. Ruppin named two reasons for his view of the economic picture:
1) The readiness of the government to spend half of its surplus of $30,000,000 on a program of public works.
2) With the continuous steam of capital from Jews of other lands flowing into the country and with the situation of the Jews growing worse, it is to be expected that the attraction of Palestine for Jewish capital will continue and Jews with capital will continue to enter the country.
Dr. Ruppin disclosed a plan for the creation of a huge holding corporation to control shares issued by different companies and institutions in order to concentrate the entire Jewish capital into the most productive channels and also to prevent the diversion of this capital into unproductive and valueless enterprises.
Miss Henrietta Szold, veteran woman Zionist leader, also delivered a report to the Agency. She said that 713 German-Jewish children have already settled in various Palestine colonies and that more than $150,000 has been assigned her to conduct her work.