Menu JTA Search

War Offers Chance to Strengthen Palestine Position, Declare Returning Zionists

SIGN UP FOR THE JTA DAILY BRIEFING

The war offers new opportunities to the Jews for consolidation of their position in Palestine, it was declared today by Dr. Israel Goldstein, president of the Jewish National Fund, and Dr. Abba Hillel Silver of Cleveland, co-chairman of the United Jewish Appeal, arriving on the United States liner President Roosevelt.

They comprised the second contingent of American delegates to the Geneva Zionist Congress to arrive from Europe after considerable difficulty in arranging steamship passage. Other delegates are expected to arrive later on the French liner Ile de France and other ships. The President Roosevelt enforced a blackout for the first few nights of its voyage, while in European waters.

Dr. Silver, in an interview, voiced the belief that “for the time being, life in Palestine will move along normally. After all,” he said, “Palestine is not in the war zone Italy is neutral and the Mediterranean is clear, so the Yishub is safe.

“As to the political situation, there is a hope for enlarged opportunities for the Jewish homeland. However, the situation should not be over-simplified. The Jews are on Britain’s side, but so are the Arabs. One thing is sure–the war throws the White Paper into the limbo. Now we must watch developments in the world situation.

“The Jews in Palestine must remain united. They must also strengthen themselves in a military sense, not only to aid Britain but to look after their own interests….American Zionism will have to be strengthened, and enlarged funds will have to be placed at the Yishu’s disposal.

“There is a great opportunity for constructive upbuilding. We must develop the colonies which were established in the past year, some of which are only outposts so far. The Yishub has to digest the large influx of recent immigrants. A real homogeneity has to be developed.”

Dr. Goldstein said: “The Jews may have an unusual opportunity in Palestine as a result of the crisis. There are 500,000 in Palestine who are in a position to render great service to Britain and to receive the recognition for this which is their due. It is not yet possible, however, to predict what will develop. War produces a state of flux and we don’t know yet how the situation will crystallize.

“On American Jewry falls the responsibility of aiding the Yishub to consolidate its position. The center of gravity in Zionism is bound to move to America now. It is not be yond the realm of probability that a branch of the Executive will be established in the United States.”

Dr. Goldstein expressed the belief that Palestine’s Jewish economy could withstand the present crisis, provided it would have support of the Jews in other countries, especially the United States. “After all,” he said, “the Yishub’s economy has been through a form of war for the past three years. It has developed an amazing amount of self sufficiency.”

NEXT STORY