Tel Aviv (Oct. 7)
The hope that after the war “it will be worthwhile even for American and Russian Jews to emigrate to Palestine” was voiced here by David Ben-Gurion, chairman of the executive of the Jewish Agency, addressing the third annual “Substitute Zionist Congress.” The meeting, which has been arranged by the Keren Hayesod, is intended to take the place of the regular Zionist Congresses which cannot be held because of the war.
To finance the post-war expansion of Palestine in order that the country may be able to absorb millions of immigrants, it will be necessary to launch a campaign in the United States and England to persuade Jews in those countries to invest in Palestine enterprises, Dr. Emil Shmorak, a member of the executive of the Jewish Agency, told the 1,500 Zionist leaders and guests attending the conference. Discussing the prospects for the future economic development of Palestine, Dr. Shmorak stated that the democratic world must create in Palestine, after the war, financial and economic conditions which will guarantee the speedy development of a Jewish national home. International loans must be secured in other countries besides England and America, he said, and deposits in local banks, totalling about $200,000,000 must be utilized.
Mr. Ben-Gurion discussed the political situation in Palestine in the light of the approaching Allied victory. He reviewed the circumstances that led to the issuance of the White Paper of 1939 and outlined the steps that must be taken by the Jews to secure its abrogation. Simultaneously, he stressed, Palestine Jewry’s contributions to the war effort must be continued. The Agency chairman stated that the time has come to plan for the largest possible immigration into Palestine within the shortest possible time. He stated that the two main tasks that lie ahead are extension of Jewish colonization within Palestine’s borders and development of a large fishing and maritime industry. Mr. Ben-Gurion pointed out that Palestine belongs not only to the Jews living there at present, but to Jews in all countries of the world who will wish to come here after the war.
Eliezer Kaplan, treasurer of the Jewish Agency, reported that Palestine agriculture has increased by 50 percent in the past few years and the value of industrial products has risen 30 percent in the same period. Exports to neighboring countries, exclusive of oil, new total 3,000,000 annually. The Palestine Government, he said, derives 70 percent of its income from the Jewish residents, with the city of Tel Aviv, alone, contributing 45 percent. Mr. Kaplan emphasized that when hostilities cease, Palestine industry will be faced with competition from neighboring countries coupled with a sharp decrease in military orders. To counteract this, he said, new markets must be developed and old ones strengthened.
Of the $88,000,000 that have come into Palestine during the war, $60,000,000 came from Jewish sources, the Agency treasurer disclosed, adding that in the last year the combined income of the Agency and the Keren Hayesod amounted to $6,000,000, of which about 30 percent was used for colonization, including the establishment of nine new agricultural settlements.
Greetings to the congress were received from Dr. Chaim Weizmann, Prof. Selig Brodetsky, the Zionist Organization of Algiers and other persons and groups. A highpoint of the proceedings was the appearance on the speakers’ platform of a Jewish soldier who urged increased enlistment and also the preparation of plans for the colonization of demobilized soldiers after the war.