Search JTA's historical archive dating back to 1923

Greater Participation of British Jewry in Palestine Recnstruction Near, Philanthropist, on Visit Fro

October 29, 1926
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

Key to Situation Lies in Attitude of Leading Anglo-Jewish Families, Declares Mr. Nasatissen; Analyzes Palestine Situation from Businessman’s Viewpoint; Urges Large Industrial Bank for Palestine as Aid in Rid in Reconstruction Process

A change in the attitude of English Jewry, the Jewish community of the power which holds the mandate over Palestine, toward the economic problems facing the Zionist Organization in Palestine is approaching, declared Michael Nasatissen, well known Russian Jewish philanthropist and leading contributor to the Keren Hayesod in Europe, in an interview with the representative of the “Jewish Daily Bulletin.”

Mr. Nasatissen, who contributed the amount of £10,000 to the Keren Hayesod in recent years, was the largest individual contributor to the Keren Hayesod before the recent large contributions of Bernard Baron. When asked for the reasons of the small participation of British Jews in the Palestine upbuilding work, Mr. Nasatissen observed that the key to the situation lies in the attitude of the leading Anglo-Jewish families. With the interest now taken in the Palestine project by leading men like the Marquis of Reading. Sir Alfred Mond and Sir Herbert Samuel, with the decision of the General Electric Company to participate on a sound business basis responsiveness on the part of British Jewry to the economic needs of Palestine is imminent. The fact of the matter is that British Jews are in a particular situation which dictates a greater interest on their part in the development of Palestine, which is viewed by many leading British statesman as destined to become an important and extensive branch of the British Empire.

Mr. Nasatissen, who was among the few early investors in Palestine enterprises, holds a large interest in the Ruttenberg works, in the Nesher Cement Company and in other important enterprises there. Commenting on the present unemployment situation, Mr. Nasatissen analysed the situation from a business man’s viewpoint. When compared with the general economic fabric of the country and when considered in the light of the economic population which amounts to over 700,000, the existence of a certain number of unemployed should not be alarming. First of all there is no country in the world where there is not a large number of unemployed nowadays. The Jews coming to Palestine are in the difficult situation of having to do everything on their own risk and with their own means, without the assistance of the government, The Zionist Organization, which is responsible for the immigration, has to provide not only the human material, but to care for the provision of the plan of work, the making available of funds, the distribution of labor, the social needs and even the educational needs of the growing Jewish population. The crisis arouse due to the fact that the funds which were available were invested in the land which is not for resale. Roads made, buildings erected and institutions created represent an national value but they cannot be converted into fluid capital, which is, after all, necessary for the continuation and the extension of the general construction activity. The funds at the disposal of the Zionist agencies are earmarked for assisting the agricultural settlers, for the purchase of land, for construction of buildings on the land, for education and for medical and sanitary work. The large wave of immigrants who came outside of the allotted labor immigrants, with their own means. and business enterprises constituted for a time the employers of the market who provided temporary employment facilities for others. When these small employers had invested their funds, they remained without further capital to carry on their financial operations. That was the case in the building industry in Tel Aviv, this was also the case in other industrial branches. Add to that the fact that when the individual colonists who operate on the private property principle gather in the crops and get some funds, they do not deposit these funds in the banks but buy new land or erect new buildings. Again, the accumulated capital of labor produced does not serve to increase the fluid capital and to increase the labor opportunities.

“The solution is the opening of a large industrial bank which would serve this type of settler. The situation can be easily remedied and progress furthered by placing at the disposal of the operating agencies large funds for the further purchase of land and continuation of the building activities. The fact of the matter is that Palestine is being built despite symptoms of the temporary crisis here and there. One instance I can cite as a striking illustration. In spite of the depression, the Nesher Cement Factory is selling large quantities of cement in the country at present, in addition to the quantity of cement imported from neighboring countries. Palestine, which has learned a few lessons from the present crisis will come out healthier than before,” he stated.

Asked for his opinion on the much debated question of Russian colonization, Mr. Nasatissen. who is a native of Russia. stated that he fails to see why this question should have aroused so much heated debate. “To say that Russian colonization represents a solution to the Jewish problem in Russia is a gross exaggeration. It doesn’t give a solution to either the economic or political problems of Russian Jewry. There is only one way to solve the Jewish problem in Russia and that is Palestine, “he stated.

Mr. Nasatissen is accompanied on his visit to the United States by Mr. J. Machover, Jewish attorney of London, formerly of Kiev, who is prominently identified with the leading Zionist circles of Russia and England.

Recommended from JTA