(Jewish Telegraphic Agency)
A note of confidence in the forces of American Jewry to cooperate both in remedying the present conditions in Palestine and in laying the foundations for its future development was sounded by Dr. Chaim Weizmann, president of the World Zionist Organization upon his arrival on the Berengaria late Friday afternoon on his fourth visit to the United States.
Dr. Weizmann, long expected in the United States in connection with the contemplated formation of the Jewish Agency to include American non-Zionists, when interviewed by the representative of the Jewish Telegraphic Agency presented the facts of the situation in Palestine today and outlined the future course of action by Zionist organization. He expressed satisfaction with the results of the recent Chicago conference of the Joint Distribution Committee, regarding it as having made clear the way “for the continuation of our efforts to establish a common platform on which both Zionists and non-Zionists will unite for the benefit of Palestine.”
“The creation of the Jewish Agency in Europe is entirely dependent upon the course of action take in the United States. The plans concerning the Agency with which I come now are the same with which I came on my previous visits to this country. I hope that at this time the creation of the Agency will be successfully completed.
“The unemployment in Palestine is considerable, but one should not forget that unemployment prevails now all over Europe. We are taking measures to relieve the situation. Last month the Keren Hayesod transmitted the amount of Â£40,000 to relieve the economic situation. We are about to send another Â£20,000,000,” Dr. Weizmann stated.
“The situation in Palestine can be strengthened if we have at our disposal an additional $500,000 outside of the budget. It is possible to establish in Palestine conditions which would enable the absorption of twenty-five or thirty thousand Jewish immigrants annually. To accomplish this two things are necessary: will and funds. The Jews of America can be instrumental in both,” he said.
“It is a great satisfaction to me to be able to come to these hospitable shores in order to work with my friends on behalf of the Jewish National home in Palestine. Once more I shall plead the Cause of Palestine before the great Jewish Community of America, and I am confident that this time–as on earlier occasions–my pleading will find a sympathetic response,” Dr. Weizmann said.
“The material development of the National Home proceeds on two main lines; agricultural and urban or industrial. In both directions experience has been acquired and progress made; men have been trained to be capable of coping with the difficult task which confronts them; nevertheless it is essential to understand that everything that has been done hitherto–however successful it may be considered–is merely a beginning, and in relation to the great task to be accomplished, merely experimental.
“Many thousands of acres of land have been taken under the plough, but there are many hundreds of thousands of acres waiting to be tilled. Many hills have been afforested but Judea is still barren, and it will require still further effort to recover the ancient terraces with trees and give back to Palestine its verdure and its shade. Many a pestilential swamp has been drained and converted into a smiling valley, but there are still districts in Palestine which are at present a reproach to the country, and which with labor and skill can be converted into most fertile tracts. The sandy coast of the Mediterranean can be covered with fruit groves. The Jews have shown that they are capable of changing this sand into flourishing gardens.
“Many small industries, which have proved to bear in themselves the future of a healthy development, have to be stimulated and enlarged, and new undertakings have to be started.
“The Emek (Esdraclon Valley), the Negeb (South of Palestine) Haifa Bay, etc., are all awaiting Jewish initiative, enterprise and energy. Millions of dunams of land are contained in the districts mentioned and there is room for tens of thousands of agricultural families.
“The cities of Tel-Aviv, Haifa and Tiberias have all started on the road of modern development but there is room for still greater expansion.
“Jerusalem, which occupies a special position in the National Home, is justly proud of the young Hebrew University, and though in the past two years the University has made great strides, it will require much effort before it can take its place among the great Universities of the world. These are the broad lines of the possibilities and of the necessities of our work in Palestine.
“I have recently had an opportunity of seeing some of the foremost statesmen of Europe in England and other countries. There is very little doubt that our work in Palestine is being watched and scrutinized, and is looked upon with the deepest interest and sympathy by everybody.
“Opposition and hostility among certain classes of the Arab population in Palestine is on the wane. Law and order reign, and we can go on with our work unhampered.
“We are at present passing through a strenuous time owing to the fact that some of our new immigrants are deeply affected in their economic life by the financial crisis in Europe. This crisis, though not caused by Palestine, must be faced by us in a spirit of helpfulness and with courage and confidence in a brighter future.
“On the initiative of the Zionist Executive an Economic Conference, consisting of leading economic experts in Europe, was held in London during this month, under the chairmanship of Sir Herbert Samuel. This Conference reviewed and approved the lines of work followed hitherto, and made some valuable suggestions for the future which will serve as a guide in our activities.
“Another important step in the material development of Palestine is the definite establishment of the new Board of the Palestine Electric Corporation under the Chairmanship of Viscount Reading. The Corporation will soon begin the important work of harnessing the Jordan for the purpose of gaining electrical energy.
“I was happy to see that at the recent Conference in Chicago, unity in American Israel was established and the wav made clear for the continuation of our efforts to establish a common platform on which both Zionists and non-Zionists will unite for the benefit of Palestine. I am confident that the Jewish community of America is animated by a sincere desire to see a flourishing and proud Commonwealth in Palestine, and whatever differences may have divided them before, every vestige will disappear in the course of the difficult work which is sacred to us all. Needless to say, whatever is in my small power to help towards this end will be done devotedly and unreservedly.” Dr. Weizmann concluded.
Dr. Chaim Arlosoroff, Palestine Jewish labor leader, who accompanied Dr. Weizmann, in commenting on the unemployment situation, declared: “Jewish labor in Palestine is not so worried over the unemployment as it might seem. We have had greater unemployment difficulties than this. The difficulty of the present situation lies in the circumstance that it is lasting longer than usual. Labor believes, however, that the situation could be alleviated if 50,000 dunam of land which are now uncultivated in the Valley of Jezreel and which are the property of the Jewish National Fund is cultivated this year. Too, the Ruttenberg work will create new possibilities for employment and the extension of the existing colonies will absorb many.”
Dr. Georg Halpern, head of the Jewish Colonial Trust and of the Ango-Palestine Bank, who accompanied Dr. Weizmann, stated:
“I am happy to have been in a position to join Dr. Weizmann on his visit to the United States. The purposes of my visit are in connection with the further development of the existing Zionist financial institutions, and also to explore the best ways and means of bringing about the closer cooperation of American Jewry in the formation of new economic instruments which have become necessary for the upbuilding of Palestine.
“The Jewish Colonial Trust and the Anglo Palestine Co. have very satisfactory bank connections in New York, which were established some years ago, and one of my special tasks will be to strengthen these connections.
“Thanks to the untiring efforts of our American friends, there is already a keen interest displayed in America for the Mortgage Bank of Palestine, and I hope that my visit may contribute to a deepening of this interest. We are at present trying to create special institutions for Agricultural and Industrial credits for Palestine, and I am convinced that the friends of Palestine in America will show an understanding of and will actively participate in this new work, as they have already done in the earlier work of previous years.
“The question of credits is today more than ever the central problem of Palestine Economics, and I am anxious to emphasize that it is essential to have two kinds of credits. On the one hand, there are the credits given by our two large funds, the Keren Hayesod and the Keren Kayemeth. These are granted for long periods on very easy terms, and are given for our Agricultual Colonization. On the other hand, there must be credits granted on a purely business basis with full security and at a rate of interest attractive to investors, and in my opinion Palestinian conditions already warrant activities on these lines.
“It would be erroneous to judge the present economic position in Palestine on the basis of the difficulties through which the towns, and chiefly Tel-Aviv, are temporarily passing. It should also be borne in mind that an unavoidable concomitant of immigration into a new country is the presence of a certain percentage of weak and unsuitable elements, which must necessarily affect the economic structure of a young society.
“Agriculture, which is the fundamental factor in Palestinian Economics, has just completed a satisfactory year and the prospects for the orange growers for the coming season are excellent both from the point of view of the size of the crop, and of the anticipated demand.
“The large industries, such as the cement and oil factories in Haifa, are carrying on normally, and are securing an export market. The already existing power stations of the Palestine Electric Corporation are in full swing, and now that the financing of the Corporation has been completed for the next stages, the Corporation will at once commence work on the Jordan, and it is confidently anticipated that in two years there will be in existence the necessary prerequisites for the development of the country, namely, plentiful and cheap power for industries and agriculture.
“The Palestine Government has already set aside the necessary means for the building of the Port at Haifa and thus the second essential will be fulfilled for bringing Palestine within the credit of modern countries and world markets.
“The preparations of the great air-route to India, which will go through Palestine, have advanced so far that it is anticipated that the service will be commenced next year. The road connection from Palestine to Bagdad and Persia is now in use. The future importance of Palestine is recognized more and more by non-Jews, and it is for the Jews–and not least for the American Jews–to see that this Palestine should be a Jewish Palestine.”
The Archive of the Jewish Telegraphic Agency includes articles published from 1923 to 2008. Archive stories reflect the journalistic standards and practices of the time they were published.