With the constitution of the enlarged Jewish Agency including Zionists and non-Zionists, the work of reconstruction in Palestine, with a view of creating a Jewish National Home there, will proceed more rapidly and on a larger scale than in the past, the Permanent Mandates Commission of the League of Nations, meeting here annually to review the work of the mandatory governments, was told in the report submitted by the Zionist Executive for the year 1928.
The report was forwarded by the High Commissioner of Palestine to whom it was submitted for transmission to the League Commission by Dr. Chaim Weizmann, president of the World Zionist Organization. The document is dated May 3, 1929, and summarizes the Zionist and Jewish work of reconstruction in the mandated territory of Palestine. During 1928 the Zionist Organization expended in the country Â£715,000, exclusive of private capital and of the expenditure of other organizations working in the country, such as the Palestine Economic Corporation of New York and the Jewish Colonization Association.
“Large as are the sums which are already being provided from Jewish sources for the development of Palestine and the establishment of the Jewish National Home, the influx of Jewish capital is likely to be still further increased as a result of the impending enlargement of the Jewish Agency. On the non-Zionist not less than on the Zionist side, it is hoped and expected that the constitution of the Agency on a broader basis will enable the work of reconstruction to proceed more rapidly and on a still larger scale than in the past,” the Zionist Executive said in the memorandum.
During the year 1928, 2,178 Jewish immigrants were registered by the Palestine government as new arrivals, as compared with 2,713 in the previous year, but while in 1927, 5,071 Jews emigrated from Palestine, in 1928, 2,167 Jews departed from the country. These figures indicate, the memorandum says, the close of the period of economic depression through which Palestine recently passed and foreshadow a return to more normal conditions. The payment from Zionist funds of unemployment doles was discontinued in April 1928 and a large number of the unemployed were absorbed in the extensive program of public works undertaken or financed by the Zionist Organization and other Jewish bodies. The report records progress in the development of agricultural colonization and in urban development, a revival of the building activity having been noted. Similar progress is reported in the development of industry, the output of Jewish industries, particularly in Tel Aviv, showing a considerable increase. A distinct improvement in the demand for labor, both in agriculture and in industry, has been felt, particularly the development of the new orange plantations and the government, taking under consideration the prospect of a further improvement, has agreed to reopen Jewish immigration to the country under the labor schedules. Restrictions upon the admittance of dependent relatives have been removed and the more liberal provisions of the regulations of 1926 are again being applied.
DEMAND FAIR GOVERNMENT ALLOCATION OF JOBS TO JEWS
A point raised in the report, indicating an issue between the government and the Zionist Executive, concerns the demand for a fair allocation of jobs to Jewish workers in government public works. The matter had for some time past been the subject of discussion between the government and the Zionist Organization. The question now becomes “one of exceptional importance and urgency,” the report says.
From the report it is seen that there are few issues outstanding between the government and the Zionist Executive. The major question, that of state lands for Jewish colonization, extensively dealt with in previous reports to the League Commission, is again referred to. The Zionist Executive again takes up the matter of the Beisan state lands which were given in 1921 to Arabs. It was found that the recipients of this land do not desire to cultivate it and are anxious to sell it. The government waived the requirement that the whole of the transfer price must be paid before the beneficiary is at liberty to dispose of his surplus land.
REITERATE DEMAND THAT ARTICLE 6 BE FULFILLED
The Zionist Executive states that this statement of policy “cannot be regarded as equivalent to a discharge of the obligations accepted by the government under Article 6 of the Mandate, which requires the Administration of Palestine to encourage, in cooperation with the Jewish Agency, close settle-
ment by Jews on the land, including State lands and waste lands not required for public purposes. There is no reason to suppose that the Government itself regards its obligations under this Article as having been fufilled, and it is hoped that the legislation which has recently been enacted in connection with the fixing of boundaries and the determination of titles will pave the way for the effective application of Article 6 of the Mandate, as well as for the drastic reform of the existing system of land taxation which, by common consent, is urgently needed in the interests of the agricultural development of Palestine.”
During the year under review the total purchases of land by Jews in Palestine amounted to 83,139 dunams valued at Â£790,125. These figures, however, include purchases from the Palestine Land Development Company and other Jewish vendors. The precise addition made during the year to the area of land in Jewish ownership is not known.
No demand is made for an increase in the grant-in-aid by the Palestine government toward the maintenance of the Hebrew educational system in Palestine. Of the approximately 27,000 Jewish children attending school in Palestine, over 19,000 attend the schools under the control or supervision of the Zionist department of education. The cost of maintenance of the Zionist school system in the financial year 1927-1928 was Â£160,000. Toward this sum the government of Palestine gave a grant in aid of Â£19,033. The Zionist Executive informs the Permanent Mandates Commission that due to the recent promulgation of the draft of an education ordinance projecting the reorganization of the entire educational system in Palestine, it has approached the government expressing the hope that nothing will be done “to derogate from the recognized status of the Jewish Agency as the body responsible for the Hebrew system of public education, or to impair the unity or the autonomy of the Hebrew school system which has been built up by the efforts of the Zionist Organization.”
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.