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J. D. B. News Letter

July 24, 1929
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Another survey of Palestine has been made. The facts, old and new, in retrospect and perspective, were again reviewed, recast and presented in relation to the question of the establishment of the Jewish National Home. The National Geographic Society, founded in 1888 for the increase and diffusion of geographic knowledge, with headquarters in Washington, D. C., took a geographic inventory of Palestine as it appears in 1929 and in a release declares that the survey reveals Palestine as a country “on the make.”

Today the Jordan River has been crossed again-by the dam of a power project.

Crusaders from Europe once more invade the land, fighting-the mosquitoes who infected 64 per cent of the new settlers with malaria.

The land of milk and honey flows-with oranges and Portland cement.

Nazareth is a town famous throughout Palestine as the home of-a new water system.

Within the walls of Jerusalem rises a new temple-a $2,000,000 museum of archaeology presented by an American philanthropist.

Jehu chauffeurs drive furiously over the hills to Jezreel-not to wreak vengeance on Jezebel, but to transport some of the 50,000 tourists using the Bible as a guidebook. Motor cars on the modern Jezreel road make the chariot speed record of the original Jehu II (Kings, 9:20), patron saint of taxicab drivers, seem a mere snail’s pace. Indeed, from Dan, in the north, to Beersheba, in the south, the length of Palestine, is a pleasant day’s motor tour.

Where Richard the Lion Hearted ruled in Haifa there is a Norman castle-at least it looks like a Norman castle, but it is an electric powerhouse.

Progress reaches even to the little town of Bethlehem, where a new hospital is under construction.

Even the age-old cry of the Jews has been changed. The wail of 2,000 years of yesterdays, “Next year in Zion,” has become “Tomorrow, Zion.” Tel Aviv is called the first Hebrew city since the destruction of the temple.

There is more to post-war Zionism than Tel Aviv. While this new all-Jewish community of 40,000 is the largest, there are more than 100 other Jewish colonies. Since the Balfour Declaration of 1917 recognized the special interests of Jews in Palestine, the Jewish population has increased from about 70,000 in 1920 to more than 150,000. Jews are still a minority in their homeland, however, numbering but one-fifth of the total population.

Israel’s ten tribes lived off the land. Driven out of Israel into the corners of the world, they made those corner shops and banks. Reconquest of their

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Palestine homeland once more requires agricultural skill of the Jews. Some of the new settlers, former druggists, clerks, grocers in Russia, studied agriculture two years before coming to Palestine.

Good orange growers will inherit the Holy Land. Yet there is a movement by the Jewish immigrants to make Palestine a glorified department store of the awakening Near East. Already they are selling stockings in Egypt, cement to Syria and Cyprus, perfume to France, oranges to England, and made-in-Palestine unleavened bread all over the world.

It is plain that the reconquest of Palestine must come by economic development, not sentiment. The Zionist movement rides two economic horses, pioneering and industry. Pioneers of the American West found free land and lots of it. Jewish pioneers in Palestine must buy the land and a whole community must live on an acreage equal to a moderate-sized Middle West farm. American pioneers found forests; the hills of Judea must be reforested. Americans found a healthy land; the Jewish settlers fight the mosquito, tropical, diseases and a whole catalogue of scourges that attack their orange and almond groves, vineyards and grain fields. From 1919 to 1924 the Zionist movement cost about $35,000,000 and only a few communities have begun to break even, much less pay interest on loans.

Industrial conquest relies on a triple program already under way: Haifa Harbor, the Jordan River and the Dead Sea salts. First, the $5,000,000 Haifa Harbor development will give Palestine its only deep water port. Secondly, the railroad running inland from Haifa to the Jordan River now carries supplies for the hydro-electric development (the first in Asia Minor, it is declared) which will turn the 165-foot drop between the Sea of Galilee and the Dead Sea into 70 million kilowatt hours per year to light up Palestine. At present there is only a market for 20 million kilowatt hours, but wait and see, say the Zionists.

Thirdly it has been established that the salts of the Dead Sea contain potash in a form usable for the world trade. The chemical extraction problem has been solved. The Jordan development will supply power. Extension of the Haifa Railroad will supply transportation from the 1,300-foot sub-sea-level Dead Sea to the new Haifa port, where all except the biggest liners can dock. Jewish capital and brains and British aid move toward the goal.

Palestine is not a large country. New Hampshire is slightly larger. Palestine, like New Hampshire, has a mountain range down its middle. New Palestine, nevertheless, deals in millions. Government nurseries now produce more than a million trees annually for reforestation, more than 11,000,000 telephone calls were made and 12,000,000 letters were handled in 1927, more than 2,000,000 boxes of oranges were shipped out. Foreign trade has increased approximately $5,000,000 since 1924.

Life is complicated by the existence of three official languages. Palestine pounds (equal to British pounds) and the subsidiary coins, “mils” of various denominations, display their values in English, Hebrew and Arabic. They circulate in Palestine, Palestine, or Falastin, depending on your particular faith. The railroad station of the city, sacred to Moslems, Jews, and Christians, welcomes them respectively with the words, El Quads esh Sherif, Yerushalayim, and Jerusalem.

When archaeologists engaging in one of the country’s chief industries, dig up a town, they find remains of each civilization hidden by the one on top. Not so with the human layers that have been spread over this footpath between Asia and Africa. Remnants of races and peoples mill about in the currents of Holy Land life, seldom mixing.

The few Samaritans at Nablus are survivors of a colony established by Sargon II, King of Assyria, 722 B.C.

Major Edward Keith-Roach, Deputy District Commissioner, Jerusalem Division, records in the National Geographic Magazine that the lingual groups in Jerusalem alone are made up of the following numbers:

Abyssinian ……. 72

Arabic ………… 22,307

Armerian …… 2,442

Bulgarian …… 29

Circassian …… 3

Dutch …….. 2

English ……… 986

French ……… 261

German …….. 281

Georgian ……. 4

Greek ………. 760

Gypsy ………… 7

Hebrew ……….. 32,341

Indian dialects . 769

Italian …………… 209

Magyar …….. 55

Maltese ……… 4

Persian ……… 122

Polish ………. 10

Pashto ……… 4

Roumanian ….. 36

Russian ………….. 407

Serbian …….. 13

Spanish …….. 175

Sudanese …….. 35

Swedish …….. 10

Syriac …………. 38

Turkish …….. 198

Yiddish ….. 999

The whole drama of modern invention’s power to remake history is compressed into the recent Palestine experience of some Americans. “We crossed Esdraelon in half an hour,” they wrote home, “climbed the hill to Nazareth, but found there was no room for us in the inn. It was only a 40-minute run to Tiberias on the shores of Galilee and there we found good accommodations in a hotel that is run by some Germans.”

Funeral services were held Monday for Frank Goldberg, Yiddish actor who died on Friday.

Mr. Goldberg, who was 34 years old, had been manager of the Prospect Theatre in the Bronx. Rev. Israel Breeh officiated. Interment took place in the Yiddish Theatrical Alliance’s plot in the Mt. Hebron Cemetery.

A benefit performance to defray the expenses of Mr. Goldberg’s illness will take place next Saturday at midnight at the Tilyou Theatre, Coney Island.

The Federation for the Support of Jewish Philanthropic Societies of New York City receives $10,000 under the will of Alfred Bernstein, entered for probate yesterday. Mr. Bernstein died in Hamburg, Germany, June 5. The value of the estate is estimated at $500,000. His widow, Tillie, of 40 West Seventy-second Street, is the chief beneficiary, receiving personal and household effects and a life estate in $200,000. After her death three-twentieths of the principal will pass to the Federation and the remainder will de divided among four brothers of Mr. Bernstein.

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