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Cautions Jews on Absentee Land Holding

July 9, 1935
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

The danger of American Jews owning land in Palestine and not developing it was emphasized yesterday by the American Zion Commonwealth, in a statement issued by David Freiberger, its president.

“We have many purchasers, devoted Zionists, who in good faith have purchased land for sentimental reasons, who are unable to live in Palestine and have no plans for the improvement of the property,” the statement says. “Such ownership is detrimental to the building of Palestine as well as to the owners, for the following reasons:


“1. There is a la win Palestine known as the Land Dispute Ordinance, by virtue of which any person who is in possession of land, lawfully or unlawfully, even by force or violence, is allowed to remain in possession of the land until evicted by order of the Court, which is not easily done.

“2. There is another law in Palestine known as the Protection of Cultivators’ Ordinance, which gives almost ownership rights to persons who lawfully or unlawfully take possession of land and cultivate it. These persons become statutory tenants after one year of occupation, and cannot later be evicted.”


The American Zion Common-wealth, according to Mr. Freiberger’s statement, has had constant litigation involving an expenditure of tens of thousands of dollars in order to protect the land against trespassers and squatters, because of the above laws.

“The only way to protect the land is to build or cultivate it,” Mr. Freiberger warns.

The statement by the American Zion Commonwealth also touches upon the problem of preventing speculation in acquiring land from those who are not ready to improve it.

“We have found a solution to this problem,” the statement points out. “An organization has been created under the auspices of the Central Bureau for Settlement of German Jews in Palestine, of which Dr. Chaim Weizmann is the head, and which has been organized for the purpose of acquiring land for German refugees. This new organization, known as the Rassco (Rural Agricultural Society Cooperative), will acquire land especially for absentee owners who have no desire to take possession and cultivate it, at a fair market price, and will resell such land to refugees upon fair prices and terms.”


Mr. Freiberger expresses the belief that in acquiring large tracts of lands, the Rassco will be in a position to regulate and dictate prices which will have the effect of preventing unwholesome speculation.

“We have every reason to believe that those of our Zionists in America who have purchased land from us and have no desire to take possession will not hesitate to dispose of their lands to the Rassco rather than to speculators,” the statement concludes.

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