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Dr. Holmes Predicts Success for Zionist Efforts in Palestine

March 21, 1929
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

Enthusiastic over the Zionist work in Palestine, Dr. John Haynes Holmes, minister of the New York Community Church, returned Tuesday on the steamer Aquitania after spending three weeks in Palestine, where he went as the representative of Nathan Straus. “I think it is one of the greatest things I ever saw,” Dr. Holmes said of the rebuilding work. Difficulties are being encountered because of the fact that the land has been devastated for thousands of years, but these difficulties can be overcome if the Jews of the world, especially American Jews, continue to contribute toward the up building work. Contributions should not come from Jews alone, Dr. Holmes declared. Support for this cause should also come from liberal non-Jews, persons interested in social experiment.

The most serious problem in Palestine is the relation between the Jews and the Arabs, Dr. Holmes pointed out, declaring that he met all the Zionist leaders, talked with the chiefs of the Arabs, was in conference twice with the High Commissioner and interviewed the Commissioner’s secretary and two deputies. “It is my impression that the government considers the interests of the Arabs first and keeps aloof from the Jewish movement because it is not yet convinced in the future of this work.”

Notwithstanding the complaints of the Arabs, the general Moslem population feels that they are benefiting by the Jewish work in Palestine. The Jews are also trying to cooperate with the Arabs by opening public institutions to Arabs as well as Jews, and seeking cooperation.

One of the things that gave Dr. Holmes the greatest confidence was the manner in which the newer arrivals in Palestine deal with the Arabs. He said that the lately established communities insist on fair dealing and equal opportunity, and that even the nurses who go into the hinterland are instructed to give as careful attention to the Arabs as to the Jews. Gradually, he thinks, the fear of the Arabs is being broken down.

If the investments already made in (Continued on Page 4)

Palestine are to bring full returns, the gift already made must be continued and even increased, he said. At present, Dr. Holmes said, adequate funds are not available, and much of the work already begun has been curtailed.

“I have a feeling that this Zionist cause must succeed,” Dr. Holmes declared. “Nothing impressed me so much as the devotion, sacrifice and labor for the cause which I have seen all the way from the high officials in the movement down to the humble workers on the land. In Jerusalem there are thousands of Jews who are literally laying down their lives on the altar of this great cause.

“No one can understand Zionism if he sees it only in Jewish terms. He must see it as a great human adventure and heroic endeavor to prove that the social ideals of the race can be made real on the earth. The failure of Zionism would mean a failure for us all, just as a victory for Zionism is a victory for all,” he stated.

“The present situation is critical, the minister pointed out. “Things done or not done now may determine all the future. I have come to feel intensely the pressing need of certain things-thus, the support of Zionism in America and elsewhere must be greatly increased in everything that goes to making up a great constructive enterprise, such as knowledge, skill, labor, devotion. I shall plead with all men, Jews and Gentiles, to give to this cause as never before.”

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