Search JTA's historical archive dating back to 1923

Palestine As a Health Resort: Tiberias Hot Springs Concession to Jewish Company Signed

February 24, 1932
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

The concession for the exploitation of the famous hot springs at Tiberias was signed to-day by Judge Bernard B. Rosenblatt, of New York, former American member of the Zionist Executive, and first President of the American Zion Common-wealth, on behalf of the Jewish concession company, and the Kayor of Tiberias on behalf of the City of Tiberias, at the Faifa Governorate, in the presence of the Governor, Mr. Keith-Roach.

The concession is for five years, providing for the immediate improvement of the baths, after which there will be a new concession with the Palestine Government for a period of forty years. The undertaking involves the formation of a hot springs company with a capital of £40,000.

The leading members of the Company are Mr. Suprasky, one of the leaders of Palestine Jewry, Mr. Gesundheit, a prominent South African Zionist, who is now living in Palestine, and Judge Rosenblatt.

The Company will take over the baths on February 28th.

The last High Commissioner, Sir John Chancellor, signed in April 1929 the Government concession for the exploitation of the Tiberias hot springs, which was given in the name of Mr. Suprasky, Mr. Gesundheit, and Judge Bernard Mr. Rosenblatt.

The J.T.A reported as far back as January 1928 that a Jewish company, headed by Mr. Suprasky had purchased the concession for the exploitation of the Tiberias hot springs from an Arab-Syrian company which had during the war obtained the concession from the Turkish authorities, and in 1926 received from the British authorities a ratification of this concession for a period of 40 years.

90 per cent. of the shares in the company formed to exploit the concession, it was stated, belong to Messrs. Suprasky, Gesundheit and Judge Rosenblatt. The other ten per cent, are held by two Arabs, the former owners of the concession, Messrs. Soleiman Nassif and Amin Rizek.

The concession was granted for a period of 40 years, the concessionaires paying the Government a sum of £3,000 annually.

The granting of the concession was delayed by a dispute between the Palestine Government and the Tiberias Municipality over the question of the ownership of the hot springs. In 1927 an action was started in the High Court against the Government by the Tiberias Municipality, which objected to a ruling given by Lord Plumer, then High Commissioner, that the springs are not the property of the Tiberias Municipality but Government property and ordering the demolition of the existing buildings for the purpose of proceeding with the erection of modern accommodation. This dispute was settled in March 1929 by an arrangement between the Government and the Municipality, under which the Tiberias Municipality was to receive two-thirds of the income from the exploitation of the springs, the local Wakf (Moslem Religious Endowment) receiving one sixth. After the expiration of the term of the concession for the exploitation of the springs, all the buildings and installations were to become under the agreement the property of the Tiberias Municipality.

The present baths at Tiberias were built in 1833 by Ibrahim Pasha during the Egyptian occupation of Palestine. Additions were made in 1890 by the Turkish Government, but the accommodation is inferior. The temperature of the springs is about 143°F. and the waters contain sulphur, chloride of magnesium and iron. They are said to be in many respects similar to those of Carlsbad and are reputed to cure chronic rheumatism and various skin diseases. It has also been stated that they possess valuable radio-active properties. They were well known in Roman times, when the heights near the thermal baths were surrounded by Roman villas and Temples and crowned by Herod’s Acropolis. Pliny extolled the excellent properties of the springs.

The waters of the Tiberias hot springs, it is claimed, are from a curative point of view equal to those of Carlsbad, #arienbad, and other celebrated spas.

Recommended from JTA