THE DETROIT JEWISH NEWS
rriday, December 5, 1969-47
Airmen Give Voice to .Uaoz l'zur
1920: Turning Point in Jewish H istory
What was the most crucial year
in the creation and consolidation
of the State of Israel?-1917. the
Year of the Balfour Declaration'?
1^-12, the Biltmore Conference?
1948, the Creation of the State?
1967. the Six Day War?
All were important but as on
point 1920 will
have to take its place near the top
of the list.
This is the view of Dr.
Goldstein. long time leader of the•
Zionist movement in the United
States and now chairman of the
Keren Hayesod in Jerusalem.
Since Jew ish organizations through-
Jewish air force trainees lift their voices in the singing of
'111aoz Tzur" as they use religious and Hanuka supplies provided by
the commission on Jewish chaplaincy of the National Jewish Welfare
Board in their outdoor observance of the Festival of Lights at
Lackland Air Force Base, Texas.
the world will mark Keren Ilaye-
sod's 50th anniversary next year,
Dr. Goldstein and other Zionist
leaders met recently to make
plans and to take a closer look at
the year .1920 when the Keren
IL:yesod was established. Their
conclusion let the events speak for
Holiday Greetings to Our Patrons and Friends
The year 1920 saw greatly rising
expectations for the Jewish people.
of the dismembered
Turkish Em- ire was about to he
conference of San
Remo (a town in North Italy) a,
part of the political settlements
1 discussed by the victorious allies
after World War One. Almost the
last item on the agenda was con-
) - firmation of the Balfour Declara-
tion (issued by the British govern
mint in 1917. The Declaration had
already received preliminary en-
dorsement by the Council of Ten
at the .Versailles Peace Conference
in 1919 and a decision to grant a
mandate over Palestine to Great
Britain had been taken.
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The Staff of
Jewish communities the world
over had hailed the Declaration
with ecstatic joy and many re-
garded it as a near-messianic
fulfillment of ancient biblical
prophecies concerning renewal of
Jewish nationhood. But Chaim
Weizmann, who succeeded in se-•
curing the Declaration, kept on
insisting that a homeland could
only be createt: by hard work.
"Even if all the governments of
the world gave us a country, it
would only be a gift of words"
he warned time and again, "but
if the Jewish people will go ant!
built Palestine, the Jewish state
will become a reality."
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How were the facts of Jewish
settlement, agriculture and indus-
try. economic and community de-
velopment, to be created inn-a coun-
try left desolate for so many cen-
tu•ies, ravaged by wars and ne-
glected by its local population and
its Turkish rulers? Clearly. new
instruments of national revival had
find adequate sources of tinanee
for-the manifold development prt:j
ects then being initiated in Pales-
At the founding conference of
the fund in London that year, the
directors decided that its stric-
ture would he neither that of a
lish the Keren Hayesod as the'
principal arm of the movement to
Naltalal. was also built at about
Industry received its initial
impetus from Keren Hayesod at
about this time; pioneer Pinhas
Rotenberg obtained a concession
from the Mandatory - authorities
to generate electricity and set
about revising and implementing
a plan for electrification of Pales.
tine through harnessing power
the fund rather as a non-profit
company whose aim was to mo-
for the national
economic development in Pales-
tine, using contributions made
by Jews associated with Zionists
The trickle of immigrants after
1920 soon swelled into a large
stream; by 1926 over 50,000 new-
comers had arrived.
The establishment of Keren
Hayesod and its early success soon
enabled them to undertake such
tasks as construction of roads, in-
cluding the famous road from
Tzemach to Tiberias along the
shores of the Sea of Galilee: to
drz in swamps and to set about
building large new agricultural
settlements, notably in the Valley
of Jezreel—the Emek—where the
renowned Zionist leader Joshua
liankin had acquired over 17,000
acres. Here the first big kibtttz of
Ein Harold (which differed in
structure from the early kevutzet
such as Degania and Kineret) was
from the waters of the Jordan
and liarnitik rivers and the con.
struction of generators and tur-
No less important for the future
of the Yishuv were the formation
in 1920 of countrywide organiza-
tions and institutions such as His-
tadrut (General Federation of
Labor) and Gedud 'Ha'Avoda
( 1A'orkers Battalion) and the 'Jew-
ish Agency for Palestine. Each in
its special way contributed to the
uphuilding of the country, and the
activities of each were facilitated
by the Keren Hayesod -which pro-
vided the capital raised all over
the world. ,
Thus, 1920 was in sum a forma-
tive - year, a crucial - year during
which the foundations of Jewish.
nationhood were firmly laid.
To -do nothing is the wisdom of
those who have seen fools perish.—
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to the Jewish Community
there was little immediate improve-
ment. But in 1920, when the first
British civil administration under
the Mandate was installed, headed
by a British Jew, Sir Herbert Sam-
uel, things took a turn for the
It was at this critical time that
the Zionist Congress, meeting in
the summer of 1920 for the first
time since 1915, decided to estab-
in 1921 with Keren
Hayesod hidp. The first moshay.
banking institution nor a com-
mercial enterprise, neither social-
ist or capitalist. They designed
to he deVised.
In 1901. the World Zionist Organ-
iiation had established the Keren
Kayemet (Jewish National Fund)
so as to acquire land in Palestine
as the property of the Jewish peo-
begun and the first settlements had
been founded. By
Jews n the country. of
whom some 73.000 lived in the
towns, many subsisting on "ha-
luka" (charitable aid received
from Jews in the Diaspora) but
others, already the citizens of in-
dependent communities, including
the first all Jewish city of Tel
By the end of the war in 1918.
the position of the Yishuv had
become almost desperate. The
population dropped to 56,000 in the
wake of Turkish deportations and
emigration. Even after the British
had captured Palestine and install-
ed a rn ilit a r y administration,
under General Allenby in 1918,
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