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January 12, 1979 - Image 56

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1979-01-12

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56 Friday, January 12,__1979


Two Rothschilds and the Land of Israel'



Chaim Weizmann, Is-
rael's first president, in his
autobiography "Trial and
Error," wrote, "Shortly be-
fore the First World War he
(Baron Edmond de
Rothschild) paid a visit to
Palestine . . . -I met him,
soon after, in Paris . . . I
asked him for his im-
pressions of Palestine, and
he answered me simply and
honestly: 'Without me the
Zionists could have done
nothing, but without the
Zionists my work would
have been dead.' "
Edmond de Rothschild's
laconic statement is the
theme of "Two Rothschilds
and the Land of Israel"
(Alfred A. Knopf), authored
by Simon Schama, a fellow
of Brasenose College, Ox-
ford, and lecturer in modern
Schama begins his narra-
tive with an historic review
of the political status of the
Russian, Romanian and
French Jews in the 18th and
19th Centuries. In 1791, he
writes, Catherine the Great
created the Pale of Settl-
ment. The same year, the
Constituent Assembly con-
ferred on the French Jews
full rights of citizenship.
Almost 100 years later,
Romania, after it had
gained independence
from Turkey, deprived its
Jewish population of its
citizenship rights. Hence-
forth, individual legisla-

tion was required each
time a Jew applied for
Romanian citizenship.
In 1882, Alexander III
promulgated the infamous
Temporary Regulations
that forbade Jews to reside
in the rural areas of the
Pale. The same year, Baron
Edmond de Rothschild
began his historic Jewish


colonization activities in
Palestine that continued for
80 years without interrup-
No wonder, Baron Ed-
mond became known as
"Avi Hayishuv" (Father of
the Settlement) and
"Hanadiv" (the Benefactor).
Thorough is Schama's
analysis of the living condi-
tions of the Palestinian
Jews in 1882 and the years
preceding it. In Jerusalem
alone 20,000 out of a Jewish
population of 23,000 lived
off"haluka" (charity); 3,000
were tailors; the others

were ritual slaughterers,
butchers, phylactery and
prayer-shawl makers.
Schama's biographical
portrayal of Baron Ed-

mond's family is impres-
sive. His father, Baron
James, presided over the
Consistoire Central and
the Consistoire de Paris
until his death in 1869.
His brothers, Alphonse
and Gustave, respec-
tively succeeded their
father in these distin-
guished positions.

The youngest of the
Rothschild children, Ed-
mond, also "took his seat on
the Consistories."
The Rothschilds sup-
ported charitable and reli-
gious organizations, and
patronized scholarly and
literary projeCts, such as the
"Societe d' Etudes Juives."
Baronne Betty, was "the
uncrowned empress of the
Paris salmis." His cousin
and wife, Adelaide, was a
devout and observant

Is it surprising that
Edmond became in-
terested in Jewish col-
onization in Palestine?
This interest, moreover,
was intensified by a con-
viction "based on a read-
ing of what he judged to
be present and future
realities in Europe and
the Middle East."
There were also other fac-
tors that influenced Ed-

mond's attitude toward the
"Yishuv." Some were his
visit to Jerusalem at the age
of 10; his parents' support of
various institutions in
Jerusalem; and, most of all,
his association with men
like Rabbi Shmuel
Mohilever, the great
"Khovev Tsion" (Lover of
Zion) and the Grand Rabbi
of France, Zadoc Kahn.
In their early history, the
settlements had to over-
come many difficulties, in-
cluding poor farm land,
primitive methods of farm-
ing, and, most of all, the
hostile and 'obstructionist
policies of the Ottoman
authorities. Ottoman Jews
were permitted internal
migration in Turkish con-
trolled territories but Rus-
sian, Romanian and Bulga-
rian Jews were not allowed
to enter Palestine.
The Turkish officials sus-
pected that the Jewish
farms were disguises for
some other "ulterior
stratagem." Thus the con-
struction' of a dormitory at
Zikhron Ya'akov produced a
rumor that a fort was -being
built by French soldiers.
Similarly, "the use of fire
torches to create irrigation
canals at Rosh Pinna im-
mediately drew from the
local authorities in Upper
Galilee the accusation that
artillery had been secretly
introduced into the region
by the farmers."

As a result, the Baron

counselled the settlers to
be cautious in their
dealings with Turkish
bureaucrats. At the same
time, he demanded that
the settlers work effi-
ciently. To enforce the
working regulations, he
established a bureaucra-
tic hierarchy which he
authorized, inter alia, "to

Prof. Weizmann in "Trial •4
and Error" relates the Ba-
ron's endeavors: "With one ••
alone was it a passion, and.
that was Baron Edmond or"
Paris. A dozen men of his
stamp and his capacity to
help would have changed
the history of Palestine."
The baron's son, James
(the future Baron James),
and daughter-in-law, ■ .,
Dorothy, worked just as
devotedly for Jewish
statehood in Palestine. In 1
London where they re-
sided, they hac141Itn P4
"canvassing op , : n,„
winning friends and in-
fluencing people in the"
tortuous road which led
eventually to the Balfour
Significantly, in the to
1920s James assumed lead-
ership of the Palestinei,
Jewish Colonization ASSO -4;
exercise a discretionary
In 1957, the year Baron
prerogative over the James died, the family be-
right to marriage."
queathed the Rothschild Is-
Nevertheless, he insisted" raeli enterprises to the state
that the settlements have of Israel. In addition, the
synagogues, rabbis, ritual family provided the finan-
slaughterers, ritual baths cial means for the construe-144
— "the complete parapher- tion of the Knesset
nalia of traditional Or- This gift symbolized both
thodoxy." But he opposed Rothschilds' "concern that
the observance of "shemita" the Jewish state should re-
(the agricultural sabbatical main within the tradition of
year) in his colonies.
Western political society." .
When World War I broke
At the Knesset opening in
out, the baron became an 1966, Mrs. Rothschild re- -
ardent advocate of a Jewish_ ferred" to it as "setting the
state in Palestine, and seal on the work done by his
actively worked for its (her husband James') father
80 years ago."

1948 Memorial Statue Had Same Fate as Raoul Wallenberg

(Editor's note: A con-
tinuing campaign to dis- .
cover the truth about the
1945 disappearance of
Raoul Wallenberg at the
hands of the Russians
has uncovered a new


chapter concerning a
Budapest monument.
Wallenberg, a University
of Michigan graduate,
saved an estimated
20,000-50,000 Jews in
Budapest from the Nazis
by issuing false papers
and setting up "safe
houses" under the
Swedish flag.
(The Soviet Union con-
tinues to deny sporadic
reports that Wallenberg
is still alive in a Russian
prison, saying he died in
1952. Persons wishing to
participate in the cam-
paign to find out the truth
'about Wallenberg should
write to Dr. and Mrs.
Thomas P. Lantos, 5850
Cameron Run, Apt. 809,
Alexandria, Va. 22303.)
The following account
was reported in the Swedish
newspaper Expressen on
June 15, 1964:
"A Wallenberg Commit-
tee was formed by his sur-
viving Jewish proteges. One
of the aims was to honor the
memory of their savior.
"A collection was started
to raise a monument to the
disappeared Swedish dip-

lomat, whose fate was un-
known, except for the fact
that he had disappeared in
Russian imprisonment. He
was, however, already mis-
sed as dead. -
"The great sculptor of
Hungary, Pal Patzay, who
is in particular famous for
his equestrian statues,
took on the task to create a
worthy monument, without
"The Jews even gave
their golden heirlooms to
the collection.
"Pal Patzay did not lack
inspiration. He was perhaps
the best of all artists in
Hungary to understand the
task. He had personal ex-
perience of the humanita-
rian efforts of Raoul Wal-
"One day the sculptor
was informed that a
friend of his was among
the Jews who would be
deported from Budapest.
They had already been
loaded into the railway
cars. The artist decided
to alert quickly Wallen-
berg, whom he knew.
Wallenberg rapidly came
to the spot and managed

to get the friend of the against violence and
sculptor and .15 other Nazism. It was a figure of
Jews ,out of the cars and St. George fighting a ser-
save them under the eyes pent.
of the German SS men.
"The great day for the in-
"It took two years before auguration of the monu-
the monument was ready. It ment arrived. The cere-
was a composition six mony had been planned in
meters high, with a bronze detail. The .president of the
figure on top _of a support. Wallenberg Committee, Dr..
On the support Patzay had Gynta Simon, should give a.
made a relief with Wallen- speech and hand over the
berg's face. Underneath monument to the mayor of
there was a poetic text in his Budapest, Jozsef Bognar.
"The ceremony was to
honor. It talked about Wal-
lenberg as a nobel, brave take place on a Sunday in
and humane man, who had April 1948 in the vast
become - a legendary hero in Scent Istvan park, which
a dark time. 'This monu- had been planned in•
ment' it said 'is our silent memory of the first king a shock. The monument
and eternal gratitude to of Hungary (St. Istvan) had disappeared. Only
him and should always.re- who died in 1034. The ar- part of the support was
mind us of the eternally tist, the whole Wallen- left.
lasting humanity in_an in- berg Committee, repre-
"Witnesses could report
human period.'
sentatives from the that the Russians had dur-
"On top of the support the Swedish legation and ing the night with ropes and
artist had created a high other invitees came to the horses removed the monu-
symbol in bronze of the suc- park for the ceremony. ment. Nobody knew
w e
cessful fight of Wallenberg What they saw gave them they had taken it."


Zionism Contest Called Success

The winner of this year's held in the Jerusalem
The first international quiz was 17-year-old Yoav Theater.
youth quiz for Zionism was Reisman of the Herzliya
Competing in the finals
held last week and its suc- High School in Ramat Gan. were 31 youngsters from 18
cess inspired World Zionist Runner-up was Hanna countries. Each had won in
Organization Executive Yerusolinski, also 17, of local contests to reach the
chairman Leon Dulzin to Uruguay, who studies at the last round in Jerusalem.
pledge that it will become "integrated" Jewish high Dulzin urged them to
an annual event, along the school in Montevideo. The realize Zionism themselves
lines of the world youth margin between them was by making aliya and per-
Bible quiz held on Indepen- one point: Yoav attained 87 suading their friends and
dente Day. of a possible 100; Hanna, 86. families to do likewise.
The Zionism quiz final
The subject of this first The idea was catalyzed by
will be held in the future on quiz was "One Century of the United Nations General
or about the 28th of Iyar — Aliya, and Land Settle
Assembly anti-Zionism vote
"Jerusalem Day."
merit." The finals were
of 1975.




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