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February 03, 1984 - Image 2

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1984-02-03

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2 Friday, February 3, 1


Purely Commentary

Veil Removed from Historic
Records, Unfolding Drama
Marking Balfour Declaration

Secrecy about major historic experiences is never per-
petuated. In this country, diplomatic data is usually re-
leased after 25 years. In Great Britain, the veils are re-
moved after half a century. This has enabled many resear-
chers to delve deeply into the history of British interests in
the Middle East as they affected the rebirth of Jewish
Facts about the Balfour Declaration and the con-
troversies that engulfed the framing of the historic docu-
ment are now available. Perhaps the most impressive work
dealing with it is provided in the immensely-researched
historical data incorporated in "The High Walls of
Jerusalem — A History of the Balfour Declaration and the
Birth of the British Mandate Over Palestine," just issued
by Holt, Rinehart and Winston.
Ronald Sanders, a
former editor of Midstream
magazine, produced what
emerges as a labor of love, a
dedication to thorough re-
search. The result is history
in the highest sense of the
There is the tracing
here of the traditional
British spiritual factor, the
love for Bible and Prophecy,
an aim to fulfill the prophe-
tic. That is why and how the
British factor emphasizes
the aspiration for and the
attainment of the Mandate
for Palestine.
The many involve-
ments in the planning for
the Balfour Declaration, the
scores of personalities in-
volved, lend to the Sanders
volume an encyclopedic distinction.
The Christian interest in the Jewish aspirations for a
redeemed homeland commences in "The High Walls of
Jerusalem" with the Lord Palmerston story that was
among the factors introducing British concerns in that part
of the world. Sanders quotes this statement by Palmerston,
made in 1940:
There exists at present among the Jews dis-
persed over Europe a strong notion that the time
is approaching when their nation is to return to
Palestine. Consequently, their wish to go thither
has become more keen, and their thoughts have
been bent more intensely than before upon the
means of realizing that wish.
Thereupon, Lord Palmerston urged British Am-
bassador to Constantinople Lord Ponsondy "to bring these
considerations confidentially under the notice of the Tur-
kish government, and strongly recommended them to hold
out every just encouragement to the Jews of Europe to
return to Palestine."
In the enriching story of scores of similar Christian
concerns, emphasizing endorsements, of the Zionist ideal,
Sanders credits the influence of two novels, Benjamin Dis-
raeli's "Tancred" and George Eliot's "Daniel Deronda."
In the U.S., the Zionist history has a long register of
Christian supporters. They commenced with the
Blackstone Memorial, which became an American docu-
ment, widely endorsed. It was proposed in support of the
Jewish return to Zion on March 5, 1891, by the Rev.
William Eugene Blackstone. The important proclamation
is described in another impressive work on Zionist history,
"Israel in the Mind of America" by Peter Grose (Knopf).
In the lengthy study of the entire subject, Sanders
provides a veritable Who's Who in world Jewry, in the
eminence of the personalities who figured in the story of the
Balfour Declaration. Chaim Weizmann, of course, pre-
dominates, and his friendship with Arthur James Balfour
is recorded. But the impression given that his discovery of
the use of acetone in war weaponry led to the Balfour
Declaration is denied, with greater emphasis given to the
traditional concern for the biblical and prophetic.
The list of Jewish members of the cast of characters
relating to the subject is endless. Nahum Sokolow, Louis D.
Brandeis, the Rothschilds, Jabotinsky and many others
figure in the story of Zionist aspirations and in relation to
the historic declaration.
The non-Jews who played their roles similarly provide
an immense record in pre-Israel activities and the Balfour
pledge. In addition to Balfour himself there was David
Lloyd George, such great friends of Jewry as Leopold Am-
ery, Colonel John Henry Paterson of the Zion Mule Corps,
President Woodrow Wilson and many others.
To nearly every name in the very few culled from this
b )ok could be appended an historic British and Jewish
chapter in a history that is rich in accomplishment as well
as intrigue.

Archives Opening Up to Provide Historic Record
About the Balfour Declaration, Personalities
in Great Drama and Christian Interest in Zionism

By Philip

These are very brief recommendations for a notewor-
thy book to which much reference is to be made on several
other occasions.
Sanders pays due attention to the anti-Zionist ele-
ments, especially the Jewish. It was part of the battle over
terminology in the Balfour Declaration and the many as-
pects involving the ensuing Arab issues. In every respect,
Sanders' "The High Walls of Jerusalem" is one of the most
enlightening works on a subject of endless discussion and

The Rothschild Aspect

The history of the Balfour Declaration assumes com-
pleteness with the record of the involvement by the
Rothschild family. That fascinating addendum is provided
in "Dear Lord Rothschild" (Balaban Books, distributed in
this country by MI Press).
"Dear Lord Rothschild" is much more than an
addendum to the history of the Balfour Declaration. It
combines biography with history. It is a record of
Rothschildian accomplishments. It is commentary on
British politics. It is the story of conflicting leaderships.
Furthermore: it has the value of relating not only to
the hero of this historical record, Lionel Walter Rothschild,
but also to the author herself who attains importance as a
biologist and an eminent personality stemming from the
Miriam Rothschild, the cousin who has compiled the
fascinating story of Lord Walter, provides extensive data
about Walter the naturalist, the eccentric who gathered
innumerable specimens for the famous Tring Museum
which eventually became a property of the British
Museum, retaining immense historic value and interna-
tional interest.
No one on record has ever collected so many specimens
for the museum. Some 400 curators assisted in this task
and Walter attained dominating recognition for his leader-
ship in these undertakings.
It is in relation to these achievements that "Dear Lord
Rothschild," while inspired by Walter's determined efforts
in support of Zionism, emphasizes specifically the fact that
the Rothschilds were more than financiers, that the famous
family included many scientists, that the genius of the
family produced some 1,500 scientific publications.
There were bizarre relationships between Walter and
his parents: friendly with his mother Emma, conflicting
with his father Natty and his brother Charles.
It should be noted that Charles, the father of the author
of this splendidly - researched biography, gained the title of
father of nature conservation. His daughter Miriam is the
mother of five children and has a science degree from Ox-
ford University. She has authored about 250 papers on
fleas, butterflies, plants, birds, snails and wild flowers.
Thus, her interest in Uncle Walter comes naturally in her
role as botanist.
Walter Rothschild, with all his eccentricities and fam-
ily controversies, became an accomplished leader in the
movement to counteract the Jewish anti-Zionists. His de-
termined efforts succeeded in securing the issuance of the
Balfour Declaration.


Insofar as the Rothschild - Balfour friendship was con-
cerned, the assumption is that it was to Natty, not to Wal-
ter, that the Balfour Declaration was truly addressed in
spirit. Nevertheless, Walter Rothschild's adamance, his
rejection of the non-Zionist influence, his battle for the
cause at sessions of the Board of Jewish Deputies, was
attributable to the Zionist success.
Reference to this triumph by Walter at the Board of
Deputies has already been indicated in this column on Jan:
6. It is a chapter that will always relate to the history of the
Balfour Declaration.
In that connection, the Rothschildian political record,
memberships in the House of Commons and House of Lords
and associations with the British leaders have an interest-
ing aspect for readers of "Dear Lord Rothschild."
Comments on the rise of the Rothschilds to the peerage
is an important reminder of the defeat of restrictions on
Parliament membership, commencing with Lionel
Rothschild's admission to the House of Commons, with the
Rothschilds eventually serving in the House of Lords. The
following from Miriam Rothschild's "Dear Lord
Rothschild" is interesting:
When Queen Victoria turned down
Gladstone's request of a peerage for Lionel
Rothschild she was genuinely horrified at the
thought of a Jew peer, but 20 years later not only
had Natty taken his seat in the House of Lords but
he and Emma were staying at Windsor Castle. The
Queen ordered a special ham-less pie for their
dinner. Emma was touched; she thought this was
both considerate and gracious, since it showed
that the Queen was anxious to demonstrate pub-
licly her respect for the restrictions imposed by
their Jewish religion. She could so much more
easily have struck ham off the menu altogether!
There is an immensity of value to the photographic
portion of the Rothschild book. It contains 12 color photos
and 147 in black and white. That's an element of additional
value, historically documenting the Rothschilds, in many
respects with great Jewish interest.

Fanatics Block Tiberias Hotel Construction


The Jewish News Special
Israel Correspondent

TEL AVIV — A few
weeks ago, the manage-
ment of Hame Tiberias
started to enlarge its hotel,
Gane Hamot. Partners in
the venture include Bank
Leumi in Tiberias and
foreign investors from
South Africa and Germany.
When work started, reli-
gious fanatics from Tiberias
and other cities protested.
Several were arrested, but
they continued to interfere
with construction, arguing
that there was an old
cemetery there. The demon-
strators appealed to reli-
gious people to boycott
Bank Leumi. The managers
of the hotel received warn-
ings and threats in letters
and by telephone. The police
had to guard them.
The management of
Hame Tiberias signed an
agreement with a German
bank, to invest more than
$6 million in Israeli
The demonstrations

led to a stoppage of con-
struction, even though
the Sephardi Chief Rabbi
of Israel, Mordecai
Eliahu, told the manager
of Hame Tiberias,
Shlomo Groupman, that
the hotel could be en-
larged. But Rabbi Eliahu
advised that construc-
tion be stopped because
of the demonstrations.
The fanatic demon-
strators appealed to the
head of the Ponivesh
Yeshiva, Rabbi Eliezer
Shach, to support the
boycott of Bank Leumi, but
he and Rabbi Jacob
Kaniewski of Bnei Brak re-
The plan for enlarging
the hotel calls for 1,400
rooms and several health
and sports facilities.
Groupman says that inter-
fering with the construction
will damage the prospect of
Tiberias becoming an in-
ternational health and
tourist center.

Tiberias, which was
founded more than 2,000

years ago by Herodes Anti-
pater and bears the name of
the Roman Emperor
Tiberius, was already at
that time considered by
Jewish sages as a place built
on Jewish graves. Later on
the Rashba (Rabbi Shimon
bar Johai) declared the city
"clean" and allowed settle-
ment there.
In the attempts to settle
Jews in Tiberias, the idea
was spread that Tiberias
was the center of Eretz
Israel, and from this city
the Redemption would
start. This is the reason
why Tiberias was ac-
knowledged as a holy city
and was accepted as one
of the four holy cities in
Eretz Israel (Jerusalem,
Hebron, Tiberias and
Tiberias was also an im-
portant spiritual center in
the period of the Mishna
and the Talmud. To this city
the Sanhedrin moved from
Zipori. Here the Mishna and
the Jerusalem Talmud were

In this period the city de-
veloped in the southern di-
rection, until it united with
Hamat. Several sages
from the Talmud period set-
tled in Harriat. This might
be the reason why the Ram-
bam wished to be buried in
Tiberias and why Jews
come at all times to pray at
his grave and the graves of
great zadikim.
In Hamat many years
ago, historical remnants of
the ancient King's City
were found by archeologists
in the vicinity of the Hame
Tiberias Health Resort. But
the religious fanatics argue
that there were ancient
graves at the construction
site itself.

Every religious senti-
ment, every act of devotion
which does not produce a
corresponding elevation of
life, is worse than useless; it
is absolutely pernicious, be-
cause it ministers to self-
deception, and tends to
lower the tone of personal

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