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Not within the range of modern history
has there been such a stirring among the Jewish people as there is today. The capture of Jerusalem from the Turk and the pledge of the British Government for the re-establishment of the Jewish State in Palestine have awakened a tremend ous enthusiasm among the thirteen mil lion Jews scattered all over the world and roused them to a new sense of unity. Already plans are being laid to raise a great fund throughout the world of a hundred million dollars to start the new state on a firm foundation. A prelimin ary fund of one million dollars is being gathered in the United States for im mediate needs of restoration in Palestine and substantial progress has already been made by the Provisional Zionist Committee and local committees have been formed in over 400 cities to prose cute the work in co-operation with the Palestine Restoration Fund Committee created by the conference held in Balti more on December 16th. The hope of Jewish repatriation found its modern expression through the genius of Theodore Herzl, who was born in Austria but spent most of his life in Paris. "Herzl," says Albert M. Hyamson in "Palestine," "was apparently, both by birth and education, almost as far re moved from Judaism and Jewish ideals as it is possible to be without formally abandoning all connection with Jewry It was through Herzl's labors that the first great Jewish Congress was assem bled at Basle, Switzerland, 1897, attend ed by representative Jews from virtually every country in Europe and from the United States. "Zionism," began the pro gram adopted at the Congress, "strives to create for the Jewish people a home in Palestine secured by public law." The Basle program has remained the platform of Zionism to the present day. The Congress at Basle gave great impetus to the movement for the re-crea tion of a center of Judaism in Palestine. Within a few months Zionist societies were organized all over Europe. However, the Jewish state in Palestine seemed a dream. Ardent Zionists work ed heartily for the idea, but the political obstacles were so great that many be lieved it was impossible of accomplish ment. The recent British capture of Jerusalem transformed the dream to real ity, and the new Judea loomed in plain view. Meanwhile as far back as the early eighties Jewish agricultural colonies be gan to be formed in Palestine, with the permission of the Turkish Government. PLANNING THE NEW JUDEA Jews Throughout the World Organize for Jewish State in Palestine. Apart from the accident of ancestry, a matter in which he was mere ly a passive force, until 1896, Herzl was in no sense a Jew." Then, at the age of 36, something changed him. It is believed that the wave of anti-Semitism that had been sweeping through Austria, and the similar fury that shook France in connection with the Dreyfus case, operated as powerful influences. Quite suddenly Zionism be came the passion of his life and through the rest of his years he fought for the realization of its aims, until his death in 1904. 364 THE AMERICAN JEWISH WORLD February t, 1918. The start of the pogroms or massacres in Russia caused a trend of Jewish im migration from the land of the Czar to Palestine. Thousands of Jews found their way to the old homeland and settled on the land. The colonists made good farm ers. They proved greatly superior to the Arabs and got much better results. When the World War began there were forty-eight Jewish colonies flourishing in Palestine. The war put a temporary blight on their progress. In recent newspaper articles published in various parts of the country, Palestine has been described as "a land flowing with milk and honey," and also as an arid desert. The truth is that Palestine is neither. For generations Palestine has been largely a land laid waste, a land whose fertility has been neglected. In one direction the sand has been allow ed to encroach on it unchecked, in an other the water. The key to productiveness in Palestine is irrigation. There is plenty of rain, the annual rainfall at Jerusalem equaling that of London, but the rainfall lasts only half the year and the excess must be stored for distribution during the dry season. In ancient times a system of aqueducts and cisterns were used. They still stand to this day and in some cases the Jewish colonists have repaired them and are utilizing the same storage facil ities their forefathers had two thousand years ago. Lakes like Merom and the Sea of Galilee are natural reservoirs which can be made the center of great irrigation systems. Almost anywhere in the plains potable water is found by dig ging at from ten to eighty feet. The Jewish agricultural colonies have done much toward re-establishing the reputation of Palestine as a productive land. At their formation only the poorer lands were available for them, lands that were virtually either swamps or deserts. They drained the swamps. They watered the desert lands. They planted over a million trees. They introduced modern agricultural machinery and methods. They established, with the aid of the United States Department of Agriculture, an agricultural experiment station which has perfected a species of dry wheat of interest to agricultural scientists the world over. The climate of Palestine ranges from that of the tropics to that of our middle western states. In the great fissure of the Jordan Valley, below the sea-level, there is a luxuriant tropical vegetation, and to the north of the Mount of Moab lie the Mountains of Gilead with their northern forests of oak and pine, and the wheat lands of t'he Hauran, once one of the granaries of the world. Already the wines of Palestine have become famous. In the heart of the vine region, in the Jewish colony of Richon le-Zion, Baron Edmund de Rothschild has built the largest wine storage cellars in the world. Palestine oranges are ex ported to every country of Europe. Olives, grain, and fruits and vegetables of all kinds are being grown with success by the colonists. The establishment of a Jewish state will naturally give a great impetus to I agricultural development for it will re sult immediately in a considerable Jew ish immigration to Palestine. Zionist leaders estimate that upwards of half a million Jews will return to the old home land during the next decade. The repatri ates will go back with Ford tractors and modern American farm machinery, with the most advanced agricultural methods, with the American telephone and elec tric power and hydraulic machinery, and finally, American methods of sanitation, sewage disposal, etc. The American made trolley car will whizz through the amazed streets of Jerusalem. The for mation of the new state also will bring about a great revival of Hebrew culture. The establishment of a great Hebrew University in Jerusalem was under way when the war broke out. The Jewish immigration of the past thirty-five years brought modern educa tional methods to Palestine. Everyone of the forty-eight Jewish colonies has its schools, with Hebrew as the basic lang uage. The higher schools established by the Jews in the towns have become models through the Near East and the best Turkish and Arab families send their children to them. The Bezalel School of Arts and Crafts in Jerusalem has attract ed wide attention among educational circles in Europe, and the technical in stitute recently Established at Haifa will without doubt become a great factor in Educational progress, after the war. The diploma of the gymnasium at Jaffa is accepted for admission to Columbia and other American and European univer sities. Already the new education has made Hebrew the language of common life in the Jewish colonies and in several of the cities. Any business man in Jer usalem today who could not speak Heb rew would labor under a great handicap. Jewish leaders in America feel that in agricultural and in education an excellent foundation has been laid for the Jewish state. As soon as the first million dol lars of the Restoration Fund has been raised, a commission will be sent to Palestine to determine the needs for establishing the new state on a solid foundation. A medical unit will also be rushed to Palestine, where disease has become endemic owing to the lack of physicians and privations due to the war. Altogether American and English Jews are preparing in a systematic and gen erous way to do their share toward re establishment in Palestine. 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