Archive for November 2007

Today, 60 Years Ago

November 29, 2007

Vote 33 to 13 to Give Jews a Homeland, Associated Press, Des Moines Sunday Register, Nov. 30, 1947.

NEW YORK, N. Y. (AP)-The United Nations assembly late Saturday approved partition of Palestine into sovereign Arab and Jewish countries by next Oct. 1.

The vote was 33 to 13-a seven-vote margin over the necessary two-thirds majority.

The six Arab countries then walked out of the assembly chamber in protest, refusing to be bound by the historic U. N. decision giving the Jews the homeland they have sought for more than 2,000 years. 1947 Session Ends.

A short time later, the United Nations assembly finally adjourned its 1947 session at 6:59 p. m. The session began Sept. 16. The partition decision defied Arab threats to bathe the Holy Land in blood.

The partition plan, engineered by the United States and Russia, calls for Great. Britain to leave Palestine by Aug. 1, letting a five nation U. N. commission split the territory into Arab and Jewish states that will receive independence 60 days later.

In computing the two-thirds requirement, only the “yes” and “no” votes were counted. Ten countries abstained and Siam was absent.
Last-Minute Offer.

The assembly’s action ended weeks of stormy debate. It came after a last-minute Arab offer to compromise on a plan for a federalized government in the Holy Land, composed of Jewish and Arab states.

But the offer was too late. The assembly scarcely discussed the Arab move before voting.

The assembly then elected Bolivia, Czechoslovakia, Denmark, Panama and the Philippines to serve as a five-nation commission to rule Palestine between the time Britain withdraws and the date of independence.
Funds Voted.

The assembly also approved an appropriation of “not to exceed two million dollars” to finance the Palestine transition.

Each Arab delegation declared its country would not be bound by the decision. The six Arab delegations then arose and stalked out in a group.

Pakistan followed the six Arab countries-Egypt, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Yemen and Syria. Pakistan is the new Moslem country created out of the partitioning of India last Aug. 15. “Charter Destroyed.”

Before stalking out, Prince Faisal of Saudi Arabia, scion of King Ibn Saud and leader of the Arab group, declared that the assembly’s action had “destroyed the charter.”

Emil Adel Arslan of Syria told the assembly that the charter “was murdered.”

Dr. Abba Hillel Silver, chairman of the American section of the executive of the Jewish U. N.—

Agency for Palestine, haled the actor..

“The Jewish people will forever be grateful to the nations which contributed to the decision,” Dr. Silver said in a statement outside the chamber.

“We are especially appreciative of the leadership provided by the United States and the Soviet Union.”

The British abstained on all votes on Palestine. They repeatedly said they would not take a major role in enforcing any decision not acceptable to both Jews and Arabs; that their sole desire was to get out of Palestine as speedily as possible.
Franue Takes Stand.

There was a burst of applause when France, whose decision was in doubt to the very end, voted for the partition proposal.

The Philippines also switched to the “yes” column from a declaration earlier last week opposing partition. An informed source said this was done on instructions received from President Manuel Roxas himself.

Haiti, which also spoke against partition, voted for it on the final ballot. The roll call vote by countries:

For partition (33): Australia. Belgium. Bolivia Brazil. White Russia, Canada. Costa Rica, Czechoslovakia. Denmark. Dominican Republic. Ecuador. France. Guatemala. Haiti. Iceland. Liberia. Luxembourg. The Netherlands. New Zealand. Nicaragua. Norway. Panama. Paraguay. Peru, Philippines. Poland, Sweden, Soviet Ukraine, South Africa. Soviet Russia. United States. Uruguay. Venezuela.

Against partition (13): Afghanistan. Cuba, Egypt. Greece. India. Iran. Iraq. Lebanon. Pakistan. Saudi Arabia. Syria. Turkey and Yemen.

Abstaining (10): Argentina. Chile. China. Colombia. El Salvador. Ethiopia. Honduras. Mexico. Britain. Yugoslavia.

Absent (1): Siam. A World Problem For Many Years

Palestine has been a top-ranking world problem since World War 1 days.

Although the Jews had looked toward Palestine before World War 1, they did not become too active until the Balfour declaration in 1917 in which the British government came out for a Jewish national home in the Holy Land.

The Arabs protested. But in 1922 the League of Nations council approved a mandate placing Palestine under British administration and that mandate became effective in 1923. Disturbances Begin.

Palestine was relatively quiet from 1923 until 1936, when three years of Arab-inspired disturbances began.

The royal (Peel) commission recommends partition or Palestine for the first time in 1937. But the next year the Woodhead commission rejected such a division.

In 1939 the British government issued a “white paper” restricting Jewish immigration.

The Arab league, now made up of Egypt, Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Yemen, Transjordan and Saudi Arabia, was organized in 1943. One of its principal objectives was the establishment of Palestine as an independent country federalized nation with Jerusalem as the capital. Australia Neutral.

Australia, the eleventh nation, did not come out for either report.

Thus the assembly meeting in September had the spadework completed on this problem. Accordingly, it set up a special 57 nation Palestine committee and got down to business.

Britain made her position clear without delay. The British said they desired to terminate the mandate and withdraw completely from Palestine as quickly as possible. They said also they would not assume the major role in enforcing any U. N. decision on which the Arabs and Jews did not agree.

The U. S. came out for partition first and then Russia endorsed the U. S. position. This agreement between the two big powers which have fought bitterly over many U. N. issues surprised numerous delegates but encouraged them in their task.

On Nov. 25 the Palestine committee voted for partition. 25 to 13, with 17 nations abstaining and two absent.

The partition plan ran about 10,000 words, giving instructions for the creation of the countries and giving detailed lines for the jigsaw borders. Population Breakdown.

The Jewish agency estimated that under the plan the Jewish country would have a Jewish population of 533,000 and an Arab population, plus others, of 397,000, for a total of 935,000. To this the agency added 10,000 Jews living in Jerusalem which it said it assumed would choose citizenship in the Jewish nation and form an integral part of it as far as citizenship was concerned.

The agency also estimated that the Arab country would have 804,000 Arabs and others and 10,000 Jews for a total of 814,000. It noted that the Arab and other population of Jerusalem was 105,500.

The agency noted that the total area of Palestine is approximately 10,000 square miles, of which the proposed Jewish country would have 5,500 square miles and the Arab nation 4,500.

Which Zionists Do We Choose to Commemmorate?

November 29, 2007

From Ynet:

While you may expect it to be David Ben-Gurion or Binyamin Ze’ev (Theodor) Herzl, the most commemorated historical figure in Israel is in fact none other than Ze’ev Jabotinsky, founder and leader of the Irgun and Revisionist Zionism.

According to data collected by the Mapa geographical database, 57 sites (including streets, squares and parks) in the country are named after Jabotinsky. Herzl, the founder of Zionism, lags behind, with only 52 sites across Israel named after him.

Meanwhile, Israel’s first prime minister Ben-Gurion, the state’s first president Chaim Weizmann and national poet Haim Nahman Bialik have each given their names to 48 public sites.

The first Sephardi Jew on the list comes only at the fourth place: One of the greatest Jewish poets, Rabbi Shalom Shabazi of Yemen, who has 48 sites bearing his name.

The late prime minister Menachem Begin, who was known for his modesty and who specifically asked before his death not to be commemorated, has streets and parks named after him in no less than 43 communities.Among the 20 most commemorated figures in Israel, there is only one woman, and surprisingly, it is not former prime minister Golda Meir, but rather paratrooper Hannah Szenes, who gave her name to 38 Israeli sites.

Herzl’s Grandson

November 25, 2007

Theodor Herzl’s grandson was a cultural attache to the British embassy in Washington.  In 1945 he learned of his parent’s deaths in a Nazi concentration camp and committed suicide.  Israel has announced its intention to bury his remains in the Herzl family plot on Mount Herzl.

Ancient Synagogue Discovered in the Galilee

November 22, 2007

Hebrew University archaeologists have discovered a Roman-Byzantine synagogue in the Arbel National Park in the Galilee.  The synagogue floor is decorated by a unique mosaic portraying woodworkers holding their tools.

Read the Hebrew University press release.

What is the Connection between the Australian Elections and Zionism?

November 22, 2007

A Jewish candidate for a seat in the Australian parliament is in trouble because his campaign manager wrote an e-mail in 2006 opposing Zionism. She initially tried to defend her statement but is now retracting it. The politician, George Newhouse,  is running in Wentworth, which has the largest amount of Jewish voters of any electorate in the country.

A detailed version of this story can be read at The Australian while a more abridged version is reported by JTA.

Outrageous Claims by Turkish Commission

November 19, 2007

In March a Turkish commission came to Jerusalem to investigate the Israeli excavations near the Temple Mount. Their findings have just been published and are causing much outrage. The Turkish commission demands the immediate cessation of all Israeli archaeology in the area. In the process, it denies the Jewish historical claim to the Temple Mount and tries to rewrite history to claim that the “Haram al-Sharif” is only a Moslem holy place.

An example of the distortions in the report, as quoted by the Turkish newspaper, Today’s Zaman:

A special section in the report was dedicated to the Wailing Wall. It claimed that the importance of the area for the Jews is a fairly new phenomenon as it had no religious connotations in the period of King Herod (first century B.C.), when the courtyard was a market, and that it had no religious importance until the end of the Mameluke period (early 16th century). Explaining that the Ottoman Empire had been decisive in shaping the importance of the wall, the report said: “In the last years of the Mamelukes, the Jews probably started using the Western Wall for prayers since it was not safe outside the city due to the imminent danger of possible Bedouin raids. It is reported that when Mimar Sinan was in the city working on the Damascus Gate, Suleyman the Magnificent issued an order designating this part of the Western Wall as a place of prayer for Jews. Upon receiving this order, Mimar Sinan first raised the area by deepening the section in front of the wall, after which he built another wall to separate the Mughrabi neighborhood and the Wailing Wall, defining the place of prayer by turning it into a venue between the two walls.”

The Israeli Foreign Ministry responds in an article at Ynet. An opinion piece on this issue can be found at the Independent Media Review Analysis (IMRA).

Roman Road Discovered

November 18, 2007

Remnants of a Roman road leading towards the Temple Mount have been discovered in the Western Wall tunnels. According to the Jerusalem Post:

The recent archeological finding in the Western Wall tunnels is the latest indication that the Romans continued to preserve the importance of the Temple Mount and its surroundings as one of the main urban focal points of activity of the city even after their destruction of the Second Temple in 70 CE.