STATEMENT TO THE U.N. SPECIAL COMMITTEE ON PALESTINE by Chief Rabbi Yosef Tzvi Dushinsky

July 16, 1947

Taken from the United Nations Trusteeship Library

1

The ancient right of the People of Israel to the land of Israel.

In approaching what is commonly called the Palestine problem and in trying to find a just and suitable solution it is imperative that the history of the Holy Land and its correlation with the Jewish people be viewed in their proper perspective. Indeed from the day onwards on which the L-rd said to Abraham: "Arise, walk through the Land, in the length of it and in the breadth, for I will give it unto thee "(Genesis, 13, 17), this country was predestined to be the land of domicile for the People of Israel. However, this predestination, this divine promise, has its basis but in religion, for only loyalty to HIS laws and teachings and fundamental application of that Law in Israel's public and private life will entitle them to the name "People of Israel" and only then can the term "Land of Israel" apply to this land as it is aid: "And ye shall be unto me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation" (Exodus 19, 6) and further: "For thou art a holy people under the L-rd, thy G-d." (Deuteronomy 7, 6). The interrelation between the land of Israel and the people of Israel rise and falls with the degree and intensity with which they fulfill the Holy Law. Past experience proves that Israel fell easy prey to their enemies whenever they deviated from the path prescribed in the Holy Bible, a fact to which the chapters of the Bible bear eloquent evidence.

2

Unbroken settlement by Jews throughout the ages.

Hence, even after the dispersion, when Israel were scattered to the four corners of the world to atone for their sins and prepare themselves for the great task of being a holy nation and of being fit once again to live in the land of their promise, Jews loyal to the tradition of their forefathers have not severed the connection with the land even for short intervals. Though unable to fulfill all the commandments while residing abroad, particularly those relating to the soil of this land, they have constantly directed and arranged their prayers with their faces towards the Holy Land in accordance with I King 8, 48: "And pray unto thee towards their land."

Some Jews endeavoured to visit the Holy Land at least once in their lives and at later periods, when transport and traffic connections became easier, these loyal Jews began to return to the Holy Land to live permanently therein in holiness and purity and literally applied the verse (Psalms 102, 14): "For thy servants take pleasure in her stones and favour the dust thereof."

The relation between the people of Israel and the land of Israel being an ancient and permanent religious tie, Providence has seen to it that throughout the long history of this land, Jews were never to abandon it entirely. . . .

3

Good neighbourly relations with other sections of the population.

During no period of the immigration of such orthodox European Jews was any opposition offered by the Arab population. On the contrary, these Jews were welcomed on account of economic benefits and general progress that accrued to the local inhabitants who had no fear whatsoever of being subjugated. It was common knowledge that these Jews came but for the purpose of fulfilling certain religious requirements and they had no difficulty in establishing a mutual trust, and real friendship developed with all sections of the community. That was the time when good neighborly relations existed between Jews and Arabs and in particular Rabbis and eminent scholars who then lead the Jewish Community were greatly esteemed and honoured by all inhabitants.

4

Palestine under the Mandate.

With the occupation of Palestine by His Britannic Majesty's Forces and after the confirmation of the Mandate over Palestine by the League of Nations, which incorporated the Balfour Declaration of 1917 a new era opened in the history of the Holy Land. We Orthodox Jews whose forefathers promoted the development of the Jewish Yishuv throughout the generations, who for many centuries constituted the most important element of the Yishuv in the Holy Land, were always on the very best of terms with all sections of the Community. We had hoped that the real purpose of the Mandate would be the promotion of a "Home" to which Jews who lived in the Diaspora might be able to return as their Home Land in order to live here in accordance with the Commandments of the Almighty. It was upon the first appearance of the Zionist organization as a political entity, created in and by the spirit of reform, a spirit to which Orthodox Jewry is so utterly opposed that the idea of the foundation of a Jewish state in the Holy Land was first advanced.

Much trouble and endless bloodshed might have been avoided if the Mandate were to have been applied in the manner hoped for by Orthodox Jewry.

In addition the various Jewish Communities in the country had been organized along traditional lines of truly Jewish Law, by actively applying the Laws of Moses to the public affairs of the Holy Land, we are convinced that the country would have remained at peace and the dangers inherent in prevailing conditions might never have arisen. Moreover, the colossal massacre of millions of our brethren at the hands of Nazism during the second World War might have been averted to a very substantial degree for many of them might have been able to live peacefully in the Holy Land as there would have been not the slightest justification for the limitations of Jewish immigration as have in fact been enforced during the last decade.

However, it is a regrettable fact that a serious blunder was committed at the time by recognising first the leaders of Zionism and then the Jewish Agency as official representation of the Jewish population and by handing the keys of immigration to that body which consists of zionists and non-zionists who are united in the opposition to the application of religion to public life and they have succeeded in bringing to this country free-thinking people like themselves who blocked the way of immigration to myriads of Orthodox Jews. Only after prolonged and forceful representations supported by the Government of Palestine did they agree to issue small numbers of certificates for immigration also to Orthodox Jews. They have thus succeeded in strengthening their position by bringing in elements of the population who were faithful to their aims and ideals and have founded Jewish Communities throughout the country whose very spirit is contrary to the requirements of Jewish Law and have thereby furthered their hold in the country, by insisting on the creation of a Jewish state therein. This aroused the fear of our Arab neighbors in connection with further Jewish immigration and thus started the determined opposition on the part of the Arabs against Jewish immigration.

5

Palestine as a State.

From the time of King Solomon to our very days the Holy Land was either united with Trans-Jordan or attached to Syria or Turkey. Western Palestine was never a single and independent entity and certainly a part of that cannot possibly constitute an independent state, as envisaged in the various plans that are discussed from time to time.

However, the basic reason for our opposition to an Independent Jewish state as that in prevailing circumstances the officially recognised representation of the Jewish people does not consider the authority of the Holy Law as binding in the public affairs of the Jewish people. . . .

. . . .and it is contrary to the wishes of G-d to create a Jewish State. . .

6

Summary of Part I

Orthodox Jewry has not the slightest intention of subjugating any section of the population of the Holy Land. We merely demand that the gates of Palestine be opened to all those Jews who have no home and enable them to live here Jewish lives in accordance with the commandments of the L-rd. However in order to avoid the continuation of the untenable position as set out in the last paragraph of section 4 we suggest that the keys of Jewish immigration be placed into the hands of the Government of this country.

We furthermore wish to express our definite opposition to a Jewish state in any part of Palestine.