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SANITATION IN PALESTINE 

The Committee appointed by the Zionist Organization to study the 
subject has submitted a series of comprehensive and detailed reports 
upon the present and future needs of the Public Health Service of Pales- 
tine, with special reference to the conditions to be anticipated in view 
of the prospective influx of immigrants of various social conditions and 
from various lands. 

The preface states that "the recommendations submitted lie in the 
line betwixt 'needful' and 'possible'. The authors know the Orient. 
They have gained their experience thereof in practical work." Upon 
this experience, fused with knowledge of scientific principles and meth- 
ods, and with special consideration of the new problems raised by the 
results of the war, such as the Jewish migrations and the actual condi- 
tions in Palestine, their reports are based. 

This is not the place for technical comment. It is quite possible that 
some of the suggestions made are open to modification from a theoret- 
ical viewpoint, and it is almost certain — more's the pity — that prac- 
tical obstacles will prevent many of them from being carried out. It 
may be said, however, that every one of the reports exhibits first hand 
acquaintance with the situation; wide knowledge of the fundamentals 
of modern sanitary practice; full sympathy with the peculiar needs of 
all strataof the population, present and anticipated; recognition of the 
magnitude and complexity of the problems involved; msistence upon 
certam stern necessities that, for the sake of the general welfare, may 
require the suppression of pity for individual unfortunates — yet even in 
this, a humane appreciation of the human elements involved, that is 
too often absent from the administration of immigration laws. With 
proper regard for authority and discipline there is conjoined a whole- 
some impatience with bureaucratic complexities and futilities. 

1 Aufgaben und Organisation des Sanitaetsdiensles in Palaestina. Gutachten dem 
Zionistischen Aktionskomitee erstattet von Theodor Zlocisti, Richard Michel. 
W. Brunn, a. Sandler, E. Auerbach, Regierungsbaumeister Alex. Baerwald. 
Berlin: Juedischer Verlag, 1920. pp. 268. 

106 



SANITATION IN PALESTINE — SOLIS COHEN 107 

We can most heartily commend the study as a whole, and in its par- 
ticulars, to the very serious consideration of the Palestinian government, 
and of all persons and associations concerned for the upbuilding of the 
Holy Land. It not only presents a clear view of present failings and 
future dangers — both those peculiar to the land and its peoples, and 
those common to human settlements everywhere — but its plans for the 
correction of existing evils, for the organization of a ministry of public 
health, and for the establishment and development of hospitals and 
allied institutions, are well thought out. It notes also the economic, 
agricultural, industrial, and educational factors of the health-problem. 

Dr. Zlocisti's report deals with Immigration-hygiene, and has an 
appendix, with plans for quarantine stations, by Sanitary Engineer 
Michel. Dr. Brunn considers measures for the control of infectious 
diseases, and the best form of organization for the Palestinian Public 
Health Service. Dr. Standler treats of Sanatoria and Health-resorts. 
Dr. Auerbach's study of general hospitals has an illustrated appendix 
by State Architect Baerwald upon the architectural problems of hos- 
pitals and health stations in the coast and interior cities, and in the vil- 
lages and colonies of Palestine. 

Arabian investigators and scholars kept alight the torch of medical 
science amid "the darkness of the Gothic mediaeval night": and from 
them Jews, as well as Christians, learned much. But the Arabs 
have not held their place as world-teachers. Through their centuries of 
neglect, Palestine has become a horror of insanitation. Modern medi- 
cine, however, is deeply in debt to Jewish research-workers and authors. 
Hygiene is peculiarly a field in which, since the day of Moses, if not ear- 
lier, "the children of Israel" have excelled. Great Britain, for example, 
owes much of its sanitary progress to two moderns of Jewish blood — 
Benjamin Disraeli, whose constant iteration and reiteration of " sanitas, 
sanitas, omnia sanitas," was neither a mere witticism nor empty lip 
service, but found concrete expression in laws and institutions; and 
Benjamin Ward Richardson, a genius in public health propaganda and 
organization. It would be worse than a tragedy, it would be an inef- 
faceable shame, if Palestine under a British mandate and Jewish aid in 
its administration, should not be restored to the domain of advanced 
sanitation through an adequate and progressive health service, clothed 
with ample authority and provided with abundant means. 



108 THE JEWISH QUARTERLY REVIEW 

All the reports before us lay stress upon the need for money — indeed 
they go into quite detailed calculations on the subject. The total sum 
required is, however, by no means unattainable, and if the Palestinian 
government cannot furnish it, the Jews of the world can and should. 
Moreover Jewry can and will, if given opportunity, provide men able to 
carry out the work, and zealous to accomplish it — witness this well- 
grounded, thorough, far-seeing and practical report of the Zionist 
Committee. 

„ Solomon Sous Cohen. 

Philadelphia