Wednesday, May 13, 2020

  • Wednesday, May 13, 2020
  • Elder of Ziyon

 

census

The 1931 British Census of Palestine includes an interesting observation:

 

In addition, however, to the development of this complex of religious communities, a political development has taken place, and the Jewish Community existing as legal entity, and created historically under a principle of religious freedom, has now a specifically political character. The following quotation descriptive of the community is extracted from Command Paper No. 1 700 of the 1st of July, 1922 :-

. . . The Jewish community in Palestine has its own political organs :  an elected assembly for the direction of its domestic concerns  elected councils in the towns : and an organization for the control of  its schools. It has its elected Chief Rabbinate and Rabbinical Coun­cil for the direction of its religious affairs. The business is conducted in Hebrew as a vernacular language, and a Hebrew Press serves its " needs . It has its distinctive intellectual life and displays consider­ " able economic activity. This community, then, with its town and " country population, its political, religious and social organizations, " its own language, its own customs, its own life, has, in fact,' national ' " characteristics."

In fact, the Jewish Community is a " nationality ". The consciousness of the existence of this "nationality " has led the non-Jewish religious communities to a vague conception of an Arab "nationality ". This Arab " nationality " has no legal existence since there is no Arab community in any formal sense. Its basis is perhaps best described as an awareness, on the part of members of some of the non-Jewish religious communities, of the possibility of common factors in the aims of the several communities. This awareness found its expression in a request during the preparations for the census from the Arab Census Committee that persons enumerated at the census should be given the opportunity of declaring an Arab " nationality ".

While this is speaking about “nationality” from a legal perspective, realizing that the Jews of Palestine had even in 1922 already become a cohesive community that acts and self-governs like a nation, it is striking that it notes that there is no similar Arab consciousness of nationality.

Of course, the word “Palestinian” is not mentioned. They were taking about a general Arab nationality, not specifically Palestinian Arab national feelings, which of course virtually did not exist at the time.



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Elder of Ziyon - حـكـيـم صـهـيـون



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