Chaim Azriel Weizmann


Chaim Azriel Weizmann : biography

27 November 1874 – 09 November 1952

Weizmann was reelected for the position of the chairman of international Zionists organization in 1935. Holding that position, he spoke at the Royal committee in Palestine in 1937. He tried to prove that the advancement of Nazism made the East European Jewry the urgent problem not only for Jewish people or Great Britain, but for the whole world. The committee took principal decision to refuse the Palestine mandate gradually with the exception of the corridor, joining Jerusalem with Mediterranean Sea on the south side of Jaffa. The rest of territory had to be divided into Jewish and Arabian countries. According to that decision the territory of the future Jewish government, including parts of Galilee, Israeli valley and the north of Mediterranean seacoast was to make up 6500 square kilometers. They also foreseen that there should be performed mutual transfer of Arabian (225 thousands) and Jewish (something about 1500) between Arabian and Jewish governments. Arabian leaders refused the decision of the committee, and as for the Jewish side, the 20th Zionists congress in Zurich voted that the offer was inappropriate, but they authorized the executive committee to start negotiations with British government in order to develop a more acceptable plan of division, which could be submitted for discussion at the following congress. Weizmann was one of the politicians, who agreed with the idea of the second division of the mandate territory (after trans-Jordan was separated in 1920s), together with some other Jewish leaders.

The following year, the British government, which was not pleased with the recommendations of the committee in Palestine, created a new committee of partition in Palestine. The latter, however, could come to a single decision in the question of borders. One of the plans, plan C, said that the territory of the Jewish government should be only 1250 square kilometers, but not less than 5% of the whole mandate territory, representing a thin line of territory along Mediterranean Sea. The other plan, called B, included Tel Aviv in the territory of Arabian government.

As the result, the British government released the white book of 1939, called MacDonald’s White Book. The book was strictly regulating migration of Jewish to Palestine for the following five years (not more than 75 thousands) and forbidding further migration of Jewish and selling land to Jewish if Arabian of Palestine would be against of migration. The fact of releasing the book meant absolute refusal of the British side of principles of Balfour’s declaration and matters of the mandate of the League of Nations. That also meant a deadly verdict for Jewry in Eastern Europe.

Since that moment ishuve started active fighting against british mandate and Weizmann’s pro-British position was losing its popularity in leaps and bounds. At 21st Zionists congress Weizmann said in his finishing speech:

– The Second World War and the catastrophe of European Jewry.

In the beginning of the Second World War Weizmann assured British government in total support of Jewish population of Palestine and peaceful Jewry at the whole. His letter to Chamberlain was published in “Times” on 6 September 1939.

Later, writers of political essays and historicist of revisionist sense, such as David Irving, used that letter, proving that Weizmann declared war on Germany in the name of all Jewish of the world even before German attack of Poland.

During the war, Weizmann took part in high-octane fuel and synthetic rubber research. Together with David Ben-Gurion he began to popularize the idea of future Jewish government in the USA, which very soon caused the USA government accepting of the Israel government. He also fought for reconstruction of Jewish subdivisions being part of the British Army. And, as the result, by the end of war, they created a Jewish subdivision, which took part in military actions in Italy. However, since 1940s there already started to form voluntary subdivisions consisting of Jewish in Palestine. They formed fifteen companies, which later made part of Palestine regiment, which was to fight in Africa. On the whole there was approximately 27 000 Jewish, who took part in war, serving in the British Army, during the years of the Second World War. Weizmann’s son, Michael, who fought as a volunteer in naval forces of Great Britain, died in February of 1942.