But far from changing his mind, Weizmann convinced Balfour that Israel (then called “Palestine”) was the only spiritual and national home of the Jewish people: “If I offer you to go to Paris, you will not go there, because he told Balfour that London is your home. Jerusalem has been our home since the days when London was only a swamp.
Weizmann was so enthusiastic and contagious that from that moment Lord Balfour had become a great ally of the Zionist movement and had supported throughout his life the return of the Jews to Zion (Jerusalem).
War and acetone
In 1914, England declared war on the German Empire and its allies, which led to the outbreak of World War I. England faced a very serious technical problem: it did not have acetone, a basic solvent to be able to activate artillery fire and dynamite.
For many years, England imported acetone from Germany, something that was not possible now. Winston Churchill came to Weizmann urgently and asked him to work on a formula for mass production of acetone.
Until then, acetone was made from wood, it took hundreds of tons of wood, and the distillation process was very difficult.
Weizmann, who was known in the scientific community as the “father of industrial fermentation,” began work on his mission and meticulously developed the formula for obtaining the precious solvent from corn and potatoes, substances that were much easier to obtain.
If Jim Weizmann had not discovered the acetone production formula, England would not have won the First World War. This was well known to Lloyd George, who was Minister of Defense during the First War and later Prime Minister of Great Britain.
What can England do for you?
Towards the end of the war, when England had already expelled the Ottomans from the Middle East, Lloyd George greatly thanked Jim Weizmann for his services and asked him: “What can England do for you?” Jim Weisman replied, “I don’t want anything for myself, but my people need their own land.”
This is how Lloyd George and Arthur Balfour elaborated in 1917 the document known as the Balfour Declaration, whereby England cedes the Jews as the “first national home”, neither in Uganda nor in Entre Rios, but in the Land of Israel.
This was the beginning of what ultimately culminated in the miracle of the birth of the City of Israel in 1948, in which Jim Weizmann, as we shall see in a future letter, played a decisive role.
There is a lot to be said about what Jim Weizmann has done over the next few years. But I will tell you a story that refers more to the day of Hatzmut and the independence of the City of Israel.
The American vote
On November 29, 1947, the United Nations voted to partition Palestine and create two states, one Arab and the other Jewish. But the neighboring Arab countries warned that they would not accept a Jewish state and declare war on it. And they did everything in their power to prevent the nations from accepting a Jewish state.
The British will remain neutral. And the United States government, which voted in favor of partition, began to have doubts and planned to demand that any solution be postponed. This means that if the Jewish state declares its independence, the United States, its most important ally, will oppose or abstain at best, and thus the creation of a Jewish state can be suspended.
In the United States, everything was in the hands of President Harry Truman. In the early months of 1948, Truman refused to meet with any of the American Zionist leaders because he wanted to preserve the neutrality of the United States, thus yielding to enormous pressure from the oil-rich Arab states.
May 15 was approaching, the date when the British had to leave the lands of Israel, and Truman’s support for a future declaration of independence was absolutely essential. Weizmann traveled to the United States for this purpose, but Truman refused to take him.
Millionaire asking for coins
On March 12, 1948, Dewey de Stone of Brockton spent his day in New York City with his friend Jim Weisman, who expressed concern about Truman’s refusal to meet him. Stone was a passionate American Jew and became president of the United Jewish Appeal and Jewish Agency.
That night, he came back to Boston and met Frank Goldman, Bennay Braith’s boss, and told him there was no way Truman would agree to meet Weizmann. Goldman said he visited “by chance” Eddie Jacobson in Kansas, who received an award from B’nai B’rith and that Jacobson told him he was a personal friend of Truman, and that he was his partner in some business. .
Goldman offered to contact Jacobson at the time and there and urgently called him to see Truman. But they ran into a problem: They didn’t have enough coins to make a long distance call. Millionaires, Stone and Goldman, passed table after table demanding nickels until they got what it took to call Jacobson.
Jacobson said convincing the president would be impossible. Stone invited Jacobson to New York and took him there to see Jim Weizmann. Like Balfour and many others before him, Jacobson was utterly fascinated by Weisman and his emotional arguments, and at the end of the meeting Stone told him, “All you have to ask Truman is that he agrees to meet Weizmann. Weizmann will take care of the rest.”
When Jacobson arrived at the White House, “without warning,” President Truman was very happy to see him, but warned him that he would not agree to talk about Palestine or partition. Jacobson nodded and said to Truman, pointing to a bust of Andrew Jackson: “I’m not going to talk about Palestine.
I just want to ask you to welcome Jim Weizmann, the same-minded national leader as Jackson “whom Truman respected. Truman laughed because he fell into his friend’s trap and had no choice but to surrender.”
Truman and Weizmann finally met in Washington and by the end of the meeting Truman was so convinced that he promised Weizmann that when the British mandate expires on May 14, 1948, the United States will immediately recognize the State of Israel.
Sever Tora at the White House
And Baruch Hashem was like this. When the British withdrew and Ben Gurion declared the creation of Israel, Truman, in fulfillment of his promise to Jim Weizmann, immediately extended his recognition of Israel on behalf of the United States.
Jim Weizmann was appointed President of the State of Israel, a position he held until his death in November 1952.
One of the first things Weizmann did after being elected president was to visit his new friend. Harry Truman, Who presented him with the gift of the Torah of Sefer (see photo) in appreciation of his friendship with the people of Israel.
The opinions, beliefs and views expressed by the author in the opinion articles and comments contained therein do not necessarily reflect the position of Enlace Judío or its editorial line.
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