Rabbi YY Jacobson
Rabbi YY JacobsonIsrael National News

"Now we are slaves; next year in the Land of Israel. Now we are slaves; nest year we will be free."

It was in 1937 when the handwriting was already on the wall regarding the future of European Jewry that David Ben-Gurion, later to become the first Prime Minister of Israel, appeared before the Peel Commission to allow the Jews of Europe to immigrate to Palestine.

The Peel Commission was created during the British Mandate over Palestine. After a series of heinous Arab attacks against the Jews, the British attempted to extricate themselves from this nutcracker of Arab violence and Jewish pressure by establishing a commission to study the problem, appointing the British Lord Peel as its chairman.

Under the shadow of Hitler’s rise in Germany, England floated a trial balloon in the form of a partition plan. The proposed Jewish section would have consisted of tiny, barely visible slivers of land and could never become a viable national entity. But while the Jews were displeased by the Peel Commission Report, the Arabs were even more outraged and violence again spread throughout the country. Ben Gurion’s speech was given in the midst of the commission.

This is what he said:

"300 years ago, there came to the New World a boat, and its name was the Mayflower. The Mayflower’s landing on Plymouth Rock was one of the great historical events in the history of England and in the history of America. But I would like to ask any Englishman sitting here on the commission, what day did the Mayflower leave port? What date was it? I’d like to ask the Americans: do they know what date the Mayflower left port in England? How many people were on the boat? Who were their leaders? What kind of food did they eat on the boat?

"More than 3300 years ago, long before the Mayflower, our people left Egypt, and every Jew in the world, wherever he is, knows what day they left. And he knows what food they ate. And we still eat that food every anniversary of their Exodus.