How the Yishuv, with Help from Louis Brandeis, Solved Its Malaria Problem

At the time of the 1917 Balfour Declaration, malaria was such a severe problem in the swampy areas of the land of Israel that the disease came close to crippling Britain’s military efforts against the Ottomans. In the early years of British rule, it was generally assumed that only massive drainage projects, far too expensive for Jewish settlements to undertake, could eliminate or even reduce the prevalence of malaria. But Louis Brandeis—who had been infected with the disease in his childhood—believed that the problem required a solution and, after his 1919 visit to Palestine, tasked the Zionist public-health expert Israel Kligler with fixing it. Anton Alexander writes:

In December 1920, Kligler went to Palestine to direct the laboratories of Hadassah Hospital and also with a view of coming to grips with the malaria situation. After arriving and quickly studying the situation, he agreed with Brandeis that if malaria could not be eliminated in Palestine, a Jewish homeland there was in all probability impossible. . . .

Kligler’s plan for malaria elimination [was] to focus principally on the destruction of the breeding sites of the mosquito that carried the disease. His proposed method included engaging with the whole rural Palestine population to . . . secure the cooperation of both Arab and Jewish local communities who would also maintain the anti-malaria [efforts] which he intended to carry out, and thereby ensure the mosquito did not return to their districts.

Kligler’s [innovation] was to think not of malaria control [as something to be effected by] thousands of employed personnel, but to seek instead malaria elimination through involvement of the population by culturally sensitive education. Without Brandeis’s personal financial contribution toward his experimental demonstrations, Kligler could never have demonstrated the success of his approach. And subsequently, as a result of the successful demonstrations, future funding was secured to begin malaria-elimination coverage of the whole country. . . .

Palestine [thus] in 1922 became the first place anywhere to implement a successful national malaria campaign. The first breach of the [regnant] barrier posed by fatalism with regard to malaria elimination began 100 years ago in Palestine. [In Theodor Herzl’s words], “If you will it, it is no dream.”

Read more at Malaria World Journal

More about: Israel & Zionism, Israeli history, Louis Brandeis, Mandate Palestine, Medicine

Planning for the Day after the War in the Gaza Strip

At the center of much political debate in Israel during the past week, as well as, reportedly, of disagreement between Jerusalem and Washington, is the problem of how Gaza should be governed if not by Hamas. Thus far, the IDF has only held on to small parts of the Strip from which it has cleared out the terrorists. Michael Oren lays out the parameters of this debate over what he has previous called Israel’s unsolvable problem, and sets forth ten principles that any plan should adhere to. Herewith, the first five:

  1. Israel retains total security control in Gaza, including control of all borders and crossings, until Hamas is demonstrably defeated. Operations continue in Rafah and elsewhere following effective civilian evacuations. Military and diplomatic efforts to secure the hostages’ release continue unabated.
  2. Civil affairs, including health services and aid distribution, are administered by Gazans unaffiliated with Hamas. The model will be Area B of Judea and Samaria, where Israel is in charge of security and Palestinians are responsible for the civil administration.
  3. The civil administration is supervised by the Palestinian Authority once it is “revitalized.” The PA first meets benchmarks for ending corruption and establishing transparent institutions. The designation and fulfillment of the benchmarks is carried out in coordination with Israel.
  4. The United States sends a greatly expanded and improved version of the Dayton Mission that trained PA police forces in Gaza after Israel’s disengagement.
  5. Abraham Accords countries launch a major inter-Arab initiative to rebuild and modernize Gaza.

Read more at Times of Israel

More about: Gaza Strip, Gaza War 2023, Israeli Security, U.S.-Israel relationship