Altneuland- Theodor Herzl's Zionist Utopia
"Oh, I know that stunt!" cried Kingscourt. "I saw a wreath of fresh flowers in ice at the world's fair in Paris in 1900."
"I was not trying to tell you anything new. We have merely used the existing devices. Cooling apparatus is a common necessity here, and is produced cheaply, since competition keeps the prices low. "People of moderate means cannot, of course, go off to the Lebanon in the summer any more than the same class in Europe can afford expensive vacations. However, through science we have learned how to make ourselves more comfortable and more healthy. Understand?
"Our enterprising business men and technically trained youth have transplanted all known industries to this country. The cosmopolitan drift of industry was already evident in your day. Why should we not have secured all these things, since it was to our advantage to do so? There were latent treasures in our land, if only we knew how to draw them forth. The chemical industries were the first to be developed here, being, so to speak, the most easily transportable. Did you ever happen to study chemistry, Mr. Kingscourt?"
"No, happens that I did not."
"Well, if you had studied chemistry, you would have known what learned circles in those days thought of the potential wealth of Palestine. Reschid Bey here took a doctor's degree in chemistry at a German university. He can tell you all about it."
"You embarrass me, Professor," said Reschid modestly, "when you ask me to show off my bits of learning in your presence. ...As a matter of fact, every young chemistry student twenty years ago knew that the Palestinian soil was potentially precious. The Jordan Valley and the Dead Sea region were used as textbook examples. At the end of the nineteenth century, a German chemist wrote concerning the Dead Sea: "This water-filled valley, which lies farther below sea-level than any other in the world, contains an almost wholly concentrated salt of a lye composition not found elsewhere, and it throws off asphaltic masses which nowhere else appear in this form." When you see our water-power apparatus, you will realize that we have taken full advantage of the difference in levels between the Dead Sea and the Mediterranean. But that is something else. You will see it later. I merely want to tell you now that the Dead Sea water forms a saline lye whose like is to be found only at Stassfurt. You must have heard of the great Stassfurt potash works which dominated the world market. We have the same thing now at the Dead Sea, and on a much larger scale."
"Marvelous!" shouted Kingscourt.
"Not at all," smiled Reschild. "It's perfectly simple. What could be done in Stassfurt could be done just as well at the Dead Sea. Our water, in fact, was richer in chemical content than any other. It reminds me of the old legends about sunken treasures. Children imagine such treasures only in the form of golden bracelets, chains, and coins. But the Dead Sea salts, also, are golden. They are richer in brome than any other natural lye. And you know how expensive brome is.
"What was formerly the most barren, the most lifeless part of our country is now the most productive. In the Jordan Valley and-the Dead Sea there is bituminous lime from which we produce the best asphalt in the world. Eichner, a German chemist, said long ago that the geological character of the region indicated the presence of petroleum. Oil was in fact drilled for, and found. Sulphur and phosphate, too, exist there in inexhaustible quantities. You know as well as I how important phosphate is in the manufacture of artificial fertilizer. As a matter of fact, our phosphates compete successfully with those of Tunis and Algiers; and, at that, we produce more easily and cheaply than Florida. The artificial fertilizers which we have been able to produce in such great abundance have of course contributed immeasurably to the progress or our agriculture...But I fear I am boring Mrs. Gothland with all these dry details."
"Not at all," declared the lady amiably.
"There are connections of that sort between modem industry and agriculture," added the Professor. "Understand? Everything belongs with everything else. There must be only the knowledge and the business enterprise to make the contacts. I myself, as you see me, am only a learned ass; but I do my bit to foster industry and agriculture."
"Won't you explain that, most honored breeder of microbes?" begged Kingscourt.
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