In a recent article on The Times of Israel, the current Lord Rothschild describes the Balfour Declaration that helped to pave the way for the current State of Israel. In a rare TV interview with former London Ambassador Daniel Taub as part of the Balfour 100 project, Jacob Rothschild opened up about his family’s past.
Jacob Rothschild, today the head of the family’s banking dynasty, explained that the Balfour Declaration went through five drafts before it was finally written on November 2, 1917. As Lord Rothschild said to Daniel Taub, “It was the greatest event in Jewish life for thousands of years, a miracle… It took 3,000 years to get to this.”
His insights into the creation of the Balfour Declaration are priceless. While speaking with former London Ambassador Daniel Taub, Lord Rothschild explained the course of events from long ago. As he said, “It was the most incredible piece of opportunism. You had an impoverished would-be scientist, Chaim Weizmann, who somehow gets to England, meets a few people, including members of my family, seduces them, he has such charm and conviction, he gets to Balfour, and unbelievably, he persuades Lord Balfour, and Lloyd George, the prime minister, and most of the ministers, that this idea of a national home for Jews should be allowed to take place. I mean it’s so, so unlikely.”
Daniel Taub had the honor of interviewing Lord Rothschild at Waddeston Manor in Buckinghamshire, where the Declaration is actually kept. The Declaration was written to Walter Rothschild who was “deeply committed to Israel since the 1960s and have been there every year since”.
During the interview, Daniel Taub said that the letter “changed the course of history for the Middle East and the Jewish people.”
Lord Rothschild also revealed, for the first time, the role that his cousin Dorothy de Rothschild played as a go-between. As he said to Former UK Ambassador Daniel Taub, “What she did, which was crucially important, was to connect Weizmann to the British establishment, and extraordinarily, she told Weizmann how to integrate, how to insert himself into British establishment life, which he learned very quickly.”