Vienna (Nov. 17)
The results of the recent Kehillah elections in Vienna are highly interesting. The Zionists suffered the severest defeat, coming out with 10 candidates, which is less than they succeeded in electing the previous time. This was due to the fact that at that time the Zionists adopted an attitude of vigorous opposition to the assimilationists, whereas this time they agreed to an impolitic compromise with the old Kehillah element on the one hand and the sanctimonious anti-Zionist “Agudas Israel” on the other.
A new curiousity in the present Kehillah composition is the fact that five Socialists were elected to the Kehillah and, it is expected, they will bring the class-struggle idea into the very midst of the rabbis, the shochets and the rest of the religious group. We may now look forward to stormy debates in the Kehillah on the questions of socialism, Karl Marx, etc.
The Mizrachi, too, were unsuccessful in the elections. Conducting their campaign on the principle that Zionists must not make any compromise with the assimilationists, the Mizrachi put up their own candidates in opposition to the “United Jewish Parties”, as they termed it. Not being very popular among the Jews of Vienna, the Mizrachi scarcely succeeded in electing two of their men. The “Agudas Israel”, which is much less popular than the Mizrachi, nevertheless succeeded in electing three candidates, owing to its alliance with the Zionists.
A small group of Zionists revolted against the majority and put up their own candidates who fervently preached “no compromise” with the assimilationists. The Zionist organization officially expelled these rebels from the party, but they did succeed in electing one candidate. It is characteristic that the “Sozialistisch-Wirtschafts” party who participated in the elections, were also composed of rebellious Zionists whom the organization excommunicated.
It is regrettable that the Zionist organization of Vienna adopted this attitude. It is very probable that had the Zionists refused to compromise and issued a purely Jewish nationalistic democratic program they would have been equally successful. And even had they elected one or two candidates less, they would have felt that at least those elected were 100% Zionists, whereas now their candidates are obliged to represent the principles of assimilation in the Kehillah. What an incongruous spectacle: Zionist-assimilationists!
In connection with the Kehillah elections an interesting episode occured which is not only amusing, but shows likewise that Vienna is, after all, a unique city of culture. At an election meeting the various factions began to wrangle and argue and fight until the noise could be heard far out in the street. The passers-by thought that the Jews were waging a bloody war among themselves and matters reached such a point that a policeman finally entered upon the scene. In any
The policeman talked matters over with the chairman and other leaders and learned that – the oppositional minority had been denied an opportunity to express itself through its spokesmen. Finding that the minority was in the right, and feeling that such unconstitutional methods could not be permitted, the policeman took over the chairmanship of the meeting, informed himself on the character of the political groups present, ascertained who had already spoken, etc, and conducted matters to everybody’s complete satisfaction, in the most parliamentary manner, unto a very late hour of the night. Could such a thing happen in any other city?