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Zionist Convention Opens in Pittsburgh Today; 800 Delegates to Attend

(Jewish Daily Bulletin)

More than 800 delegates are expected and a great number have already arrived for the thirty-first annual convention of the Zionist Organization of America. The sessions will open tomorrow morning and continue to July 3. Caucuses of the various groups have been held all day and will continue until the opening session.

This is expected to be one of the most important conferences in the history of the Zionist movement in America. Among the problems that will be presented to the delegates are the relation of the American Organization to the World Zionist Organization; the attitude of American Zionists in the formation of the Jewish Agency, and the relations of the Zionist Organization of America with affiliated organizations, notably the Hadassah and the Order Sons of Zion.

At the opening of the sessions, the delegates will take action on the announcement of Louis Lipsky, declaring his withdrawal from candidacy as president of the Zionist Organization of America.

The report submitted by the Administrative Committee points out that the situation in Palestin today is much different from what it was a year ago. The report states:

“As Zionists assemble in Pittsburgh from all parts of the country for the annual convention, an entirely different situation prevails in Palestine today from that of a year ago. During the past year Palestine has been gradually emerging from the crisis through which it struggled for two years. There has been an acceleration in the rate of physical progress. The morale is generally surcharged with optimism and hope. While S. A. Van Vriesland, treasurer of the Palestine Zionist Executive, reports that the financial situation of the Zionist Organization is gradually being improved, Harry Sacher, another member of the Palestine Zionist Executive, points out that there has been a decided strengthening of Palestine’s industrial life. In his resume of the improved prospects in Palestine, Mr. Sacher states that in eighteen months the Rutenberg hydroelectric works will be completed, work on the Haifa Harbor will commence within a year, with work probably beginning simultaneously on the Dead Sea concession. On the basis of a practical survey of the activities of the Jewish population of Palestine today. Mr. ‘Sacher concludes that “no rational person, therefore, has any excuse for pessimism in regard to the immediate present, or the future of Palestine and the Jewish National Home.

“One of the most significant signs of the new era in Palestine is the discontinuance of the doles to the unemployed. This has been made possible by the revival of industry and the adoption of a program of public works, financed both by the Palestine Zionist Executive, and, in part, by the government. A large program of public construction has been initiated which has absorbed the unemployed and given impetus to the development of a new period in Palestine’s economic life. Road construction in Jaffa, extension of the Rutenberg works on the Jordon, building of railway lines, and construction of public buildings, are included in the extensive plan for furnishing work to the unemployed. Small industries, which have been hardest hit by the Palestinian crisis, have shown remarkable growth within the past year. Plants which had been closed down entirely are now working in double shifts. And since small industries, to a large extent, constitute the economic backbone of Palestine, it is evident that the revival in Palestine is more than a phrase.

“The spirit of optimism prevailing in Palestine itself was antecedent to the actual emergence from the crisis, although it probably presaged it. This situation in Palestine reflects itself in a renewed spirit of confidence in American Zionists. Thus, the annual convention of the Zionist Organization of America will be free from the depressing influence of a Palestine in the vise of an economic struggle.”

A report of the membership department of the Organizations stated that on June 20, the membership of the Zionist Organization of America was 65.101 including Hadassah and the Zionist Organization.

The morning session of the Convention will be devoted to registration of delegates, and a meeting of the National Executive Committee of the Zionist Organization of America. The Convention will be officially opened at 1:30 in the afternoon, when there will be greetings by city officials and representatives of the Jewish community of Pittsburgh, an address by Louis Lipsky, president of the Zionist Organization of America, an address by Dr. Schmarya Levin, representative of the World Zionist Organization, submission of the Credential Committee’s report by the Chairman of the Credentials Committee, Leo Wolfson, and the organization of the convention with the election of a chairman, vice-chairman, secretaries and the naming of the Committee on Committees.

It is expected that the first skirmish of the convention will come with the election of the convention chairman.

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