Mizrachi Lukewarm Toward Extended Jewish Agency Leader Says

(J. T. A. Mail Service)

–The Mizrachi Orthodox Zionist Organization has a lukewarm attitude toward the extension of the Jewish Agency. This was indicated by Rabbi Meir Berlin. president of the Mizrachi, in an interview with the Jewish Telegraphic Agency representative before the opening of the Zionist General Council sessions here.

No official attitude has been taken up by the Mizrachi Organization with regard to the report of the Joint Palestine Survey Commission. Rabbi Berlin said. “But I can express my own personal view and that of several prominent Mizrachists.” he declared.

“The World Conference of the Mizrachi which opens in Danzig on Aug. 19 will have the opportunity of expressing the attitude of the Mizrachi on the question. The Mizrachi has never been enthusiastic over the idea of the extended Jewish Agency. The Mizrachist conception of Zionism goes much deeper than the national or the philanthropic conception. Nevertheless, the Mizrachi has loyally supported the Zionist Organization in the Jewish Agency question, from the point of view that no one has a right to reject help given for Palestine, no matter whence it comes.

“The report of the Joint Palestine Survey Commission has naturally caused much disappointment in the Mizrachi movement. The report does not say a word about the fundamental idea of Palestine upbuilding which is not only a question of material assistance, but is above all a matter of profound Jewish sentiment. It is characteristic, for example. that in the chapter on education, elementary education is dealt with separately from religious teaching. This may be the attitude of West Europeans, or of Nationalists, but from people who seek to introduce a better method of up-building work we expect a better understanding for E## Israel, where we cannot, as in the Diaspora. treat general Jewish and religious Jewish educational questions as distinct from each other.

“With regard to the chapter on land purchase, the Mizrachi has taken up the attitude in the past that private initiative is one of the most important factors in the upbuilding work. We have always, therefore stood for support of private enterprise in land purchase and in other work. There is the question, however, whether public collection of funds for the purchase of land for private ownership will not run counter to the basic idea of the Jewish National Fund.

“In the question of the Kvuzoth, the Mizrachi has always been opposed. But even here the question arises whether it is the right thing to condemn this form of settlement, to dicatate to people who are anxious to sacrifice themselves for Palestine how they should arrange their form of life, and whether it would not have been advisable to negotiate with them and to arrange a joint decision.

“It is clear,” Rabbi Berlin concluded, “that the report of the Joint Palestine Survey Commission cannot be accepted unconditionally by the Actions Committee. But with certain changes and concessions it will be possible to find the basis for a mutual understanding and common work.”

“The Pentateuch in Verse,” a translation into Yiddish verse of the first five books of the Bible, is to be published in the fall, Rabbi Z. Gurwitz of San Antonio, Texas, rendered the translation.

An 80,000-word cycloramic poem of the civil war has been written by Stephen Vincent Benet. Mr. Benet spent two years on the poem under a Fellowship given him by the Cuggenheim Foundation.

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