Zionist Delegates from All Parts of World Gather in Zurich for 16th Biennial Congress
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Zionist Delegates from All Parts of World Gather in Zurich for 16th Biennial Congress

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The sixteenth Zionist biennial Congress which will be opened here Sunday, July 28 at 3 P.M. at the Town Theatre, will have an unprecedented attendance by delegates and guests from all parts of the world. Delegations from the outlying parts of the British Empire, the United States, Palestine and Eastern as well as Central European countries, are arriving hourly to make their headquarters at the various Zurich hotels for the ten-day period during which the Zionist legislative body will be in session here.

A number of preliminary conferences and party caucuses have already begun. Several members of the Zionist World Executive, including Miss Henrietta Szold of New York and Jerusalem, Louis Lipsky, President of the Zionist Organization of America, Colonel Frederick H. Kisch, member of the Jerusalem Zionist Executive, and Felix Rosenbleuth of the London Executive, have already begun conferences with party and group leaders, and the game of Congress politics, with a view to forming a strong majority for the proposals which are expected to be ratified for the conclusion of the partnership between the Zionists and the non-Zionists, is already in full swing. The arrival of Dr. Chaim Weizmann, President of the World Zionist Organization, and Nahum Sokolow, Chairman of the World Executive, is awaited within a day or two.

About three hundred delegates, it is anticipated, will be seated as the representatives of their respective Zionist constituencies. This will be effected, however, not without difficulties, as numerous groups from various countries, including several American Zionist groups, are contesting the elections on various grounds. The protests are now being considered by the Congress Court, a juridical body set up before each Congress goes into session. The number of protests against the result of the elections is unusually high, in view of the great importance attached to this year’s sessions.

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One angle of the program will be tackled, in addition to the Congress Court, by the Zionist General Council which opens its session here on Friday. On its agenda there figures the consideration of a protest of Zionist groups in East Galicia and in Congress Poland, against the procedure followed in that country in the election of the non-Zionist delegates to the extended Jewish Agency. The General Council will also consider proposals for the election of a praesidium for the plenary session of the Congress, the fixing of the Palestine budget and the problem of bringing aid to Russian Zionists who have been exiled by the Soviet government but may be permitted to emigrate to Palestine in the event that journey expenses are put at their disposal.

The Congress Court has, up to date, passed on the result of the elections in 21 countries, including the Zionist organizations of Germany and England.


Two important preliminary conferences have come to a close today. The conference of the Jewish National Fund, the Zionist land purchasing agency in Palestine, concluded with the adoption of a decision to seek the sum of $5,000,000 as a budget for the next two years, to be expended for the purchase of areas of land in Palestine, as the inalienable property of the Jewish people. This land, administered as public property by the Fund, is leased to Zionist settlers on a 99-year basis. M. Hochberg, a delegate representing South African Zionists, pledged his group to raise the amount of £75,000 as a part of the $5,000,000 budget.

Greater opportunity for the Jewish National Fund was seen in view of the expected consummation of the plan for the extension of the Jewish Agency under Zionist and non-Zionist leadership. Under the new arrangement the Jewish National Fund will emerge as the only purely Zionistic fund, not administered by the mixed body. Emanuel Neumann of New York, President of the Jewish National Fund in the United States, told the delegates that the Fund will find much sympathy among American Jews in the years to come. Many American non-Zionists are heartily in support of the purposes of the land purchasing agency, he said.

M. M. Ussischkin of Jerusalem, head of the World Jewish National Fund organization, urged the formulation of a program which would fully protect the autonomous character of the Fund. He proposed that a Board of Governors of the Fund be chosen by Zionists only. He further proposed to seek the revision of the present agreement between the Jewish National Fund and the Palestine Foundation Fund. This agreement was concluded several years ago when the two Funds issued appeals to the Jewish public, for the purpose of avoiding rivalry.

A feature of the proceedings of the conference was the address in Hebrew by Aime Palliere, former French Catholic clergyman who embraced Judaism. Judaism without Zionism, he stated, was inconceivable to him.

The proceedings of the conference of the Women’s International Zionist Organization were likewise followed with great interest. Methods of cooperation between this organization and the Hadassah, the American Women’s Zionist Organization, were discussed. The creation of a joint council to take charge of the work of the two organizations in Palestine was proposed.


Another question which aroused wide debate was whether the Women’s International Zionist Organization was to remain a purely Zionistic body or invite membership of non-Zionist women on lines parallel to those which were adopted as the basis for the formation of the extended Jewish Agency for Palestine.

The Zionist Executive, through its spokesmen, expressed its desire that no changes be made in the status of the Women’s International Zionist Organization.

Caucuses of the Hitachduth, Zionist labor party, and of the Mizrachi, the orthodox Zionists organization, were also begun today.

A rumor, still unverified, spread among the arriving delegates, is to the effect that Bernhard Baron, former American cigar maker and present British tobacco magnate and philanthropist, has indicated his intention to place at the disposal of the Jewish Agency the amount of £500,000 for Palestine work.

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