Zurich (Aug. 2)
The possibility that the sessions of the Sixteenth Zionist Congress will be prolonged beyond the original ten days was seen when the Congress, holding no plenary session in deference to the Swiss National Day, faced the perplexities it usually encounters when the question of composing a new Executive comes up.
The situation became complicated when Dr. Chaim Weizmann, president of the Organization for the past nine years, appeared for the Committee on Committees declaring that he would stand for re-election only in case one of two proposals be accepted: the re-election of the present Executive or the formation of a new Executive in which both the Right and Left wings of the Zionist movement are given representation. In the latter case he would take under advisement whether or not he would accept the office. The difficulty arose because of the determined opposition of the laborites to the re-election of Harry Sacher, who aroused the ire of the labor element in Palestine by his “strong hand” policy in carrying through a consolidation of the colonization projects and in opposing the laborite colonization plans, (Continued on Page 3)
A rearrangement in the administration and leadership of the Jewish reconstruction work in Palestine, as well as in the Zionist movement, was forecast when it was stated that Dr. Weizmann, who had his headquarters in London since the issuance of the Balfour Declaration in 1917, plans to settle in Palestine where he is to be at the helm of the Jewish Agency work. Col. Frederick H. Kisch, Zionist political representative in Jerusalem, and Harry Sacher are mentioned as candidates for the post of Zionist political representative in London to negotiate in behalf of the World Zionist Organization with the Mandatory Power on all questions arising in connection with the Palestine upbuilding work under the auspices of the extended Jewish Agency.
Dr. Weizmann’s program for the formation of the Executive was for the creation of a body which is “agreeable and useful.” In taking the first step in the negotiations for a coalition Executive, Dr. Weizmann encountered the laborites’ opposition to Mr. Sacher. The laborite spokesmen, the three Palestinian delegates, Shkolnik, Twersky and Kaplan, it is understood, warned Dr. Weizmann that this time the laborites will vote for or against the Executive and not abstain from voting as they did at the close of the Fifteenth Zionist Congress. The laborites asserted that all Palestine delegates are united in demanding the removal or at least the transfer of Mr. Sacher from Jerusalem to London. They might agree that Mr. Sacher be given the direction of the political department of the Zionist Executive in which case he would have no influence on the colonization. They intimated that they value Mr. Sacher’s integrity, his energy and strong attitude toward the British officials in Palestine, but they are thoroughly in opposition to his economic and colonization policies. These were the views of the Poale Zion group.
The Hitachduth group, also in opposition to Sacher, was less adamant. It might agree to Sacher remaining in a harmless post on the condition that “Sacherism” disappear.
More hopeful was the situation in regard to the conservatives, acting through the Mizrachi delegation. The Orthodox Zionists declared their willingness to participate in forming a coalition Executive. They will be satisfied with having one representative on that body, provided that the workers will have no more than one, although the Mizrachi claims that it is entitled to two representatives. No official negotiations with that group have been started by Dr. Weizmann as yet, but Rabbi Meyer Berlin stated to the Jewish Telegraphic Agency that the Mizrachi found Dr. Weizmann’s statement before the Committee on Committees “acceptable.” He was especially gratified to learn of Dr. Weizmann’s intention to spend at least six months out of the year in Palestine. The Mizrachi, however, will insist that the members of the center group entering the Executive pledge themselves to carry out at least the minimum demands of the Orthodox Zionists, especially in the fields of education and colonization. To guarantee such a program they may have to ask for the elimination of Mr. Sacher and Miss Henrietta Szold.
On the other hand, it was stated on good authority that Mr. Sacher has given up his opposition to a coalition Executive, provided that the other members of the Executive are “satisfactory” irrespective of their party affiliation.
DR. WISE JOINS RADICAL ZIONIST GROUP, ON POLITICAL COMMITTEE
Following his clash with Dr. Weizmann, Dr. Stephen S. Wise officially joined the Zionist Opposition party. Until now Dr. Wise was independent of any party. He officially informed the praesidium of the Congress in session here that he had joined the party of Radical Zionists which delegated him as its representative to the Political Committee which is now formulating its views on the British administration of the Mandated territory of Palestine to be submitted in the form of a resolution to the plenary session.
Jacob de Haas, who was secretary of the Zionist Organization of America when Supreme Court Justice Louis D. Brandeis was president, joined the League of Zionist Revisionists, it was reported. Mr. de Haas is attending the Congress as an alternate for Mr. Harry Friedenwald of Baltimore. Some members of the delegations from Oriental countries have likewise proceeded to the opposition.
Dr. Wise, in joining the group of Radical Zionists, reserved for himself a “free hand” in the question of the Jewish Agency notwithstanding his affiliation with the group. Similar reservations were made by the delegates Finkelstein and Goldberg of Warsaw.
WAILING WALL QUESTION UPPERMOST IN MINDS, CHIEF RABBINATE APPEALS
The acute situation that has developed in Palestine due to the renewed controversy over the Western Wall of The Temple, when the government granted permission to the Moslems to continue building operations there, was uppermost in the minds of the delegates and of the Political Committee when another alarming cable was received by the Executive and by the Zionist Congress from the Chief Rabbi of Palestine, Rabbi A. J. Kook. The
The cablegram from the Chief Rabbi set forth that the government permission to the Arabs to continue their building activities “destroys the right of the Jewish people to the last of its Holy Places in the Holy Land and opens the door to the Arabs to our only sanctum. This action creates a chaos that will last for generations and constitutes an unforgettable insult to the entire Jewish people.”
The Chief Rabbi demands that the British authorities immediately order “the cessation of the destruction of the Jewish Holy Place” and asks for another order to close up the opening in the wall adjacent to the Wailing Wall made by the Moslems with government permission, as this opening “will make a public thoroughfare of the sanctum where Jews gather for divine services.”
A petition from the Schwartzbard Committee was received by the Congress, asking its intervention with the British authorities for obtaining the permission of the Palestine government for Sholom Schwartzbard, acquitted slayer of the Ukrainian pogrom leader, Semion Petlura, to emigrate to Palestine. Mr. Schwartzbard, who is a citizen of France, was barred from Palestine when he attempted to settle there.
JEWISH AGENCY COMMITTEE DELIBERATES
The Committee on the Jewish Agency continued its deliberations Friday morning. A proposal to introduce changes into the constitution draft was debated. A sub-committee of seven was appointed to formulate recommendations, in particular in regard to the question of whether or not the decisions of the Zionist Congress and the Zionist General Council are to be binding upon the Zionist representatives on the Council of the Jewish Agency, that is, whether the Zionist delegates on the Agency Council will have to vote as a unit or may determine for themselves their stand on the individual questions as they arise. It developed that the Mizrachi, Orthodox Zionist, delegates are opposed to making the Congress decisions binding upon all Zionist delegates on the Agency as they contend that in matters of religion and education they cannot subject themselves to a majority vote. The question also arose in this connection as to whether the Zionist Congress decisions are to be binding on those Zionists who were elected to the Jewish Agency Council on the non-Zionist side.
OTHER COMMITTEES AT WORK
The Committee on Finance continued its deliberations concerning a Zionist loan proposal. The Committee on Organization listened to a report by Felix Rosenblueth on organization questions. A proposal is now being discussed that henceforth only such Zionists who paid their Shekel for two years may be entitled to cast their vote in the election of Zionist Congress delegates. Under the present ruling any Jew who pays a Shekel (dues which vary in the respective countries) before the election in a Congress year is entitled to vote. The Committee on Urban Colonization considered the labor question in the cities and colonies. It formulated a proposal to the Congress that the Executive grant a credit for the construction of 400 houses for labor families.
In deference to the Sabbath the sessions will be interrupted at sundown on Friday to be resumed on Sunday. A plenary session was held on Friday afternoon.