Zionist Congress in Deadlock over Composition of New Executive
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Zionist Congress in Deadlock over Composition of New Executive

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With no certainly as to when the vote on the extension of the Jewish Agency is to be taken, the Congress still awaiting the report of the special committee on the Jewish Agency, the Zionist leaders assembled here found themselves deadlocked over the second important question which is to be solved before the legislative body adjourns as scheduled on Thursday. August 8. The composition of the Zionist Executive, the subject of negotiations and a variety of combinations of political parties, showed no progress as the week-end passed. The Sunday afternoon session of the plenary body brought no clarity on this point, the proceedings being devoted to the submission of reports on the progress of the Jewish National Fund, the Palestine Foundation Fund, and the Palestine Zionist Executive.

To provide opportunity for further negotiations on the question of personnel, the plenary session was adjourned until Monday afternoon. The question of the control of the Zionist educational system in Palestine, which has a bearing on the determination of the character of the schools, whether they are to be general Zionistically secular, laborite or religious of the Mizrachi type, is another problem which agitates the minds of many groups in the Congress and threatens a disruption.

As the Congress entered its second week, the situation was as undefined as on the day of its opening. The only political change noted was the assumption of a new attitude by Dr. Chaim Weizmann in his strategy to direct the proceedings toward their goal. At first the president of the World Zionist Organization submitted proposals for the composition of the new Executive to the Committee on Committees and endeavored, through negotiation with the various parties, to secure their agreement to a coalition Executive. These efforts failed because of the determined opposition (Continued on Page 3)

of the Laborites and the Mizrachi to the inclusion of Harry Sacher on an Executive to which they would send representatives. Dr. Weizmann would not agree to the elimination of Mr. Sacher from the new body. Miss Henrietta Szold, founder of the American Hadassah, likewise declined to enter the Executive without Mr. Sacher as a member. As the situation stood on Monday morning, Dr. Weizmann reversed the procedure and asked the Committee on Committees to make its own proposals, reserving the privilege of approval or disapproval of the proposed lists. The Laborites and the Orthodox, when combining their votes, have a controlling majority, but Dr. Weizmann indicated that in case they combine to support a list to which he cannot agree, he would not stand for re-election as president.


Confronted with this situation, a caucus of the General Zionists, including the various Landsmanschaften, with the participation of a number of American delegates, was held late Sunday evening. The caucus elected a committee consisting of Meyer Dizengoff, Mayor of Tel Aviv, Morris Rothenberg of New York, Abraham Goldberg of New York, Dr. Leon Reich of Lemberg, Dr. M. Hindes, Warsaw, Leon Lewite, Warsaw, and Salman Schocken of Germany, to confer with Dr. Weizmann. The committee was instructed to insist on the inclusion of Harry Sacher and Miss Szold on the Executive, in face of the categorical declaration of the Laborites that they will vote against any Executive which includes Mr. Sacher.

In a statement of policy agreed upon at the caucus, its members were urged to support proposals along the following lines: 1, that the new Executive continue vigorously the work conducted hitherto, bringing about such extension and change as may be required by the new conditions; 2, that the leading members of the previous Executive, particularly Mr. Sacher and Miss Szold, be included in the new one, and, 3, to support a proposal for a coalition in case it is found possible.


On Monday morning, Dr. Weizmann again stepped forward to start new negotiations for solving the Executive crisis. Conversations with the party leaders, in particular with the Mizrachi leadership and with the representatives of the British delegation, were held by him in the presence of Louis Lipsky. A meeting of the Zionist Executive was then convoked to go over the situation on the basis of Dr. Weizmann’s report, following which new conferences with the party leaders were started.


The Sunday afternoon plenary session was presided over by Rabbi Meyer Berlin, formerly of New York, international head of the Mizrachi, Orthodox Zionist Organization. The delegates honored the memory of a number of American and European Zionist leaders who died since the Fifteenth Zionist Congress was held two years ago. The list included Rabbi Max Heller of New Orleans, Joseph Barondess, former member of the Board of Education of New York, Vladimir Tiomkin, Dr. Z. H. Chajes, Chief Rabbi of Vienna and others.

Especially impressive was the scene when Nahum Sokolow read the list of Zionist martyrs who died in Soviet Russia during the period, on their way to prisons and exile in Siberia. The delegates listened to the list, honoring the memory of the martyrs by standing. The reading of the entire memorial list occupied half an hour.


The recognition of the purchasing of land as the property of the Jewish National Fund was urged as the major problem in the Zionist colonization policy in Palestine by M. M. Ussishkin, head of the Jewish National Fund, the Zionist land purchasing agency.

In a report he submitted at this session he stated that the Fund raised during the past two years the amount of $2,750,000 in various parts of the world. In Canada alone the amount of £68,000 was raised. This included the payment of $300,000 on account of the $1,000,000 pledged by Canadian Zionists for the benefit of the Jewish National Fund. In England the amount of $50,000 was raised in honor of Lord Balfour. Due to these contributions the land possessions of the Jewish National Fund were increased by 70 per cent. The expenses of fund raising were reduced by 13 per cent.

Harry Sacher submitted his report on the work of the Zionist Executive in Jerusalem showing progress in the consolidation of the Zionist colonization enterprises.


Dr. Arthur Hantke, in reporting on the income and the work of the Palestine Foundation Fund. Keren Hayesod, stressed the necessity of a larger part of the budget being devoted to colonization, which would facilitate the Keren Hayesod’s fund collections, “because, while the donor appreciates the importance of education, health and loan amortization, he desires to see the larger part of his contribution spent toward more concrete achievements, such as colonization.”

He rejected as unfounded the claims that separate collections by various groups do not harm the Keren Hayesod. They are harmful because they reach circles which are closed to the Keren Hayesod. While he foresaw a possibility for local Jewish communities to participate more actively, and eventually undertake, partly or entirely, collection campaigns on behalf of Palestine, when the Agency is formed, he stressed the necessity for the Zionists to concentrate on the development and strengthening of the present methods of collection. “Under present circumstances, the Zionist Executive, the Keren Hayesod and the Keren Kayameth operate on short term loans. Under this method they are liable to relieve only the immediate requirements. It is necessary to continue endeavors toward securing long term loans under international guarantees such as other states and bodies have obtained. Although the negotiations for such loans have failed due to the conditions of the money market, it is important to study the question of other loan forms.

“Under the Jewish Agency the Keren Hayesod will also have to continue its colonization work, which is usually the task of a colonizing government. It is therefore vital to increase the resources of the Jewish National Fund only in a proportionate degree because the Jewish National Fund contributes only one-fourth towards the funds required by the land settler, while the Keren Hayesod, which is the colonizing agency, contributes the balance of the amount. The settler himself is able to contribute from his savings usually an insignificant sum, when it is remembered that the placing on the land of each settler costs £1,200.


Maxa Nordau, daughter of the late Zionist leader. Max Nordau, injected a note of confusion into the closing hours of the Sunday session, when she rose to ask for the floor on the ground of “personal privilege.” Instead of saying what the point of personal privilege was, she started to discuss the question of the Jewish Agency, expressing opposition to it. As the matter was not on the agenda for that session, many delegates objected, and a disturbance arose. Miss Nordau, who is an artist, paid no regard to the objections, but continued to voice her opposition to the Jewish Agency, asserting that “only a Congress which is devoid of the spirit of Zionism could accept the proposal.” She was finally persuaded to leave the platform, declaring that she will ask for the floor when the debate on the Jewish Agency will take place.


Dr. Weizmann brought the Congress back to business after the Maxa Nordau incident when the rose to reply to

M. M. Ussishkin on the question of the relations between the Jewish National Fund and the Palestine Foundation Fund.

“I agree that the land reserve is the most important problem, but not less important is the settling of workers long resident in Palestine on the land. When you visit the country, especially the orange belt, you note the progress with mixed feelings, because the tendency toward latifundia is seen, which Palestine cannot support. A stretch of 200 dunams of orange groves, nationally owned, can provide a living for fifteen to twenty persons. This is not so if the same area belongs to a private planter. The attitude of the Executive and my own are well known. We are doing the utmost to collect for both funds, between which there should not be any competition. We must discover new sources for amplifying the £750,000 budget. Should we fail to discover new sources, our duty will be to make a special effort for the Keren Kayemeth, especially in America.”

It was taken from Dr. Weizmann’s words that Mr. Ussishkin will be invited to the United States to conduct a Keren Kayemeth drive when the full budget is taken care of.


A statement issued by the praesiidium of the Congress, termed as groundless a report that the sessions of the Zionist legislative body will be prolonged beyond the ten days schedulede, and that the sessions would be interrupted for the Agency constitution meeting on August 11, to be resumed later. The Congress will terminate its work on Thursday, August 8, the praesidium declared. In case of necessity, the Committee on Committees will discharge the special committees if better progress is not made.

Col. Frederick H. Kisch and Dr. David Yellin, former vice-mayor of Jerusalem, left for London by aeroplane to present to the British Colonial Office the views of the Zionist Congress embodied in the statement adopted Friday afternoon concerning the Wailing Wall controversy.


A problem of considerable interest also arose in regard to the demand of the American delegation representing the Zionist Organization of America. Under the present arrangements the American Zionists will be represented by only 16 delegates on the Council. The American Zionists demand that they be given equal representation with the American non-Zionists, which creates a difficult situation in view of the fact that the Council will consist of 220 members, of which the Zionists may elect only 110, who are to be their representatives from all countries. A compromise was stated to be under negotiation, by which the American Zionists would be satisfied with 22 representatives, half the number of American non-Zionist representation, not counting the representation which is to be allotted to the Hadassah, American women’s Zionist organization.

The Zionist Revisionists, opposition party, informed the Zionist Congress that, in accordance with their policy, they will not send representatives to the Jewish Agency Council. They will leave their seats at the disposal of the Zionist Executive so that the strength of the Zionist representation on the Council may not be diminished.


The stand of the American Zionist delegation attending the Congress, concerning the question of the Zionist school policy in Palestine, which is causing much controversy among the parties, was made clear by Louis Lipsky, president of the Zionist Organization of America in an interview with the correspondent of the Jewish Telegraphic Agency following a caucus held by the American delegation.

“The American delegation is profoundly interested in the free development of the Palestine education system and is desirous of securing complete harmony in the Zionist school chain,” Mr. Lipsky said. “We have invited Dr. Berkson, formerly of New York, of the Education Department of the Zionist Executive in Jerusalem, to represent the administration’s point of view and Rabbis Berlin and Ostrowsky, to explain to the American delegation the point of view of the Mizrachi, religious Zionists who maintain a separate school system, whose demands brought about the difficulties.

“We are satisfied that the Mizrachi is entitled to the autonomy of its religious schools, but we are no less interested that the entire school system be unimpaired through the disintegration of the central authority of the Zionist Organization over the education system, which is as essential as any other activity in Palestine. We are convinced that the ultimate decision with regard to the character of the Hebrew schools in Palestine and the supervision over religious subjects in their curriculum rests with the Jewry of Palestine and we are determined that nothing be done to impose any system upon the parents, through any unfair advantage which the Mizrachi organization may be able to gain owing to supplementary funds available to them, especially if the Mizrachi is to enlarge the scope of its schools at the expense of the general school system,” the president of the Zionist Organization of America stated.

The candidates favored by the labor groups in preference to Mr. Sacher are Dr. Arthur Ruppin, agricultural expert, and M. M. Ussishkin, veteran Zionist leader.

An acknowledgement of the Zionist Congress’s message hoping for his speedy recovery, was received by Dr. Weizmann from Lord Balfour. “I gratefully return your greetings which moved me deeply. Please convey my warm good wishes to the Congress,” Lord Balfour stated.

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