The announcement by the Agudath Israel that it has established a Jewish Agency to rival the Zionist Executive will provoke a good deal of attention, not only in Jewish circles but also in the Colonial Office in London.
The Agudath Israel is known to have good connections in the Colonial Office. It is quite certain that it would not have entered into open competition with the Zionist Executive for immigration certificates and for other political activities if it were not certain of its possibilities.
A PROBLEM FOR ZIONISTS
With the Zionist Revisionists on the verge of leaving the Zionist Organization, and with the Agudah proclaiming its own Agency, the problem of the Zionist Executive becomes more serious than one may assume on the surface. Both the Revisionists and the Agudah will now conduct their independent political action before the League of Nations and the Colonial Office. Both groups will now submit independent memorandums to the Mandates Commission. Both will under the present new immigration regulations no doubt apply to the government for immigration certificates over the head of the Zionist Executive.
The Zionist Executive will thus no longer remain the only representative of Jewish interests in Palestine. Although under the Mandate it is the officially recognized body whom the Palestine government has to consult, it is quite certain that the High Commissioner of Palestine will utilize to his best advantage the fact that other groups in Jewry are springing up with organized representation and with claims that can be submitted directly to the League of Nations.
LEGISLATIVE COUNCIL DUE
This is especially important in connection with the forthcoming Legislative Council, which has not been established as yet, but which will definitely be formed.
It was very easy for the present Executive to divert the danger of the establishment of a Legislative Council in Palestine when there was unity in Jewish ranks. The situation will be different, however, when three separate Jewish organizationsâ€”the Zionist Organization, the Agudah and the Revisionistsâ€”will conduct competitive political activities. The High Commissioner will then find no difficulty in convincing one of these groups to send representatives to the projected Legislative Council, in compensation for other political favors, which may include the issuance of separate immigration certificates, or appointments to important posts.
THE MORAL OF IT
The moral of this is: the Zionist Organization today needs unity more than ever before. The leaders of the Zionist Executive know very well the serious dangers which Palestine may face in the near future. These dangers can be combatted only by reaching a compromise with the Revisionists, by not antagonizing the Agudah andâ€” what is more importantâ€”by not threatening constantly the non-Zionists with a break in the present fifty-fifty representation.
Despite the prosperity in Palestine, the political situation of the Zionist Executive has never been as weak as it is now. It will become weaker if the present tendency of the Executive to dominate everything and everybody, continues.
Against the Executive as now lined up not only the Revisionists but the farmers, the industrialists, a good proportion of the General Zionists, the entire Mizrachi organization, and even such people as Meier Dizengoff. Now the Agudah is added to the list.
COALITION AND COMPROMISE
The example now set by the Agudah in establishing an independent Jewish Agency is dangerous not only because it plays into the hands of the Palestine government but also because it endangers the Jewish achievements in Palestine and the Jewish capital invested there. The action of the Agudah certainly does not deserve approval, but none other than the present Zionist Executive can be blamed for it. An Executive which does not care for coalition and stubbornly rejects any compromise with other groups is just as responsible for the breach in Jewish unity as those who are actually encompassing this breach.