JOHANNESBURG (Sep. 7)
The position of Zionist parties in countries outside of Israel, now that Israel has become a concrete political reality with international recognition, will be one of the main issues of debate at the 22nd South African Zionist Conference, scheduled to open here next. week.
The issue has been brought to a head as the result of the resignation of Bernard Gering, chairman of the South African Zionist Federation, from the presidency and from membership in the United Zionist Party of South Africa, because he believes that the time is past for Zionism to function on a party basis outside of Israel.
In a statement made here today, Mr. Gering said he had taken this step because he was convinced that with the establishment of Israel, the system of party politics within South African Zionism was no longer tenable. The present structure of the South African Zionist Federation is based on party representation. The Federation, said Mr. Gering, is not fully representative of South African Jewry, because many South African Zionists have always worked for Zionism on a non-party basis, and today they and many institutions want to see the non-party principle adopted by the Federation.
“I am convinced that a best-man system of executive control within the South African Zionist Federation is in the best interests of our community’s efforts to aid the state of Israel,” Mr. Gering stated. He thought that there should be direct representation at Zionist conferences from non-party institutions affiliated with the Zionist Federation, as well as from Zionist parties, and that the executive of the Federation should be elected on a best-man basis by delegates representing the whole of South African Jewry.
Mr. Gering has been a member of the Zionist Federation’s Executive Council for over twenty-five years, its vice-chairman for many years, and its chairman since the last Zionist Conference two years ago. He is recognized by all parties as being one of the most devoted Zionist workers in South Africa.