World Zionist Congress Opens Today in Jerusalem; Will Discuss Complicated Issues
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World Zionist Congress Opens Today in Jerusalem; Will Discuss Complicated Issues

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The World Zionist Congress, the 23rd since the first Zionist Congress met in Basle 54 years ago and launched the Zionist movement dedicated to the establishment of a Jewish state in ancestral Palestine, will open here tomorrow evening.

Zionists from all parts of the world, except the Soviet Union and the Iron Curtain countries, have assembled here for the Congress which is regarded as marking the turning point in the history of the Zionist movement. This is the first Congress to be held since the establishment of the Jewish state and the first to convene on the territory of Israel.

The Congress will be confronted by a number of major problems, most of them stemming cut of the fact that the first goal of the original Zionist program–the establishment of a Jewish state–has been accomplished. Delegates here have been speaking of a new “Jerusalem Program,” to replace the original Basle Program, as a blueprint for the future activity of the world Zionist movement.


At a press conference today, Dr. Nahum Goldmann, chairman of the American section of the Jewish Agency, outlined the problems which will come up for discussion before the Congress. He said that adoption of a program may be deferred until the next Congress if it becomes impossible to secure a near unanimity on the “Jerusalem Program.” (The World Conference of Labor Zionists in Tel Aviv today rejected part of the “Jerusalem Program.” See page 4.)

With regard to the request for a special status in Israel for the world Zionist movement, Dr. Goldmann declared that the need for such a status is agreed upon by all. Some, he said, hope that the new Israel Parliament may yet pass a law prior to the adjournment of the Zionist Congress recognizing the World Zionist Organization as the representative of the Jewish people in all matters relating to Israel.

Touching on the demand of Premier David Ben Gurion that the status be granted only on condition that the Zionist movement throughout the world cooperate unconditionally with the Israel Government no matter what the composition of the government, Dr. Goldmann revealed that some delegates have requested a complementary statement that Israel will not intervene in the affairs of the Zionist movement outside of the Jewish state. Dr. Goldmann outlined each of the problems without stating his own views on them.

Addressing the same press conference, Berl Locker, chairman of the Agency section in Jerusalem, reported on the achievements of the Agency since the last Zionist Congress, dividing the period into two parts: up to the establishment of the state of Israel; and since. Spending most of his time on the second period, Mr. Locker reported on the Agency’s “colossal achievement”–the immigration of 670,000 Jews from 69 countries, including the evacuation of complete communities such as in Yemen. In addition, he stated, the Agency was responsible for the establishment of 270 new settlements in a little over three years.

Turning to the major function of the World Zionist Congress, Mr. Locker declared: “It is the function of the Congress to arouse the Jewish people and Zionism to the full consciousness of its historic responsibility.”

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