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Final Passage of Law on Jewish Agency Status May Provoke Dissension

Dissension was expected in the Israel Parliament tonight when the law giving official status in Israel to the World Zionist Organization and the Jewish Agency is scheduled to come up for final passage.

Last night, the Parliament voted that the World Zionist Organization is to be considered “the representative organization of all the Jewish people which shall continue to work for the development and colonization of the country.” The vote was 31 to 27, and was regarded a political defeat for Premier David Ben Gurion who advocated that the Jewish State should recognize the World Zionist Organization only as the “authorized agency” for the development and colonization of Israel.

The vote last night indicated a poor attendance of the session to the disadvantage of those who support Premier Ben Gurion’s stand. Tonight’s attendance, at which the bill to grant World Zionist Organization a special status will be taken up for final reading, is expected to be larger with more deputies inclined toward the acceptance of Mr. Ben Gurion’s views.

The article of the 12-paragraph bill presented by Premier Ben Gurion to the Parliament last May, reads: “The Jewish State recognizes the Zionist Organization as the authorized Agency which shall continue its activities in the State of Israel for the development and the settlement of land, for the absorption of immigrants from Diaspora and for the co-ordination of activities of the various Jewish bodies and associations acting in these fields.”

During last night’s debate the left-wing Mapam deputies strongly advocated better conditions and greater freedom in Israel for the World Zionist Organization and the Jewish Agency than provided in the original bill.