Knesset Adopts Bill Granting Special Status to Jewish Agency
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Knesset Adopts Bill Granting Special Status to Jewish Agency

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The Israel Parliament last night adopted the bill granting the world Zionist movement a special legal status in Israel. Immediately after passage, Premier David Ben Gurion traveled to the Jewish Agency building where the Zionist Actions Committee was meeting and presented the charter to that body, which is responsible for Zionist policy-making between world congresses.

“Deep satisfaction” with the passage of the bill was expressed today by Dr. Nahum Goldmann, co-chairman of the Jewish Agency, at a press conference. This bill, he stressed, “regulates the Zionist Organization’s standing and functions in Israel and lays the foundations for its future work. It entrusts the World Zionist Organization with the right, indeed the task, of coordinating the functions of all other overseas Jewish groups in Israel.

“At the same time,” Dr. Goldmann continued, “it increases the responsibility of the World Zionist Organization to whom the supreme legislative body of Israel has assigned such major tasks as the regulation of immigration and colonization. It is my hope that Jews all over the world and the World Zionist Organization will live up to these responsibilities and prove themselves worthy of the status which the government and Knesset have granted in behalf of the people of Israel,” he concluded.


In a debate on the place of Zionism in Jewish life in the United States, which followed the formal presentation of the status charter to the Actions Committee, Dr. Goldmann insisted that the Zionist movement must adopt a “new approach to the greatest Jewish concentration of our era–in the United States.” He advocated that the Zionists not confine their work in the United States to education and fund-raising, but also participate in the “inner Jewish life in America,” such as communal welfare and other aspects. He asked that narrow party interests be submerged in the face of the broader problems before the entire movement. “I am afraid of acute party strife which always was the curse of our life and which has always ruined us.”

Turning to the agreement on strengthening the American Zionist Council–whose broad outlines were agreed upon Sunday night at a meeting of Premier Ben Gurion and the heads of the Zionist Organization of America, Hadassah, Labor Zionist Organization of America and the Mizrachi Organization of American–Dr. Goldmann praised it but added “it remains to be seen how it will work but.” Replying to criticism that only four American Zionist groups were represented at the parley with Mr. Ben Gurion, Dr. Goldmann said that all the smaller Zionist groups would participate in the conference in the United States at which the details of the broad agreement would be worked out.

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