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Jewish Agency Discusses Proposal to Admit Non-zionist Leaders

Lengthy and intensive debate on the proposal by Dr. Nahum Goldmann for the enlargement of the Jewish Agency to include a number of outstanding non-Zionist leaders and the plan of Premier David Ben Gurion to merge all Zionist parties into territorial Zionist federations featured today’s plenary meeting of the Jewish Agency.

The session is being attended by the presidents of all American Zionist parties, in addition to the regular members of the Agency executive, because the various suggestions for changing the structure of the Zionist Organization will basically affect the American Zionist parties and movement.

Rabbi Irving Miller, president of the Zionist Organization of America, vigorously opposed both the Goldmann and the Ben Gurion schemes. He dwelt on the differences in approach to Israel of the Zionists and the non-Zionists and urged the session not to “undermine” the foundations of the Zionist Organization. In addition, he opposed the expansion of the Agency.

MIZRACHI, MAPAM SUPPORT ZOA’S OPPOSITION TO MERGER OF PARTIES

He was supported by Leon Gellman, world Mizrachi leader, and representatives of the Mapam, who demanded that the Zionist Organization should maintain all the prerogatives it has had until now. Rabbi Max Kirshblum, president of the American Mizrachi, admitted that the Zionists had not been doing enough to awaken and strengthen the Zionist Organization. However, he added that if the Zionist movement were activized it would be strong enough to rally all elements among Jewry to support Israel.

While all speakers at today’s session agreed that some change was necessary to bring the Zionist Organization into line with changed conditions, some of the members of the executive rejected the idea of enlarging the Jewish Agency. However, they suggested that two organizations be set up, one to assist Israel and the other to carry out “purely Zionist tasks” such as education, pioneering and organization of a Jewish national life abroad.

Still other speakers maintained that the Zionist Organization could not live “without vision” and that the organization has a “raison d’etre” only when it is converted into a people’s movement. They insisted that the organization could not be rebuilt only on the basis of educational and cultural activities.

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