Mrs. Halprin Reports on Decision to Bring Non-zionists into W. Z. O.
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Mrs. Halprin Reports on Decision to Bring Non-zionists into W. Z. O.

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The major decisions adopted at the recent session of the Zionist Action Committee in Jerusalem were reviewed here today by Mrs. Rose Halprin, acting chairman of the Jewish Agency, who stressed that the deliberations had touched upon “important and sensitive issues.”

Mrs. Halprin lauded the “open-minded spirit of moderation” which had prevailed during the debates on these issues. Referring to Dr. Nahum Goldmann’s proposal to bring various groups into the World Zionist Organization, she said:

“There were many doubts and some differences of opinion with regard to this proposal. Yet, in the end, it was agreed that he should proceed to negotiate with these groups along the lines he had suggested. In considering the possible consequences of this move, let us remember that, though not organized for Zionist purposes, these groups have shown active interest in Israel in the past and it is understood that they must accept the Zionist program. Thus, it is not such much a matter of converting non-Zionists into Zionists, but of creating the organizational framework for common efforts towards a common goal.

“Such broadening of our organizational framework will result in broadening the base for any effort on behalf of Israel in the Diaspora, ” Mrs. Halprin continued. “It is for this reason that Dr. Goldmann’s proposal was accepted by the Actions Committee. What the influence of this move will be in terms of the Zionist organization itself, only time can tell. I sincerely hope that it will serve to strengthen the movement as Dr. Goldmann believes it will. “

Mrs. Halprin stressed that the Actions Committee had also given serious consideration to the problem of middle-class Aliya. “Our discussions centered not around slogans but around concrete problems which face the potential immigrant as he prepares for immigration and during the initial phases of his settlement in Israel, ” she declared. “Only such factual review of specific practical problems will lead to a more conducive atmosphere for Aliya. Immigration from the United States is not a matter of exhortation, but of improved facilities in the areas of capital transfer, housing, investment, and employment opportunities.”

Declaring that the Actions Committee had dealt extensively with the problem of educational and cultural activities in the Diaspora, Mrs. Halprin said: “I was also happy to be able to report to the Actions Committee on the modest but steady progress of our cultural activities in the United States. ” Among such areas of progress, she noted the expansion of the day-school program, growing interest in the study of Hebrew evidenced by adults as well as young people, and intensified educational activities on the part of Jewish youth organizations throughout the United States.

With regard to the Jewish Agency’s budget, one of the major items on the Actions Committee’s agenda, Mrs. Halprin pointed out that although a number of changes had been made, more extensive revisions had to be postponed since the current budget had been in operation since April 1st of this year. However, much consideration was given to proposals for a far-reaching revision of the 1960-61 budget with a view to bringing expenditures closer into line with anticipated income. “I believe that by the fall of this year we shall have hammered out a new approach leading to a more realistic budget, ” she declared.

“During my stay in Israel, I was impressed by the growing atmosphere of confidence which seems to prevail everywhere,” she stressed. “There is less tension, and conditions seem closer to normal than they have been in many years. ” She attributed these changes to “tangible signs of improvement in the economic sphere and increasingly friendly relations between Israel and some of the young nations of Asia and Africa.” She stressed, however, that Israelis are well aware that despite economic gains they cannot yet shoulder the heavy burden of immigrant absorption without substantial assistance from the Diaspora.

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