JERUSALEM (Dec. 28)
The 26th World Zionist Congress opens here Wednesday with more than 500 delegates from various parts of the free world, including 145 from the United States, to review the position of the Zionist movement in the Jewish world today and to map plans for Zionist activities for the next two years.
The Congress will also consider the position of the Jews in the Soviet Union, the trend toward assimilation among Jews in the United States, German-Jewish relations, the anti-Jewish campaign of the Arab League and other current political issues affecting Jews in countries outside of Israel. Of special importance will be the Congress decisions on financial policies concerning Jewish immigration to Israel and the absorption of the immigrants in Israel.
With most of the delegates from abroad having arrived here during the last few days, the various Zionist parties held yesterday and today their advance conferences in preparation for debates at the Congress. Dr. Nahum Goldmann, president of the World Zionist Organization, addressed meetings of both the leftist Mapam and the World Union of General Zionists. He told a gathering of the latter that it was now clear that Israel needs world Jewry no less than world Jewry needs Israel and that it is the Zionist Organization which could fight the trends of assimilation in world Jewry for the sake of Israel.
At the Mapam meeting, Knesset Member Yaakov Hazan said that only a progressive Israel would be able to attract youth and the progressive element in world Jewry. The Mapam delegates agreed to call on the Soviet authorities to permit the reunion of families, emigration to Israel and the free observance of the Jewish religion.
Addressing the meeting of the World Union of General Zionists at the ZOA House in Tel Aviv, Dr. Emanuel Neumann, president of the World Union, stressed that in view of the increasing danger to Israel the need for closer ties between Israel and the Diaspora was more evident now and everything possible should be done to preserve and strengthen the Diaspora and Israel for their mutual benefit.
Speakers at a meeting of delegates representing the Herut Hazohar World Movement stressed that the situation of world Jewry today was on the verge of collapse in view of the lack of pioneering changes. They called for increased efforts in the field of Jewish education among Diaspora Jewry. Herut leader Menahem Beigin was among the speakers.
The need to properly guide Diaspora Jewry “so that they know their actual situation without illusions” was emphasized by J. Bankover at a meeting of the Achdut Avoda-Poale Zion Movement.