JERUSALEM (Jan. 3)
The sentiments of the American Zionist movement were expressed at the World Zionist Congress here today by a number of leading delegates from the United States following the election of Dr. Nahum Goldmann and Moshe Sharett as Congress presidents. Mr. Sharett has so far not attended the Congress meetings because of illness.
Dr. Eamanuel Neumann, addressing the Congress, urged vigorous action to meet the ominous broadening of the Arab-Israel conflict into an Arab-Jewish conflict on world-wide scale. Asserting that “we are witnessing the beginning of an anti-Semitic international based in Cairo,” Dr. Neumann said that this required the re-establishment of the political department of the Jewish Agency to supplement Israel’s activity.
Dr. Miriam K. Freund, past president of Hadassah, called for a crash program among Jewish students. She said the Zionist movement had neglected this field.
Rabbi Max Nussbaum, president of the Zionist Organization of America, stressed the difficulty of the task of building Jewish people hood. He said the prerequisites were insuring the Zionist movement’s integrity, undertaking a program of unifying Jewish communities, and unification in an international Jewish community of nationally organized Jewish communities which express the Zionist philosophy. He also stressed the need to improve Israel’s absorption facilities for immigrants from western countries.
Rabbi Mordechai Kirshblum, a leader of the Religious Zionists of America, cited a reference by Dr. Goldmann in his address to the opening session last week to the vital role which the Jewish religion could and should have in protecting Jewry from assimilation. Rabbi Kirshblum said that just as it was insufficient to “preach aliyah” and remain in countries other than Israel, it was also insufficient to praise religion “without drawing the obvious conclusions.”
The role of the Zionist movement in the establishment of Israel was lauded by President Johnson in a letter addressed to a fellow-Texan who is a delegate to the Congress with the request that the letter should be read to the Congress. The president said in his letter, addressed to Jim Novy, that Congress delegates “can view with pride the manner in which Israel ha assumed a place among the most imitated nations of the world. In Africa and Latin America particularly, the example of Israel is guiding other, in some instances, even newer nations, to doctrines of individual freedom, human dignity and democracy.”
BEN-GURION WILL NET ATTEND CONGRESS; PINCUS DELIVERS PROGRESS REPORT
Former Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion indicated, in a letter to the Congress Secretary, that he had no intention of attending any session of the 11 day Congress. He said he would follow its deliberation in the press. He wished the Congress every success. “My own hope is that its resolutions will be put into practice and not remain on paper only, as have the principal resolutions of preceding Congresses,” he stated.
A report on the activities of the Jewish Agency since the last World Zionist Congress was delivered at today’s session by Arych L. Pincus, treasurer. The report was to have been delivered by Mr. Sharett as chairman of the Agency, who is now in a hospital. Mr. Pincus reported that during the last four years, the Jewish Agency spent a total of $30,000,000 on education in countries outside of Israel.
Calling for an increase in the Agency’s education role, Mr. Pincus said that Diaspora Jewry must make a greater effort in this field since Israel could not supply all the teachers required. If the Zionist movement failed to live up to the challenges ahead, he declared, history would record that the movement “had not realized its finest hour which is still ahead.”
Referring to immigration and absorption, Mr. Pincus said that 250,000 newcomers arrived in Israel in the past four years, more than 90 per cent of whom were destitute when they came and included a high proportion of social cases.
While Israel’s industrial progress provided jobs, the Jewish Agency leader said that there were still thousands on relief work and there were also large numbers earning less than is needed for a decent existence. Despite all efforts, he noted that 33,000 newcomers were still in maabarot (transit camps) and over 30,000 still lived in one-room flats.
Warning that insufficient means to pursue vigorously the work of integration served as a cause of unrest imperiling the basic structure of Israeli democracy, Mr. Pincus stressed that 70 per cent of the housing for new immigrants was provided at the expense of the Israeli taxpayer. He emphasized that this burden could not be increased, and called on world Jewry to increase its efforts to ensure practical necessities required in this field.
Reporting that since 1960 the number of immigrants from the West and from South America totaled 22,000, Mr. Pincus said that neither Israel nor the Jewish Agency could offer Western immigrants facilities to compete with such developed countries as the United States or Britain. “The attraction for such immigration can only be the result of Zionist education and a spiritual dedication compensating for the lack of amenities,” he asserted.
IMPORTANCE OF IMMIGRATION FROM WESTERN COUNTRIES STRESSED
Dr. Israel Goldstein told the delegates that while seeking to expand the movement we must lay down criteria for the admission of new groups; “we cannot be a catchall for all Jewish groups but must remain an all-Zionist organization.” The best criteria, he said, are those laid down in the Jerusalem Program.
“The education of youth and Zionist orientation are unique responsibilities of the Zionist Organization,” he declared. It is in these areas we find the most comprehensive deficiencies.” He stressed that immigration from the United States should become the number one priority of the Zionist program. He noted that the attitude of the Israel Government toward the Zionist movement was affected by “the degree of our readiness to carry the authentic Zionist banner.”
Jacob Tzur, chairman of the Zionist General Council, said in his address that the Zionist movement must create the basis for Western immigration by deepening the identification of Diaspora Jews with Israel. Asserting that this required the adaptation of all Zionist doctrines to the modern problems of the 1960’s, Mr. Tzur said that this must be done without diluting the Zionist content of the movement.
M. Agranat, chairman of the Congress Court, submitted a report expressing the view that the shekel-based system of elections to the Congress was outdated and no longer reflected conditions in the various countries sending delegates. He also said that the court felt it was incompetent to rule on objections raised against the system of drawing up lists according to a general agreement, on grounds that it was undemocratic.
Sir Barnett Janner of Britain told the Congress that western immigration to Israel was not properly organized at the Israeli end. He urged establishment of a permanent coordinating committee of the Jewish Agency and the Government for that purpose. M. Stern of the Israel General Zionist movement urged the Zionist movement to take the initiative in organizing Jewish groups in other countries. All speakers at the session stressed the importance of Jewish education and means of improving it.
Michael Kuper of Johannesburg, the first youth delegate to address the Congress, asserted that Zionist politics was “destroying” the youth movement. He said the fact that Zionist youth movements included only a “small fraction” of Jewish youth was due “in large measure” to the introduction of Israel’s internal political quarrels into the Zionist structure in other countries. He added that the “conservatism” of the Zionist movement “repelled” Jewish youth.