Goldmann Closes Zionist Congress Debate with Appeal to Russia
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Goldmann Closes Zionist Congress Debate with Appeal to Russia

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An appeal to the Soviet Union to permit the reunion of families and emigration of Russian Jews to Israel was voiced today by Dr. Nahum Goldmann in an address at the close of general debate at the 26th World Zionist Congress

He said the problem of Soviet Jewry would remain world Jewry’s number one problem and that it was the duty of Jews in the free world to arouse public opinion. “We do not accuse Russia of being an anti-Semitic state but we do charge that the Jewish minority is not recognized as a national minority and is in danger of total assimilation.” he declared.

He said there was a need to start “daring political action” to approach a solution to the problems endangering Israel’s existence. He cited the danger of the developing anti-Jewish offensive by the Arabs. He urged that the Arabs be warned regarding the danger of a cold war between them and Jewry and that a powerful reply must be prepared by Jews particularly in South American countries where, he said, the Arab attack was strongly felt.

Dr. Goldmann said he doubted the need to form within the Jewish Agency a new political department. He said this could lead to misunderstandings, particularly in the United States. He emphasized that immigration remained the central problem for Israel and the Zionist movement.

In his review, he stressed the necessity for mutual understanding between different religious groupings and between the religious and non-religious parts of the Jewish nation. He said there was a grave danger that religion would become the possession of a minority, causing a growing chasm between it and the majority.

He asserted that the structure of the World Zionist Organization, based on parties, falsified Jewish reality and that what was called Zionist democracy was “fictitious” in many countries. He said that while he was not suggesting that the Zionist parties be disbanded, he did believe that it was necessary to break their “monopoly” in the Zionist organization. He demanded appointment of a committee, not based on party alignments, to examine the problem and submit recommendations to the Actions Committee.


Mrs. Rose Halprin, chairman of the American Section of the Jewish Agency, also called for changes in the Zionist party structure. She said the 26th Congress, which was to have been the Congress of change, to do away with obsolete structures, had been repetitions. Asserting that Jewish communities were “tired” of party organizations, she told the delegates that “we need a radical diagnosis” to achieve revitalization and that youth must occupy the center of preoccupation.

Mrs. Halprin asserted that earlier Zionism was no longer viable. She added that while the synagogue must play its part in the preservation of Jewishness, “no one can impose Orthodoxy on us.” Only our own communities can solve these problems and bring about a renaissance in countries outside of Israel, she said.

Mrs. Charlotte Jacobson, president of Hadassah, said it was time for the Zionist executive to admit that “diaspora leadership has to solve diaspora problems.” She also urged mere fundamental discussion of the movement’s organizational faults. Abolition of the party representation at the Congress was urged by John Devor of the General Zionist Confederation of Canada.


Aryeh L. Pincus, Jewish Agency treasurer, said during the reply to the general debate that in the past four years 2,000 middle class families had been brought to Israel and settled by the Agency’s economic department dealing with middle class immigration. He said that they had established enterprises in Israel which now employ 30,000 workers. He said the Agency would increase its efforts to encourage such immigration.

He also said that the Congress had drawn up basic plans for action which were accompanied by understanding, vision and awareness that “immigration was essential for Israel an it was for Zionism and the Jewish people.” While the Congress had not proclaimed a program for immigration, he said, it was filled with faith that immigration was possible. He stressed that the supreme task of Zionism was to act together with the Israel Government without regard to party viewpoints.

The next plenary session of the Congress is set for Saturday evening. A picture of the leadership of the World Zionist Organization for the next four years emerged here today from deliberations of the Congress in which an executive comprising 19 members including one Sephardi was proposed. The proposal also called for the cooption into the executive of five noted Zionist personalities.

The Zionist Actions Committee will consist of 105 members–one for every five delegates–with the cooption of about 20 chairmen of Zionist federations from countries with Jewish populations of at least 20,000. Dr. Nahum Goldmann is certain to be elected president and Moshe Sharett as chairman of the executive. A.L. Pincus, Jewish Agency treasurer, will serve as acting chairman until Mr. Sharett recuperates from his illness.

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