See Image and Structure of WZO Altered, Movement Away from Role of Parties
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See Image and Structure of WZO Altered, Movement Away from Role of Parties

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The 27th World Zionist Congress has greatly altered the structure and image of the World Zionist Organization, which is moving away from the party principle toward a non-political alignment of groups and individuals whose primary aims are to foster immigration and support Israel. That assessment was made to the Jewish Telegraphic Agency today by Moshe Rivlin, director-general of the Jewish Agency.

Highlights of the resolutions to be adopted by the Congress’ plenum, were the decision to admit non-political organizations and individuals into the WZO, reduction in the number of Jewish Agency departments and executive members, the acceptance of unaffiliated aliyah (immigration) movements abroad, and representation granted to organized Jewish students. Another major accomplishment of the Congress, according to Mr. Rivlin, was the consolidation of the so-called Jerusalem Program. That program, adopted at the 1951 Congress, the first to be held after Israel achieved independence, stated the Zionist movement’s aims in very broad terms. They were the unification of the Jewish people, support of Israel and the “ingathering of the exiles.” The 27th Congress reduced the program to two basic goals: concentration of the Jewish nation in its historic homeland, meaning aliyah, and the establishment of Israel as the center of world Jewry, Mr. Rivlin said.

The accent was definitely on youth at the 27th Congress. The youngsters, particularly those affiliated with world-wide Jewish student organizations, made their presence felt by demonstrations and by vigorous lobbying for changes, often to the annoyance of many old timers. As a result of their campaigning, 15 Zionist youth organizations were voted representation on the Zionist Actions Committee, governing body of the WZO between Congresses, and four seats were granted to the World Union of Jewish Students. The latter had demanded more, but they were told they could gain additional representatives on the Actions Committee by joining the national Zionist federations in their respective countries. Two representatives of Independent aliyah movements were also voted seats on the Actions Committee.

The Congress adopted resolutions yesterday asking every Jewish family in the diaspora to send at least one of its children to settle in Israel and to purchase at least one dollar’s worth of Israel-made goods per week, per head.

The future composition of the Zionist Executive and the General Council was the subject of feverish bargaining this afternoon as the Congress moved into its final hours. The behind-the-scenes haggling was complicated by the Congress’ decision to reduce the number of Agency departments and consequently the number of executives. There was also the fact that many Zionist parties are mirror images of Israeli political parties and deals made here will have ramifications outside of the Zionist movement.

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