JERUSALEM (Jan. 31)
A controversial resolution that created a serious rift between diaspora and some Israeli Zionists when it was adopted at the closing session of the 28th World Zionist Congress last week, was declared unconstitutional today by Dr. Aharon Zwergbaum, legal adviser to the World Zionist Organization. Dr. Zwergbaum’s decision was announced by WZO Executive Chairman Louis A. Pincus. The Hadassah delegation was so incensed by the resolution that it walked out of the Congress hall en bloc on Friday.
The resolution, which stipulated that any office holder in the Zionist Movement must obligate himself to aliya after serving no more than two terms in office or be deposed, was introduced by the Israeli Zionist Council. It was strongly supported by young delegates of the Mapam and Labor factions and was adopted by a 104-92 vote.
Dr. Zwergbaum stated in his opinion that any resolution which seeks to determine who can be elected to Zionist office is clearly of a constitutional nature and therefore must be brought up as an amendment to the WZO constitution with more than half the Congress members present and needs a two-thirds majority to be adopted. He noted that the resolution in question was adopted at a session at which less than 20 percent of the members were present and by a narrow majority far short of the required two-thirds.
According to Zwergbaum, the resolution also conflicts with the paragraph in the WZO constitution that gives each Zionist Federation freedom to elect its own leadership as it sees fit. The legal adviser’s opinion must be confirmed by unanimous vote of the WZO Executive. If it fails to achieve unanimity it can be tested in the Zionist Congress Tribunal.
At a press conference today, Pincus said the participation of young delegates in the Congress was one of its more positive features. Even if youth overstepped the bounds of proper behavior at times, he said, this may be due to honest convictions and not just a desire to attract attention. He said the period between the Congress’ elections and its convening was too short to allow all parties time to explain to their youthful new delegates what the Congress is all about. Pincus was critical of the intolerance that some Israeli delegates, mostly the young ones, displayed toward diaspora delegates and towards their own colleagues of different ideology.