Sapir Acclaimed New Chairman of Jewish Agency Executive
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Sapir Acclaimed New Chairman of Jewish Agency Executive

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Premier Yitzhak Rabin, former Premier Golda Meir and most of the Cabinet were present at the Jewish Agency General Assembly late this afternoon to witness the election of former Finance Minister Pinhas Sapir as chairman of the Jewish Agency Executive. Last night, the Zionist General Council elected Sapir chairman of the World Zionist Organization Executive. He succeeds the late Louis Pincus in the dual chairmanships.

Sapir was nominated by the New York builder and philanthropist Jack Weiler who described the veteran Israeli leader as one of the great Jews of this generation. Sapir said later that for some time he had wanted to devote himself mainly to immigration and absorption work and would gladly have served under Pincus’ chairmanship.

Sapir described the Jewish Agency as a “true and practical expression of the identification of the Jewish people with our endeavors” in Israel. “Let us build here a society based on a foundation of social justice, a nation living in peace with its neighbors,” he declared in his acceptance speech. He stressed the support of world Jewry for Israel, observing that “we were all brothers in time of anxiety as well as partners in a venture of creation….All this we have done in accordance with the ancient Jewish tradition that all Jews are responsible for one another,'” he said. He had warm praise for Mrs. Meir, referring to her as “This great woman to whom we all owe so much.”

The Herut and General Zionist factions abstained when Sapir was elected WZO Executive chairman last night. Prof. Howard Ableson, of Herut, said his group did not vote for Sapir because he opposed a national unity government for Israel. Herman Weisman, of the General Zionists, said his faction had favored Leon Dulzin for the post. Dulzin, who was acting chairman since Pincus’ death and who continues to serve as Jewish Agency treasurer, praised Sapir for undertaking leadership of the Zionist movement even though it meant giving up an important government position and prospects for an even higher one.


Dulzin presented a $701.6 million Agency budget for the fiscal year that began April 1. He said this would provide services for 100.000 new immigrants, 100,000 high school youths receiving scholarships, 100,000 persons in agricultural settlements, and 175,000 welfare cases. Dulzin pointed out the immense contributions of immigrants to Israeli economy as well as the strong link between the Jewish Agency budget and the Israeli economy.

Ezra Shapiro, chairman of the Keren Haye-sod-United Israel Appeal, said that an unprecedented $410 million was contributed by world Jewry in 69 countries outside the United States since the Yom Kippur War, which is two and a half times more than the sum after the Six-Day War of 1967.

Ballet dancers Galina and Valery Panov appeared before the Jewish Agency General Assembly meeting last night and received a standing ovation. The two were visibly moved and Panov thanked world Jewry for its help in their emigration from the Soviet Union. “We had very difficult times,” Panov said. “We were persecuted all the time, and when we thought we could not endure any more, Jewish friends came to us and said: If you fall, we shall fall. If you stand up to them so shall we. And then things went better.”

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