Menu JTA Search

Dulzin Says Aliya is No Longer a Theory but a Duty, a Mitzvah

SIGN UP FOR THE JTA DAILY BRIEFING

Leon Dulzin, acting chairman of the World Zionist Organization, declared here tonight that aliya is the major task confronting Israel and the Zionist movement and demanded that every family that calls itself Zionist send at least one member to Israel as a settler and “he will bring the others.” Dulzin also accused government economic policies of discouraging aliya.

Addressing the opening session of the annual meeting of the Zionist General Council in the presence of President Ephraim Katzir, Premier Yitzhak Rabin and other Israeli and Zionist leaders as well as the hundreds of delegates, observers and guests who packed the Jerusalem convention hall, Dulzin asserted that Zionism was no longer a theory but a date. The major task, he said, is aliya and there was no justification for satisfaction with decisions and declarations because the time has come for action.

“Despite a general consensus recognizing the need for aliya, aliya is at a low,” Dulzin said. “The gates are open (in the West) but why is the number of immigrants from those countries so small?” he asked. “If we, the Zionists, do not serve as an example, we shall have no right to speak of aliya. For the Zionist, aliya is no longer theory but rather a duty, a realization and a mitzvah.”

ALIYA INTERLINKED WITH ECONOMIC SITUATION

Dulzin, a leader of the opposition Liked and a candidate for the WZO chairmanship, took sharp issue with the Treasury for allegedly failing to understand the interrelation between aliya and Israel’s economic situation and failure to con-consult with the Zionist movement on the possible effects of economic issues on immigration.

“Economic slowdown and unemployment will cause not only a drop in aliya but also yerida (emigration)” he warned. “We must see aliya and employment not only from the point of view of the balance of payments and its foreign currency resources because aliya nourishes the economy and the country’s manpower and it has an enormous contribution to the economic development of the country.”

Dulzin, who has been acting chairman of the WZO Executive since the death of Pinhas Sapir last August, spoke frankly of the deficiencies in the country’s immigration and absorption processes and offered some solutions. He said the entire absorption machinery needed investigating and proposed a united absorption authority incorporating the government, the Jewish Agency and voluntary organizations.

He said that aliya emissaries sent abroad should no longer be selected on a political basis but open to general applicants which would enable every Jew to propose himself as a candidate. With respect to preparations for the next World Zionist Congress to be held in Jerusalem at the end of the year. Dulzin said the affiliation of international Jewish organizations with the WZO was a good start but further changes in the Zionist movement were required.

“I call upon the political parties to give up willingly part of their power to make the Zionist movement not only a movement of a million registered members but a movement of the majority of the Jewish people,” he said.

SOCIAL, MORAL ISSUES CITED

Yitzhak Navon, chairman of the General Council who also addressed the opening session, said he was more concerned by social aberrations in Israel than by the severe political and economic problems facing the country. “There is one sphere which we cannot consent to. It is the phenomenon of moral violations and the rise of violence,” Navon said in apparent reference to the rising incidence of violent crime in Israel.

“We stand ashamed and disgraced almost every morning. This is not the image we wanted to create, this is not the child we prayed for,” he said. The social and moral issues top the list of priorities “because they are the key to all other problems,” Navon said.

Yaacov Tsur, chairman of the Jewish National Fund, eulogized the late Pinhas Sapir. The audience stood for a minute of silence in his memory.

NEXT STORY