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Navon Says Zionist Congress Court ‘unintentionally Grievously Wronged’ Him in Its Criticism

Yitzhak Navon, chairman of the Zionist General Council, upon learning of the criticism leveled against him last Sunday by the Zionist Congress Court in Jerusalem, sent a cable to Supreme Court Justice Moshe Landau who also heads the Congress Court that the Congress Court had “unintentionally grievously wronged” him in accusing him of “by-passing the democratic process.”

A decision by the Congress Court (reported in the JTA Bulletin Nov. 2) overturned last July’s decision by the Zionist Council not to hold elections for delegates to the 29th Zionist Congress scheduled for January, 1977. As part of that decision, the Court sharply criticized Navon for “by-passing the democratic process” by allegedly refusing to recognize the WZO counsel, Zvi Klementinovsky, and not permitting him to present his legal objections to the Council proposition.

In his cable Tuesday to Landau, Navon; who is in the United States on a business trip, stated that a member of the Zionist Actions Committee, Raphael Kotlowitz, chairman of the Herut faction, had requested that the WZO counsel express his views on the proposal regarding delegate elections. Navon cabled that “I advised him (Kotlowitz) that it was inappropriate for him to speak in the name of the counsel, who was present with us in the meeting hall and who, if he desired to make any comment, was welcome to do so.”

The counsel, Navon continued, did not ask to be recognized, adding that had he asked for the floor Navon would, as in the past, have recognized him “without any difficulty.” Navon concluded his cable by noting that the Congress Court had “grievously wronged” him in its reprimand.

FIVE SUPPORT NAVON’S VIEW

Navon’s version was supported in an additional cable by five members of the Zionist General Council–Charlotte Jacobson, Arthur Hertzberg, Allen Pollack, Emanuel Rackman and Kalman Sultanik–on the basis of their recollections of what transpired last July. Their cable to Landau stated:

“In the course of the discussion, Actions Committee member Kotlowitz stated to chairman Navon that he ought to give the floor to Klementinovsky. Chairman Navon then said that if Klementinovsky wanted to speak he would recognize him upon his request. Chairman Navon half turned to Klementinovsky who remained silent and did not ask for the floor then or at any later point in the session. We therefore feel that in light of the above facts, the Court’s criticism of Navon was completely unwarranted.”

(According to a report today from Jerusalem, the Court, in reaction to those cables, published the protocol of last July’s session with no additional comment, implying that the Court’s criticism of Navon was justified.)

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