Zionist General Council Pledges Support of Begin Government
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Zionist General Council Pledges Support of Begin Government

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The Zionist General Council ended its meetings here with a pledge of support for the new government of Premier Menachem Begin and its promised efforts to seek peace at the Geneva conference on the basis of Security Council Resolutions 242 and 338. The sessions, which adjourned Friday, were the last to be held by the governing body of the World Zionist Organization until the 29th World Zionist Congress convenes here next February.

Meanwhile, the Jewish Agency’s General Assembly will begin its annual meeting here tonight. It is expected to approve a $457 million budget for the next fiscal year based on an estimated immigration of 20,000.

The General Council was addressed by Begin Thursday night. He reasserted Israel’s claim to “Eretz Israel” — embracing the Judaea and Samaria regions — which, he contended did not contradict Resolution 242. According to Israel’s interpretation, that document requires its “withdrawal of forces from territories”, not “the territories”.

Begin said Israel has a right to claim the West Bank regions for itself and that the claim did not constitute a pre-condition for negotiations with its Arab neighbors. He told the assembled Zionist leaders that Israel has “a good chance” to prevail in its struggle against the establishment of a Palestinian state and against the return to its 1967 borders.


Begin painted a horrendous picture of what could happen if Israel, confined to its 1967 lines, was the target of a massive attack by the Arab countries. He stressed Israel’s common interest with the free world which he depicted as stopping the expansion of Communism. He charged that the Palestine Liberation Organization serves Communist goals in the Middle East and that Cuba does the same in Africa.

Begin also dwelt at length on the differences between Israel’s fighting forces, including the pre-State underground groups, and the “murderers” who used terror against Israel.

In a series of resolutions adopted at its closing session, the General Council expressed deep concern over the condition of Syrian Jews and called on world opinion to compel President Hafez Assad of Syria to honor his promise to allow Jews in his country their basic human rights. The Council also supported demands that Jews forced to leave Arab countries receive compensation on an individual and collective basis.

The General Council called on the Jewish Agency and its various bodies to strengthen its aliya efforts by increased contacts with the aliya movements in various countries. It endorsed the Jewish Agency’s aliya department’s recommendation that the settlement department draft plans for a new collective absorption program.

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