JERUSALEM (Dec. 15)
Labor Party chairman Shimon Peres charged today that the government’s settlement policy was weakening Israel and leading it toward “a military future rather than a political future.”
Addressing the 30th World Zionist Congress, Peres maintained that the settlements did not add Jews to Israel but only dispersed them in a different form. A settlement policy should give priority to those places which could attract potential immigrants, he said, mainly the capital, Jerusalem.
Peres stressed that no one wants a compromise that would weaken Israel. But, he warned, In the absence of a solution to the Palestinian problem, in the absence of Israeli readiness for compromise and in the absence of aliya, Israel faces a military future rather than a political future.”
If the present policy continues, he said, “We shall become either equal or a minority in our own country because of the rate of birth, because of the lack of aliya and because we shall devote too much of our energies to control the Arabs instead of investing in the development of our own country.”
Peres’ speech was one of the few delivered in its entirety without the partisan heckling or other disorders that have marred this Congress almost from its opening a week ago. The opposition leader placed the greatest emphasis on the economy and aliya.
EMPHASIZES ECONOMY AND ALIYA
Israel’s economy must be advanced and made more independent. Science and technology should focus on developments that will attract more young educated Jews from the diaspora, Peres said. Declaring that “Israel is not a business, it is a human experience” he called on every Jewish family around the world to send at least one member to Israel. Aliya must be a priority and the Jewish people must be involved in determining Israel’s future, he said.
Peres agreed with the view expressed by Leon Dulzin chairman of the World Zionist Organization Executive, in his keynote speech to the Congress last week that the Zionist movement should be re-organized on a geographical rather than a partisan basis. Party politics are an obstacle to achieving Zionist goals, Peres said.
ISSUE OF ANTI-SEMITISM
The Congress devoted its plenary session yesterday to the alarming increase of anti-Semitism all over the world. The delegates resolved to express their disgust over the “shocking incidents of anti-Semitism that have taken place abroad recently” and called on all governments and nations to speak out against anti-Semitism as well as other forms of discrimination based on race, religion or political differences.
One speaker, Prof. Yehuda Bauer of Tel Aviv University, contended that the United Nations was currently the center of world-wide anti-Semitism. Bauer also warned of the motives behind the strong pro-Israel stand of Protestant fundamentalists in the United States. “They want the Jews to return to Zion in fulfillment of Biblical prophecy. They don’t want Jews in America. They won’t banish the Jews, but the intent of their beliefs is clear,” he said.
The Congress delegates, who had more than their share of excitement this week, including a bout of fisticuffs during a heated political debate Monday, got another jolt today, of a non-partisan nature. The plenary session, broadcast over a closed circuit television system to all parts of the vast Binyanei Ha’coma convention center, was suddenly replaced by a porno movie. The “adult” flick was on for some time before the screens were blacked out. Security officers launched an investigation to find the culprits.
RESOLUTIONS BEING DRAFTED
As the Congress moved toward adjournment tomorrow, its various committees were at work drafting resolutions. The aliya and absorption committee approved a proposal calling on all Zionist leaders and Congress delegates to immigrate to Israel. The committee also recommended that the Congress demand the establishment of an aliya and absorption authority. Such a recommendation was made seven years ago but was never acted upon by the Jewish Agency or the government.