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At the 30th World Zionist Congress; Assembly Ends with No Consensus on Government’s Settlement Polic

The 30th World Zionist Congress ended here on an uncertoin note. No consensus was reached on the fiercely controversial issue of the government’s settlement policies in the occupied territories and inter-party wrangling over the composition of the new World Zionist Organization Executive continued to the very end.

Leon Dulzin, who ran unopposed, was unanimously re-elected chairman of the WZO Executive which it was agreed, will be composed of 35 members. There was some reshuffling of portfolios but the final allocations were not completed when the weary delegates wound up the Congress at dawn Friday with the singing of Hatikva. It was supposed to have ended Thursday night.

The issue of settlement policies came to a head last Wednesday when the Labor Zionists and the World Confederation of United Zionists, comprising a majority of the Plenum, approved a resolution pointing to the dangers of increasing Jewish settlements in the heavily Arab-populated regions of the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

The Congress presidium refused to accept the resolution and a “good-will” subcommittee made up of delegates from all of the major parties went to work to try to reach a formulation acceptable to all. But after laboring for two days, the Congress declared that it “could not reach consensus on the settlement subject.”

It approved instead a general resolution expressing hope for the establishment of peace “based on secure and defensible borders, a peace that will allow blossoming and creativity” in the territories.

BEGIN INTERVENES FOR TAMI FACTION

Congress sources confirmed that Premier Menachem Begin’s personal Intervention helped secure one Executive seat for Aharon Abu-Hatzeira’s Tomi faction although on the basis of its Knesset strength it sent only 18 delegates to the Congress, five short of the minimum necessary for representation on the WZO Executive. Abu-Hatzeiro reportedly threatened to pull his three-man Sephardic-based faction out of Begin’s coalition government if Tami was denied a place on the Executive.

Similarly, Mizrachi retained its three seats on the WZO Executive despite the fact that the National Religious Party with which it is affiliated dropped from 12 to six seats in the last Knesset elections. Mizrachi reportedly was prevailed upon to relinquish its youth aliya department portfolio and settle for the less prestigious hasbara (information) department.

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