Menu JTA Search

WZO Chairmanship Compromise Smoothes Rift Between Zionists, Non-zionists at Jewish Agency General As

SIGN UP FOR THE JTA DAILY BRIEFING

The World Zionist Organization appears to have paved the way toward reconciliation between the Zionist and non-Zionist elements of the Jewish Agency. The WZO Executive decided this week that the chairmanships of the various WZO departments, elected at the World Zionist Congress next December, will remain open for the following 30 days subject to the advice and consent of the non-Zionist half of the Jewish Agency.

The decision was seen as a concession to the non-Zionists and an attempt to arrest the deterioration of relations between the two halves of the Jewish Agency. It applies to such key WZO departments as Aliya, Youth Aliya, Education and Settlement. Persons elected to the chairmanship of those departments automatically assume chairmanship of their Jewish Agency counterparts.

The decision does not apply, however, to the elected chairman of the WZO Executive, who is also chairman of the Jewish Agency Executive. But the advise and consent procedure for department heads would give the WZO a degree of flexibility, allowing it to shuffle portfolios if the non-Zionists should reject a particular individual for a particular department.

APPARENT DISSATISFACTION

There has been mounting dissatisfaction in the non-Zionist constituency with the election process at World Zionist Congresses, which involves inter-party politicking. In recent years, several Zionist nominees were rejected by fund-raising leaders who comprise the non-Zionist group.

Leon Dulzin, chairman of the WZO and Jewish Agency Executives who addressed the Jewish Agency Assembly meeting here this week, warned against “a power struggle” between the two Agency partners. “I have been disturbed by voices I have heard lately on both sides: We give the money, we will make the decisions,’ or Dulzin said. He urged a complete merger of the two wings and resolved to erase the term non-Zionist from the vocabulary because it is “anachronistic and irrelevant.”

NEXT STORY