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Formulate Plans for Strengthening Jewish Tradition in Palestine

September 1, 1926
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(Jewish Telegraphic Agency Mail Service)

The work of the Mizrachi, the Orthodox wing of the Zionist movement, and its endeavors to instill Jewish religious traditions in Jewish life in Palestine simultaneously with the upbuilding work, were reviewed at the international conference of the organization held here.

In his message to the conference, Chief Rabbi A. I. Kook of Palestine stated that although he could not at the moment pub forward any practical proposals, he hoped that the Palestinian delegates to the Conference would make a strong stand for the support of the religious institutions and of religious education.

Rabbi Meier Berlin, President of the Mizrachi, said that since the Mizrachi Executive had been transferred to Palestine its influence on world Jewry had grown and was penetrating even to the circles of the Left. The educational system had made strong progress. The two or three Mizrachi schools had now grown to fifty schools in a high state of development with 4,900 pupils. The teachers’ training seminary of the Mizrachi could serve as a model to similar institutions. The Mizrachi devoted special attention to the immigration of middle-class elements to Palestine. It also assisted Chaluzim and workers to obtain a footing in Palestine. The Mizrachi bank had done much in this direction, he said.

Deputy H. Farbstein was elected President of the Conference and Dr. Hoffman, Rabbi Amiel, Rabbi Ostrovsky, Rabbi Devries, Rabbi Teitelbaum, Rabbi Federbusch, Rabbi Neufeld, and Messrs. Hermann, Struck and Barth were elected vice-presidents. Deputy Nurok, Rabbi Biedermann, Rabbi Keller and Rabbi Schor were elected to the Secretariat.

M. Jean Fischer welcomed the Conference on behalf of the World Zionist Organization.

Rabbi Fischman delivered a report on the work in Palestine. The Mizrachists, he said, came into the country bearing the Torah with them, and they had only one aim–to build up Palestine in the Jewish spirit. He spoke of the attitude adopted by the Mizrachi in internal Palestinian questions such as the Jewish National Assembly (Asefath Hanivcharim), women’s suffrage, etc., and he declared in the name of Rabbi Kook that the Chief Rabbi had not proclaimed a prohibition against participating in the elections to the National Assembly. Rabbi Fischman criticized the attitude of the Agudah, which, he said, destroyed the unity in the community. At the last Congress, he declared, even the Left wing had voted for the religious budget.

M. M. Ussischkin, the head of the Jewish National Fund, delivered an address in which he said:

“We have two declarations: the Balfour Declaration, and the other still the Declaration which Moses signed.

“Although the diplomats cut up Palestine and narrowed it down,” he proceeded, “we must state with pain that less than 5% or 6% of the area of this small Palestine is in Jewish possession. The peasant who works his land is still the guardian of the country. “Redeem your country and your country will redeem you,” he appealed to the delegates.

Deputy Farbstein delivered an address on the political questions in Zionism. He opposed the view of some Mizrachists that the Mizrachi should be only a religious and not a political party. He described the present world position of Zionism and the political aims of the World Zionist Organization and of the Mizrachi. The successful construction work in Palestine, he said, strengthens the Zionist position all over the world.

On the last day of the Conference. Rabbi Berlin reporting on the practical work of the Mizrachi, said that this was directed towards raising in Palestine a religious Judaism. Education is the foundation stone of future Jewry. The Mizrachi must build up in Palestine a secondary school system and provide for the graduates of the secondary schools a Yeshiva in which secular studies too, such as agronomy should be taught in order to unite the Torah and labor. He appealed to the Mizrachi rabbis to engage in propaganda from their pulpits on behalf of the Mizrachi ideals.

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