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Zionist General Council Concludes Session; Constitution Project for Extended Jewish Agency Adopted

December 27, 1928
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Provisions Not Made Public; At Least Two East European Countries, Including Poland Must Choose Representatives Before Agency Council Is Constituted; Zionist Congress to be Held July 28, 1929; Increase of Palestine Budget Demanded by Miss Szold; Wise Leads in Heated Discussion on Proxies for American Non-Zionists (Jewish Telegraphic Agency)

At least two East European countries, including Poland, must choose their representatives to the extended Jewish Agency before the Council of the Agency can be constituted.

This provision was made in a resolution adopted by the Zionist General Council at its concluding session held early Tuesday morning.

The Zionist Congress, the sixteenth to be held since the organization of the movement by Dr. Theodor Herzl thirty years ago, is to be convened July 28, 1929, in one of the principal European cities. The place where the Congress is to be held will be named by the Zionist Executive of London in conjunction with the chairman of the Zionist General Council, Dr. Leo Motzkin.

A draft of a constitution for the extended Jewish Agency which is to be composed of Zionists and non-Zionists, was prepared by the General Council following a lengthy discussion.

The provisions of this constitution are not known, as the Council decided not to make the document public. It is understood, however, that it differs radically from the draft submitted for consideration by the London Zionist Executive. The text adopted is that prepared by a special commission appointed by the General Council, with some amendments which were brought in during the discussion.

An important feature in the discussion on the Jewish Agency constitution was the question of whether or not members of the Jewish Agency Council can vote by proxy. In the resolution adopted by the Non-Zionist Conference held in New York City on October 21 under the chairmanship of Louis Marshall, it is provided that all members of the contemplated Jewish Agency Council may at all times have the right to vote by proxy.

Dr. Stephen S. Wise, who participated in the General Council session, vigorously opposed this provision. He also demanded that the Council lay down in unmistakable terms the program and purpose of the extended Jewish Agency. Another matter of wide interest was the discussion on what constitutes a “non-Zionist,” eligible for election to the Council of the Jewish Agency in that section of fifty percent, of the representation allotted to the non-Zionists.

David Remez, Palestine labor leader, asserted that according to Zionist conceptions, a non-Zionist is he who is not a member of the Zionist Organization. Under this interpretation, even Zionist bodies which are not corporate parts of the Zionist Organization may be classified as non-Zionists. Dr. Selig Brodetsky, member of the London Zionist Executive, and Nahum Sokolow, chairman of the Executive, concurred with this view.

What the final decision on the matter was, both with regard to the question of proxies and the definition of a non-Zionist, could not be learned.

A resolution that the Jewish Agency should not begin to function before the representatives of Poland to that Agency are chosen, introduced at the last session by Dr. Max Soloweitschik, Radical Zionist, who opposed the Jewish Agency plan, was rejected and instead a resolution offered by Dr. M. Hindes urging all Zionist factions and groups in Poland to hasten the election of Poland’s representatives to the Agency, so that their names be available before the Zionist Congress goes into session, was adopted.

Deputy Isaac Gruenbaum, die-hard opponent of the Jewish Agency plan, read a declaration stating that he will continue his fight against the extension of the Jewish Agency until the matter is finally decided at the Sixteenth Zionist Congress.

Before adjourning, the General Council decided to hold another session in Jerusalem during the Passover season.

An all-night session was set aside Monday for the consideration of the other points on the agenda, including the questions of immigration, education, the transference of Dr. Herzl’s remains to Palestine and the Wailing Wall question.

Dr. Selig Brodetsky in charge of the political work of the Zionist Executive in London reported extensively on the political aspects of the Zionist work. The point of view of the Zionist Executive is that the government of Palestine must now create greater possibilities for enlarging Jewish immigration. “We have worked until now for the benefit of the country and we must expect of the Mandatory Power a positive attitude of support,” he stated.

Miss Henrietta Szold, American member of the Zionist Executive in Jerusalem, reported on the internal situation in Palestine. At present there are in the country 1,632 unemployed Jewish workers, she stated. The government has recently granted two hundred immigration certificates for the admission of Zionist exiles from Russia and 30 certificates for the admission of persecuted Yemenite Jews from Aden. An increase in the Zionist budget to the extent of £20,000 is necessary she urged.

Dr. Felix Rosenbluth reported on the question of transferring to Palestine for reburial, the remains of Dr. Theodor Herzl. The Executive, he stated, has solved all technical and legal difficulties but it has not yet decided on the date when the transfer is to be effected.

On the question of immigration the Zionist Council decided to urge the Executive to make use of the 300 immigration certificates for chaluzim which still remain unused. As for the next year, the Council recommended that the Executive ask for 2,000 certificates of entry for chaluzim.

Dr. Victor Jacobson reported on the political work of the Zionist Executive in Geneva, at the seat of the League of Nations.

The question as to what is to be preferred, a unified or an individual system of education, came up when Rabbi Meyer Berlin, president of the Mizrachi, Orthodox Zionist Organization, introduced an interpellation concerning an occurrence in the colony Zichron Jacob. The Orthodox leader demanded that the inhabitants of any given settlement or colony be given the right to choose their own school system. The acceptance of financial support from the Zionist Executive for maintenance of the school should not carry with it an obligation to adhere to the principles embodied in the general Hebrew schools maintained by the Executive. In such cases the colony may elect to have the Orthodox school system, the general system or that of the laborites. Dr. M. Glueckson, editor of the “Ha’Aretz,” stated it was essential for the future of Palestine that the unified school system be guarded. Miss Henrietta Szold objected to Rabbi Berlin’s demand, calling forth applause from the delegates.

A resolution was adopted urging the Zionist Executive to take steps during the forthcoming year to facilitate the settlement on the land of city workers in what is termed “a light colonization project,” that is, gardening and similar agricultural occupations.

David Remez proposed a plan by which the employment of Jewish workers in state works may be secured.

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