The Sixteenth Zionist Congress, which will begin its sessions in Zurich on July 28, will find the Zionist Organization in a stronger position and Palestine in a more encouraging condition as the extension of the Jewish Agency, to include Zionists and non-Zionists, is at hand. This optimistic note was sounded in a statement issued here by Dr. Chaim Weizmann, president of the World Zionist Organization, on the eve of the biennial international Zionist conference. The president of the World Zionist Organization appeals to his fellow-Zionists to consider the serious problems confronting the movement in Palestine and gives an outline of the tasks facing the movement and the country as the efforts for its rebuilding have entered a new phase.
As president of the World Zionist Organization, Dr. Weizmann declares that he finds it necessary for him to clearly indicate his views on the main questions of the day. The Congress will meet under conditions different from those under which the Fifteenth Congress was held. The storm-weathered Zionist Organization has been severely tried but has emerged stronger and with greater confidence than ever before. The financial position of the Palestine Zionist Executive has materially improved. Both agriculture and industry in Palestine show a marked expansion of Jewish activities. The number of unemployed Jewish workers in the country is negligible. The fact that the government of Palestine has granted six hundred and then 2,400 immigration certificates for two successive half-year periods proves that the tide has turned and a new era of progress is opening up in Palestine. A spirit of hopefulness and the conviction that steady, nay, even rapid progress is now possible prevails in Palestine. The country is once more on the march.
Under these encouraging conditions the last stage of the negotiations for the extension of the Jewish Agency has been reached. The economic possibilities of Palestine and its future as a field for Jewish colonization is now established beyond any reasonable doubt. The idea of the Jewish National Home is thus no longer a dream. The time has arrived for a concerted Jewish effort to take full advantage of the unique opportunity offered.
Throughout the Jewish world, in the United States, in Great Britain, in Germany, and in other countries, a great multitude of Jews, not hitherto actively associated with the Zionist movement, are awakening to the call of Palestine, under the leadership and inspiration of men with imagination, insight and statesmanlike vision. Some still ask whether their cooperation could not have been secured without enlarging the Jewish Agency. But, truly effective cooperation must take the form of a genuine partnership in which both parties share their joint responsibilities.
The propose constitution for the extended Jewish Agency will be laid before the Congress for ratification. The negotiations have been lengthy and laborious, but throughout they were conducted in a spirit of sincere good-will. The main features of the agreement are:
First, the fundamental purpose is to promote the establishment of the Jewish National Home in accordance with the provision of the Balfour Declaration and the Palestine Mandate;
Second, that the extended Jewish Agency discharges the function of the Jewish Agency as Article IV of the Palestine Mandate defines and use its best endeavors to insure the realization of the following fundamental aims, (a) the encouragement and furtherance of Jewish immigration to Palestine, (b) the fostering of the Hebrew language and Jewish culture, (c) the acquisition of land as the national property of the Jewish people, (d) the employment of Jewish labor in all undertakings under the auspices of the Jewish Agency, the promotion of agricultural colonization based on Jewish labor and giving the settlers freedom of choice as to the social form of the settlements as long as the requirements of economic efficiency are satisfied;
Third, that in the governing bodies of the extended Jewish Agency, fifty per cent of the seats shall be at the disposal of the Zionist Organization with its president as the president of the Jewish Agency, except when three-fourths of the members of the Agency Council expressly decide to the contrary;
Fourth, to place the resources of the Keren Hayesod (Palestine Foundation Fund) at the disposal of the Jewish Agency. The Keren Hayesod is to retain its present legal status, but the Jewish Agency is to nominate directors on its board. The Keren Kayemath (Jewish National Fund) will continue its separate existence, maintaining its unchanged relations with the Zionist Organization. The Keren Kayemath will hold the lands acquired with the funds of the Jewish Agency as the inalienable property of the Jewish people.
NO CHANGE IN MANDATE TEXT NEEDED
No question arises, continues Dr. Weizmann in his statement, about changing the text of the Palestine Mandate in connection with the extension of the Jewish Agency. This is not necessary because of the provision
PROGRAM OF FUTURE WORK OUTLINED
The Sixteenth Zionist Congress will have to prepare a program for the future work. It will have to give immediate attention to the following tasks.
First, to secure a land reserve on a sufficiently large scale in order to enable the colonizing activities to proceed systematically and unhindered. It is hoped that the Keren Kayemath, in conjunction with the Jewish Agency, will carry out a land policy on a scale commensurate with its needs;
Second, to provide the necessary equipment for the colonies established in recent years, which were unfairly handicapped.
Third, to place Jewish labor on a more sure foundation, enabling immigration to continue on an increasing scale.
The network of the Hebrew educational institutions will form an essential feature in the establishment of the new National Home, but the type of the children’s instruction must be left to the determination of the parents, in accordance with their desire.
Â£750,000 MINIMUM ANNUAL BUDGET FOR TWO YEARS
After the ratification of the constitution for the Jewish Agency, the Zionist Congress will have to consider a minimum budget of Â£750,000 annually for the two ensuing years. This budget is to include provisions for an increased immigration and colonization work. It will not include the income of the Keren Kayemath. It is reasonable to hope that before the Seventeenth Congress will go into session, a million pound budget will become a reality. The task of the Agency will be to devise suitable means for securing the necessary resources, either as a loan or as an investment. Simultancously, however, it would be illusionary to suppose that it is now possible for Zionists to slacken their efforts in behalf of the Keren Hayesod and the Keren Kayemath.
FRIENDLY RELATIONS WITH MANDATORY AND ARABS CONTINUED POLICY
The political work, when the Agency comes into existence, must continue in the direction of maintaining friendly relations with the Mandatory Power and with the Palestine administration in the spirit of mutual good-will and confidence. This is axiomatic, but it does not prevent us from utilizing every legitimate means to safeguard the rights of the Yishub in relation to the National Home. There is no reason for a doubt that the enlarged Agency will follow a similar policy which will be strengthened in authority and prestige both by the impetus which the Agency will give to the constructive work in Palestine and because it will speak not only in behalf of the Zionist Organization but also in behalf of large and important bodies which have hitherto stood aloof. The relations with the Arabs remain friendly. We are determined to do everything in order to promote friendly, neighborly relations with them, based upon mutual respect and understanding. Our temporary difficulties do not affect our fundamental aim.
Dr. Weizmann further states in his message that he finds it necessary to warn Zionists to refrain from indulging in rash adventures and in unauthorized intervention in the political field. Such interventions gravely prejudice the task of the Zionist Organization.
AGENCY CONSUMMATION ZIONISTS’ TRIUMPH, NO SURRENDER
The enlargement of the Jewish Agency is a triumph for the Zionist movement, Dr. Weizmann declares. Large numbers of Jews who hitherto have taken no active part in the Zionist work are now deeply moved to join the work of reconstruction. The Zionist Organization has never claimed nor desired a monopoly on Palestine. It is therefore ready to share with others the privileges and the responsibilities of the Jewish Agency. This does not, however, imply a change of the Zionist standpoint or a surrender of ideals. The Zionist ideals remain the foundation of the Zionist creed.
The question of maintaining and strengthening the Zionist Organization is now of the utmost urgency and importance, because never before had the Zionist Organization to do more fruitful or significant work. It is therefore the duty of the Congress to carefully consider the problems which arise. The various federations must endeavor to perfect their organizations.
ZIONISM SHOWS RECUPERATIVE POWERS
In conclusion Dr. Weizmann declares that he has endeavored to outline the program which he deems it his duty to submit to the forthcoming Congress, pointing out the major questions on which it will be called upon to form a definite judgment.
The Congress is meeting under exceptionally hopeful conditions. The Zionist Organization, despite the severe strain, shows recuperative powers which are a striking evidence of the movement’s vitality. He feels sure that the Congress will recognize the obligations which the historic moment imposes and will rise to the height of its responsibility.
The Archive of the Jewish Telegraphic Agency includes articles published from 1923 to 2008. Archive stories reflect the journalistic standards and practices of the time they were published.