Palestine Jewry through its national representative body elected six delegates to the non-Zionist part of the Council of the extended Jewish Agency at a special session held here on July 3 and 4.
Those elected are: Chaim Nachman Bialik, Hebrew poet; J. Ben Zwi and Aranowitz, labor leaders; Joseph Meyuchas of Jerusalem, Rabbi Ben Zion of Tel Aviv, Mizrachi leader; and Mr. Miller, a colonist of Rehoboth. Twelve alternates were chosen including the following; Dr. I. Thon, Rabbi Shapiro, M. Kalvarisky, Mrs. Azaryahu, Rachel Kateznelson and Ada Fishman.
The election was preceded by a bitter fight among the factions attending the conference of the Assefath Ha’nivcharim (Assembly of the Elected) constituting the national body which elects the Vaad Leumi, the National Council of Palestine Jews. The Zionist Revisionists, headed by Vladimir Jabotinsky, conducted an obstructionist fight to prevent the election and when the majority overrode their objections they declared that they are opposed to the Jewish Agency and left the proceedings.
Ittamar Ben Avi, asserting that he speaks in behalf of “the farmers, the citizens’ group, the general Zionists and factions of Polish Jewish groups, declared that he does not recognize the election since the parties he mentioned were not represented. Dissatisfaction was said to exist in the center group because its candidate, Moses Smilansky, writer and agriculturist, was defeated by the vote of the laborites who opposed him on account of his labor views.
Ten days before the session of the Assciath Ha’nivcharim, Vladimir Ja-
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botinsky addressed an open letter to the Vaad Leumi, the convening body, in which he declared that Palestine Jews as a community are not entitled to elect representatives to the Jewish Agency, which has not yet been considered or ratified by the Zionist Congress. He further demanded that the Vaad Leumi reject the proposal of the Palestine government to disqualify non-citizens from membership in the Assefath Ha’nivcharim.
When the session opened on July 3, a sharp incident between the presiding officer, Dr. Thon, and Vladimir Jabotinsky, developed, leading to a tumult and a break-up of the meeting. Jabotinsky, protesting against the point on the agenda calling for the election of Jewish Agency representatives, characterized the proposed election procedure a “praesidium swindle,” to which Dr. Thon replied that the speaker “ought to be ashamed.” The Revisionists and their friends then demanded that Dr. Thon leave the chair, which he was eventually compelled to do. Feeling ran high in the assembly against the Revisionists, who were evidently determined to prevent the contemplated action. Tumultous scenes recurred, the Revisionists claiming that their delegates were beaten by the laborites in a scuffle. It was stated that some of the labor delegates wrested Jabotinsky’s cane from him, with which he was alleged to have made threatening gestures. Police were called to stand guard at the meeting.
When the session was resumed at ten o’clock in the morning on July 4, the tumult continued when Jabotinsky insisted that the assembly was its own sovereign and is entitled to determine its own agenda, seeking to remove the election of Jewish Agency representatives from the program. A vote was taken and by a majority of 72 to 26, it was decided to adhere to the agenda prepared by the Vaad Leumi, namely, to proceed with the election of Jewish Agency representatives. The Revisionists then charged the Vaad Leumi with continuing its existence illegally. Jabotinsky further asserted that the praesidium of the assembly was improperly elected. A new praesidium was then chosen consisting of six members, Messrs. Thon, Meyuchas, Ostrowsky, Remez, Dr. Mossensohn, and a Yemenite Jew. The labor delegates then demanded that the plainclothes police be removed from the hall. This demand was carried out.
When the assembly was about to hold the election, Jabotinsky, accompanied by eleven other Revisionists, left the meeting after reading a declaration setting forth their opposition to the Jewish Agency and to the election of Palestine delegates under present conditions.
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.