U.S. Delegates Discuss Zionist Issues at Actions Committee
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U.S. Delegates Discuss Zionist Issues at Actions Committee

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Expressing what appeared to be the opinion of the majority of the members of the American delegation at the session of the Zionist Actions Committee now being held here, Mrs. Rose Halprin, Hadassah leader and member of the Jewish Agency executive, took issue today with David Ben Gurion, retired Premier of Israel, who implied in his letter yesterday to the Actions Committee that immigration to Israel is a major obligation of Zionists.

Mrs. Halprin said that Jewish youth in the United States must first be made to feel Jewish and it must be educated in Judaism and in Zionism. “You, in Israel, must become the ethical force to which the Jewish youth in countries outside of Israel can look for inspiration,” she declared. In the course of her speech, she severely criticized the Kibya incident.

Dr. Israel Goldstein told the session that he opposed the proposal to broaden the Zionist Organization so as to give non-Zionists the opportunity to participate in activities affecting the Zionist movement. He said any plan to broaden the organization would result in weakening the existing Zionist movement. He suggested instead, that Jewish education activities be increased. Opposition to the broadening of the Zionist Organization was also expressed at today’s session by Rabbi Mordecai Nurok and Rabbi Zeev Gold, leaders of the world Mizrachi movement, and by Rabbi H. Zambrowsky of the Canadian Mizrachi.

Mrs. Judith Epstein of Hadassah told the session that the financial support given to Israel by American Jewry should not be ascribed to purely philanthropic feelings. The aid which the Jews in the United States give to Israel emanates from deep-rooted bonds between American Jewry and the Jewish State, she said. However, it must be admitted that assimilation exists in the ranks of American Jewry and, therefore, more attention must be paid to Jewish education, she declared.

Rabbi M. Kirshblu, leader of the American Mizrachi, said that the Zionist leaders in Israel do not have the right conception of the meaning of the words “unity of the Jewish nation.” He charged that hundreds of thousands of Jews in Israel do not understand the rest of Jewry. In speaking of American Jewry, Rabbi Kirshblum urged that the American Zionist movement be organized on a territorial basis. He also suggested that re-emigration of Jews from Israel should be combatted.

Dr. S. Margoshes, speaking for American General Zionists, told the session that the world Zionist movement should rely more on the American Zionists. “Let not Israel’s political leaders think that they know more and understand everything better than American Jewry,” he said. He expressed the belief that American Jewry will find its own way of self-organization.


Winding up the debate, Dr. Nahum Goldmann, chariman of the Jewish Agency, said that the world Zionist movement must create a framework that will draw to the Zionist Organization those elements which are now beginning to become Zionists. He advocated the broadening of the Zionist Organization, but said that such expansion should not be made at a price of weakening the Zionist movement.

Pointing out that it is essential to continue the work of upbuilding Israel and simultaneously to create a militant Zionist organization, Dr. Goldmann stated that in upbuilding Israel, maximum cooperation is needed from non-Zionist elements.

Dr. Goldmann also advocated voluntary immigration of Jews from the democratic countries to Israel. “The American Jew,” he said, “can feel himself part and parcel of the United States; nevertheless, we should try to get some American Jews to settle in Israel. This should not be done through negative propaganda – not through propaganda of alleged anti-Semitism or inequality – but through education of the youth.

Following today’s debate, the Actions Committee adjourned its plenary session till Wednesday in order to give its committees time to prepare resolutions on the various subjects discussed, including the Jewish Agency budget of 117 million Israeli pounds submitted by Dr. G. Josephstal, treasurer.

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