Zionist Congress Closes; Re Elects Goldmann and Sharett; No Executive
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Zionist Congress Closes; Re Elects Goldmann and Sharett; No Executive

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After a stormy night meeting during which, at one point, Israel’s Prime Minister Levi Eshkol walked out of the session in protest against a Herut member’s charge that the Mapai Party practices “racial discrimination,” the 26th World Zionist Congress closed here early this morning without electing the next World Zionist Organization’s executive.

Election of the next executive was left to the next meeting of the Zionist Actions Committee. But Dr. Nahum Goldmann and Moshe Sharett were re-elected to their present posts, remaining, respectively, as president of the W Z O and chairman of the Jewish Agency’s executive. Mr. Sharett was elected unanimously, while Herut abstained on the voting on Dr. Goldmann’s re-election. Pending formation of a new executive, the old executive will continue to function.

The Congress adopted a series of vital resolutions. Among these were measures calling upon the Soviet Government to permit Russian Jews to emigrate, and to lift restrictions against USSR Jewry.

The most heated clash at the concluding session occurred when the Congress decided to accept the “Goldmann plan,” recommended by the Congress Steering Committee, to postpone the election of the executive at this time. This step was advocated by Dr. Goldmann because Herut, which until now has held one seat on the Jewish Agency executive, without any departmental assignment, demanded that it be given two places on the executive in accordance with its “due” as shown by the number of delegates to the Congress.

Herut speakers insisted they were entitled to “due representation,” and accused Mapai of “wicked discrimination.” The Goldmann plan” was adopted, with the labor parties and the Confederation of General Zionists, headed by Dr. Israel Gold stein and Mrs. Rose Halprin, voting in favor of that recommendation. Herut voted against the plan, while abstentions were entered by the Mizrachi and the World Union of General. Zionists headed by Dr. Emanuel Neumann.


Joseph Schechtman, Herut’s member on the executive, then announced his resignation from the executive. In the course of his remarks, he charged Mapai with “racial discrimination,” and Mr. Eshkol walked out of the session in protest against that accusation. A clamor for Mr. Schechtman’s withdrawal of the charge against Mapai followed, and the chairman of the meeting had a difficult time stilling the disturbance. Mr. Schechtman finally apologized for his remark and formally withdrew it.

Dr. Goldmann, taking the floor, told the Congress he wanted to form a “wall-to-wall” coalition inside the World Zionist Organization, giving Herut “due representation.” However, he warned Herut, that, as a party insisting on politicalization of the Zionist movement, it must be prepared to “accept with better grace” the consequences of such political division.

Dr. Goldmann said he proposed postponement of the election of the executive because he wanted that issue left to a later stage when, he hoped, an agreement might be reached on Herut’s demand. He also expressed “regret” over Mr. Schechtman’s resignation from the executive.

The Mizrachi and spokesmen for the Neumann General Zionists said, in explaining their abstentions, that they were disappointed with the course of events which, they insisted, “there was no Justification.” They stressed their opinions that denial of rights to Herut established “a dangerous precedent.”


In approving the “Goldmann plan” as recommended by the Steering Committee, the Congress also favored the committee’s charge to the presidium that it co-opt a number of non-affiliated Zionists personalities to the new executive, elect representatives of the Sephardic community and give representation in an advisory capacity to the Women’s International Zionist Organization.

In an address closing the Congress, Dr. Goldmann declared the Congress had been “constructive.” He underscored the zionist movement’s determination to play an ever-increasing role in Jewish life, stressing the participation of representatives of Jewish communities and organizations, and Zionist and non-Zionist youth, saying that such cooperation will be enlarged and strengthened.

The Congress has decided “clearly,” Dr. Goldmann noted, that renewed activities within the Jewish communities and on the international Jewish scene should be undertaken in close cooperation with all Jewish groups ready for such action. Another fact that characterized the Congress, he said, was its emphasis on close cooperation with the Government of Israel.

Dr. Goldmann emphasized the importance of immigration to Israel which, he said, was essential and which will be one of the results of increased efforts by the Zionist movement. He underscored also the importance of a Congress decision to investigate the structure of the movement, with the aim of introducing changes and allow the cooption to the executive and to the Actions Committee of persons not connected with the various parties, as well as “leaders in their own right.” Such steps, he said, would “change the image of the future executive.”


The Congress voted the resolution aimed at the Soviet Union with a unanimous, standing ballot. The measure not only called on the USSR authorities “to permit without delay the reunion of Soviet Jews separated forcibly from their families as a result of the holocaust and war.” It also affirmed “the freedom to settle in Israel as the inalienable right of every Jew,” and appealed to the Soviet Government to recognize this right which, it noted, the Soviet Government did recognize when it supported Israel’s establishment.

The Congress stated that it is awaiting the amelioration of the situation of Soviet Jewry. It noted that no such change has been realized and pointed out that “harsh measures have been taken in the USSR against the practice of the Jewish religion.” The resolution also noted recent attacks against Soviet Jews in the Soviet press, and called attention to the fact that Soviet publications are still highlighting prosecutions of Jews for.” economic crimes.” Finally, the Congress called on the Soviet Government to apply to Russian Jewry “those principles of equality and freedom accorded other Soviet nationalities.”

The Congress recorded its “appreciation” to those Justice-loving people of the world who have aided in the struggle to ensure the rights and future of Soviet Jewry. A separate resolution called upon the Soviet Government to free Zionists still imprisoned “whose only crime is loyalty to their people.” It urged the USSR to permit those Zionists to settle in Israel.


Another resolution called on the governments of the world to include the Middle East in their efforts to ease world tensions. It stressed the view that, until agreement on Israeli-Arab disarmament is made possible, Israel must be assisted in maintaining its defensive, deterrent capacity.

One resolution called upon the next executive to intensify and coordinate measures aimed at counteracting Arab boycott and propaganda activities, creating an international framework for implementing such counter steps effectively. Regarding the Arab refugees, the Congress declared that the refugee problem can be solved only by the resettlement of the refugees in Arab countries. The Congress also protested against the denial to Jews of access to holy places in Arab areas.

In still another resolution, the Congress called upon the world community to act against the danger of neo-Nazi activities and to apply effective measures for the eradication of all manifestations of racial hatred and discrimination. This measure asserted that “Jewish communities throughout the world will continue to take all steps to counteract anti-Jewish hatred.”

The Congress urged the Federal Republic of Germany to make sure that compensation is given to victims of Nazism who could not leave Eastern Europe to file their applications for compensation before the cut-off date of 1953. It also called upon the Bonn Government to extend the statute of limitations for the prosecution of major Nazi war criminals, and to put an end to the “dangerous activities of German scientists.”

(Dr. Goldmann denied today reports attributing to him a statement that the United States was exerting pressure on the West German Government against the recall of German scientists working in Egypt on Nasser’s arms development. The reports said he had made the statement at a session of the political committee of the Congress.)

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