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Zionist General Council Approves Reorganization Plan Proposed by Louis A. Pincus

July 8, 1969
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

A major reorganization program that will broaden the base of the Jewish Agency by including representatives of the major Jewish fund-raising bodies abroad was approved by the Zionist General Council (Actions Committee) last night. The plan, drafted by Jewish Agency chairman Louis A. Pincus, also divided the functions of the Jewish Agency and the World Zionist Organization.

The latter will deal with organization and public information, educational activities in the Diaspora, youth and halutz training and cultural institutions. The Jewish Agency will be responsible for fund-raising, immigration and immigrant absorption, social welfare services, health education, youth care and training, immigrant housing and settlement in Israel.

The reorganization plan sets up a new supreme body–the Assembly of the Jewish Agency–which will be composed of up to 250 members. Half of them will represent the WZO and Israel, 30 percent the United States and 20 percent all other countries. The Assembly will meet at stipulated intervals. Between its meetings the movement will be directed by a board of governors composed of delegates to the Assembly on the same proportional basis. The board will meet three times a year and will provide the authority by which the Jewish Agency conducts its day-to-day activities.

The General Council sessions, marred from the beginning by a bitter conflict between the older generation and representatives of youth and student organizations, wound up its business without youth representation.

The youngsters walked out last week when the Council voted 67-23 to reject their demand that it set a date now for the next World Zionist Congress. The Council decided, however, to convene the next Congress–the 28th–within two years, a concession to the youth element. Normally Congresses are held every five years. The last took place here in 1968.

The General Council also adopted resolutions emphasizing youth and student participation in Zionist activities and promising to give youth representatives a substantial voice in Council deliberations. But the youngsters stated flatly that they had no confidence in the old leadership and hinted that they might establish a dissident Zionist movement of their own.

The student and youth delegates insisted on a new Congress at an early date and on the democratic election of Congress delegates. They also demanded a complete revamping of the Zionist ideology to bring it in line with the contemporary world. The demand for democratic elections was called academic by Zionist leaders since the last Zionist Congress decided that future delegates would be elected instead of selected by their respective parties.

Other resolutions adopted by the General Council denounced the UN Security Council’s censure of Israel for its activities in the former Arab section of Jerusalem and declared the Zionist movement’s solidarity with Israel in its quest for peace and direct negotiations with its Arab neighbors. The Zionists also called on the Soviet Union to end its anti-Zionist campaign, to allow Russian Jews to emigrate if they so desired and to accord Soviet Jews the same cultural and religious rights enjoyed by other ethnic minorities in the USSR. The Council warned against manifestations of neo-Nazism in West Germany and expressed concern over the plight of the Jewish remnants in Arab countries.

Another resolution called on all bodies attached to the World Zionist Organization especially its territorial federations, to designate 1970 as a year of a world-wide membership drive. Zionist groups were urged to recruit members through Zionist Organizations, various Zionist parties and on a personal basis as provided for by resolutions of the last Zionist Congress, and the World Zionist Organization constitution. Zionists were also urged to expand their educational and information services to counteract “constant attacks” on Zionism and to defend the vital interests of the State of Israel by explaining Zionism as “the national liberation movement” of the Jewish people. Proposals contained in resolutions called for special emphasis on Zionist work in universities and other educational institutions.

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