The World Zionist Organization Jewish Agency is to undertake a total overhaul of its system of appointing and training shlichim (emissaries to the diaspora) in the wake of insistent urging by chairman Leon Dulzin that has finally overcome opposition from some of the departments.
An official announcement last week confirmed that the two main planks of Dulzin’s proposal had been carried by the WZO Executive and would be implemented: a central authority for shlichut will be set up, and a single training program for shlichim will be instituted.
In the future, the announcement said, shlichim will be “emissaries of the WZO or of the Jewish Agency, not shlichim of particular departments.” Moreover, shlichim operating in a particular country will work “as a united delegation” under the leadership of a senior shalioch who will represent “the WZO Executive” as such.
In practice, the new scheme will mean that the various department will no longer be empowered to appoint their own shlichim, as has been the practice heretofore. This practice has always been a fertile ground for political and personal pressures exercised on behalf of, or against, would-be shalioch candidates.
The new “authority” will, together with the departments, map out shlichut needs in the various countries and communities, select candidates using objective professional criteria — again, in consultation with the various departments; All Shlichim will undergo a unified training program of the new training facility. The official announcement pledged that in the future appointments of shlichim would be made as far as possible from among WZO/Agency staff, though there could still be appointments from outside “in special cases.”
(In New York, Max Fisher, chairman of the Jewish Agency Board of Governors, issued a statement in which he applauded the decision on the shlichim. He expressed satisfaction at this step taken of the initiative of Dulzin which Fisher noted is in keeping with his policy of improving the services of the Jewish Agency. He noted further that the move will make for better coordination among WZO departments and enable the shlichim to establish more effective contacts with the community and diaspora Jewish organizations involved.”)
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.