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Goldmann Clashes with Ben-gurion on Charges Against Jewish Agency

January 17, 1966
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Dr. Nahum Goldmann, president of the World Zionist Organization, sharply criticized former Premier David Ben-Gurion this weekend for describing the Jewish Agency as a “collection agency” which is in the hands of political parties. Mr. Ben-Gurion had voiced those charges last week in a speech on the floor of the Knesset (Israel’s Parliament).

Replying to Mr. Ben-Gurion at a session of the Actions Committee, the Zionist movement’s policy-making body between sessions of the World Zionist Congress, Dr. Goldmann called Mr. Ben-Gurion’s charges “irresponsible.” He said the Ben-Gurion statement “can only be harmful, both to the Zionist movement and to the fund-raising effort for Israel.”

Summing up the general debate in the Actions Committee, which has been meeting for a week, Dr. Goldmann stressed that the Agency has not been giving money to political parties for years, but has been aiding financially “only those undertakings concerned with the absorption of immigrants” to Israel. He rejected Mr. Ben-Gurion’s claim that the Zionist movement is no longer needed, declaring “there are certain things that the Government of Israel can not do, and only the movement can do.”

Aryeh L. Pincus, acting chairman of the Jewish Agency, told the Actions Committee that there is increasing cooperation between the Israel Government and the Zionist movement. He rejected charges voiced during the general debate to the effect that “Israel does not really want immigration from Western countries.” He noted the Agency’s close cooperation with associations of immigrants from Western countries in efforts to solve various problems facing new immigrants.

Mr. Pincus told the Actions Committee that the “greatest challenge” facing the Zionist movement in lands outside Israel involves the fact that hundreds of thousands of Jewish students “are ready to listen to Zionism.” “But Zionism,” he added, “must speak to them in the language of reality and in the context of present facts regarding Israel.”

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