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Labor Maintains Hold on Argentine Jewry

June 8, 1984
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The Labor Party maintained its decades old pre-eminence as the Jewish community of Buenos Aires elected its leaders for the next three years.

Using a parliamentary system established 30 years ago, 7,148 voters from among the representatives of the Argentine capital’s estimated 200,000 Jews turned out. The 90-members of the Council of the Kehila or “community” in Hebrew were selected last month from among six parties in a procedure mirroring Israel’s elections. The Kehila represents the Jewish community and Jewish institutions in this city of close to three million people.

Labor garnered 48 percent of the votes and retained the presidency of the Kehila. Brera, a new party emerged for the election, forged by a coalition of leaders of social athletic clubs and representatives of the Conservative and Reform congregations. The new party strongly criticized the community’s policies and structures and hoped to offer what its name means in Hebrew, an “alternative.” Brera came in second, drawing 17.6 percent of the vote.

Likud drew only six percent of the vote, down from the 14.3 percent they won in 1981.

The 90 seats on the Kehila’s Council have been distributed as follows: Labor, 43; Brera, 16; Agudat Israel, 10; Nonparty Zionist, 10; Likud, 6; Mizrachi, 5.


According to observers, Brera drew as well as Labor in the affluent neighborhoods in the center of the city. Labor won overwhelming majorities in the old Jewish neighborhood of Villa Crespo and in the suburbs. In one district with a strong Orthodox population, Agudat Israel won at several polling places.

The election results are interpreted in circles close to Labor as a renewal of Labor’s leadership of the Argentinian Jewish community. The Kehila elections greatly influence the make up of the new governing board of the DAIA, the representative body of the Jews in Argentina.

The elections also brought a new Labor president to the AMIA, as the Kehila is also known. The new leader is Luis Perelmuter, an engineer. He succeeds Alberto Crupnicoff as the choice of the new Council.

Perelmuter, who assumed office on May 31, promsied to continue the Kehila’s traditional support for Jewish education and to launch a campaign to draw younger elements into the community.

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