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Rabin Seen Supporting Almogi for Jewish Agency Chairmanship

September 19, 1975
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

Premier Yitzhak Rabin is expected to come out soon in favor of Haifa Mayor Yosef Almogi as chairman of the Jewish Agency and the World Zionist Organization. Almogi met with the Premier in Tel Aviv last week and though Rabin carefully avoided taking a final stand, sources close to him said he would most probably back Almogi since the Haifa leader seems the only realistic Labor Party candidate.

The other serious contender is acting chairman and Agency treasurer Leon Dulzin. But the sources close to Rabin said it was highly unlikely that the Premier–“who is, after all, also leader of the Labor Party”–would wish to see the powerful position of Agency chairman fall to a leading opposition politician like Dulzin. Dulzin is a leader of the Liberal Party, a main partner in the Likud bloc.

Dulzin has said publicly that he will fight to retain the chairmanship against any candidate Labor might put up. He says he has broad support among the major world Jewish fund-raising organizations whose representatives form half of the Agency’s policy-making forums. Observers here note that once Rabin has taken a public stand, the Labor Party machine can be expected to begin canvassing on Almogi’s behalf, both among the overseas fund-raising leaders and also among some of the other Zionist parties.


Dulzin said last week that Abba Eban had told him that Dulzin was the best candidate for the post. The former. Foreign Minister confirmed yesterday that he had told Dulzin that he regarded him as personally qualified if there was no party consideration involved. Since, however, the issue was a party matter, “I shall support the Labor Party’s candidate,” Eban commented in a statement to the Jerusalem Post. He added that Dulzin had not been authorized to state publicly that Eban favored his election.

In a conversation with the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, Dulzin confirmed Eban’s statement and recalled that Eban had approached him in a Jerusalem hotel and had said to him that he was personally well suited for the post. Eban has been approached to accept the post of chairman of the Jewish Agency and WZO but has told friends that accepting this post would be political suicide and would effectively end any aspirations for a return to Cabinet power.

Political pundits here believe that should Dulzin win and be elevated to the chairmanship, Moshe Rivlin, the Laborite Agency director-general, would take over as treasurer (since that post would then by right fall to Labor). Dulzin and Rivlin are said to mesh well together in administering the Agency.

The time and format of the chairmanship contest is not yet known for certain. In January, the Zionist General Council is due to meet here, and theoretically it could elect a new WZO chairman (the WZO and Agency chairmanships are traditionally held by the same person). But the fundraising organizations have no representation in the Zionist General Council, and so, it is thought. Dulzin would prefer the issue to be decided first in an Agency forum and only then in a WZO forum.

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