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WZO Comptroller’s Report Finds Deficiencies in WZO Operations

January 3, 1979
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

The 21st annual report of the Comptroller of the World Zionist Organization, published here Sunday, found glaring deficiencies in the operations of the WZO in Israel and overseas. Hardly a department emerged unscathed and even the Jewish National Fund was criticized for alleged irregularities in issuing tenders. The JNF responded immediately that the report failed to take note of faults that have been corrected.

The report charged that the Youth and Hechalutz Department had vastly exceeded its approved budget for accommodations and touts. It spent about IL 23 million against a budget of IL9, 4 million for fiscal 1976-77, the report said.

It also found that some leaders of overseas youth groups visiting Israel were unfit; several of them, in fact, were “yardim”–Israelis who settled permanently abroad–who could hardly set an example compatible with the department’s aims. The report also cited discrepancies between an advertised summer youth project in Israel last year and what was actually offered to the disappointed youngsters when they arrived.

The Comptroller, Meir Ben Zion Meiry, called on the Department for Education and Culture in the Diaspora to make sure that overseas groups which invite Israeli educators bear the greater part of the expenses involved. The report criticized the method of selecting teachers for overseas missions. It said that instead of implementing the 28th World Zionist Congress decision to increase the number of teachers sent abroad, the number has decreased and general emissaries were sent instead.

Returning emissaries were taken to task for not reporting on their experiences. Two important Jewish communities in Asian countries had no education emissary while the term of one emissary was extended from two to three years despite a negative rating of the quality of his work.


The report accused the Department on Jewish Schools Abroad of lax supervision. Only nine qualified teachers sent by the department now teach in the U.S. The rest are yardim, some of whom lack formal professional training.

The report said there was too little coordination between the WZO’s Department for Overseas Relations and the Foreign Ministry and between that department and the WZO’s Information and Organization Department. It cited lack of cooperation in some cases between WZO emissaries and Israeli diplomats abroad.

It charged that the director of a project undertaken by the Immigration and Absorption Department received a salary and expenses far above what he was entitled to. The same person traveled overseas more than 30 times without submitting a written justification for the trips or any report on their results.

One of the most serious findings was an apparent inflation of WZO membership rolls. The report said that of 1.2 million members counted in the WZO census, many were ineligible for membership and more than a few were deceased. The WZO Executive will review the report and its recommendations.

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