Zionist Congress 1923
Shared from JTA-Jewish Telegraph Archive
Zionists Adopt Agency Proposal 164 to 87
Carlsbad (Aug. 17)
The protracted debate on the Jewish Agency question which has been the principal object of discussion since the first day of the Zionist Congress almost a fortnight ago, was settled in the early hours this morning, when the Assembly by a vote of 164 to 87 voted to approve the proposal to have the Zionist Organization draw in outside forces willing to help in the upbuilding of the Jewish Palestine.
As finally adopted the proposal provides that the representatives of the non-Zionist organizations shall be invited to form a council which with the Executive of the Zionist Organization shall form the Agency. The resolution provides also that within three years a World Congress of Jewry shall be convoked, the Agency serving until this gathering creates a permanent one.
Supporters of the proposal included the orthodox Mizrachi group, which had been among the leaders hitherto in the opposition to the Weizmann Administration and plan. Their action indicating a departure from their demand for an immediate Congress was a surprise to all. Those opposing the Agency on the final roll call were the labor groups consisting of 33 Zeire Zion (Young Zionists) delegates. 9 Poale Zion delegates and 9 Socialist Zeire Zion.
Of the Executive, Dr. Weizmann, Dr. Soloweitchik, Isaac Naiditch and Dr. Georg Halpern voted in favor. Opposing were Dr. Lichtheim and J. Sprinzak, a labor member of the Executive. Nahum Sokolow, M. Ussishkin and Dr. Arthur Ruppin were absent during the balloting. While this absence may have been entirely accidental and due to the hour (2 A.M.) the roll call took place, it is possible also, it is said, that they remained away in order not to commit themselves.
The question of the new Executive is the only matter that remains to be decided before the adjournment of the Congress. The question of the reelection of M. Ussishkin, at present in charge of the Zionist activities in Palestine, is one of the most bitterly fought in the election slate. Dr. Weizmann favors his elimination, Mr. Sokolow, on the other hand, demands the continuance of the present Executive without change.
Indications are that the plan first sponsored by Dr. Weizmann and Sokolow for a “homogeneous” executive will not be carried and that a “coalition” executive will be approved instead. Dr. Weizmann contends that the headquarters of the Executive must remain in London, but that the Palestine office must be increasingly strengthened. It is believed Dr. Weizmann favors for the Palestine branch Dr. Arthur Ruppin as colonization expert and Colonel Kisch, as political representative, with Mr. Ussishkin eliminated. For the London cabinet he is said to favor Dr. Georg Halpern as financial expert and Dr. Berthold Feiwel as organization chief.
While the Permanent Committee was busy drafting the final form of the compromise agency proposal and others busy slating the Executive. Thursday was given over to consideration of reports and adoption of concrete proposals.
The Land Commission, reporting through Dr. Schmarak recommended that Â£160,000 be appropriated for colonization work, Â£120,000 to be expended on actual colonization work and the balance used to create a reserve fund for the purchase of land, under the Keren Hayesod’plan. A plan for the establishment of an industrial bank to provide credit for small industry and agriculture was adopted as also the proposal to extend credit to those engaging in handicraft.Dr. Rufeisen who reported on the credit scheme recommended that at least five per cent of the Palestine budget should be used for such credit facilities for mechanical laborers and that 20,000 pounds should be set aside for credits to suburban residents.
A proposal was carried for an “arbitration court” to be established jointly by the Zionist Organization, the Vaad Leumi and the labor organizations for the settlement of labor disputes and the elaboration of a minimum wage scale.
The report of the Immigration Committee evoked heated discussion, a portion of the Center and labor parties urging the continuance of the present policy of favoring the immigration of Chaluzim The Mizrachi who opposed preferences for chaluzim were voted down.
The Congress adopted a resolution providing for the creation of the office of a travelling inspector whose duty it will be to act as coordinate of immigration to Palestine.
Dr. Sapir on behalf of the Sanitation Commission urged that the Congress ratify the agreement of the American Zionist Organization, the Hadassah and the Joint Distribution Committee under which all three agree to contribute in virtually equal part to the continuance of the medical work in Palestine. The Commission also recommended that the Congress should voice its especial thanks to the Joint Distribution Committee and to Nathan Straus.
Recommendations for the improvement of the service connected with the quarantine activities in Palestine and also improved medical supervision over immigrants were adopted.
A cable from Henrietta Szold, read by Morris Rothenberg, announcing that Jewish physicians of the United States had agreed to give $10,000 for a Roentgen (X-Ray) institute in Jerusalem was received with cheers.