Drastic Changes in - Jewish Life Evidenced at Congress
By PHILIP SLOMOVITZ
JERUSALEVI-When Theodor Herzl convened the.
First World Zionist Congress in 1897, he specified that
delegates should come in frock coats and with white ties.
He was heralding the development of Statehood, the
emergence of a revived Jewish Nation, the convening
of the first Jewish Parliament since the Dispersion.
In September of 1897, after that historic gathering.
Dr. Herzl said: "At Basle I founded the Jewish State. If
were to say this today aloud, I should be ridiculed. In
five years' time and, at any rate, in 50 years' time,
everyone will admit it."
His prophecy came true. In 50 years there was a
State. Now, in the reality of fulfillment, there are drastic
changes. Herzl's photo still adorns all World Zionist
Congress platforms, and the 27th Congress, which just
concluded here at the magnificent Binyanei Haooma
structure, was no exception. But , there were no frock
coats, and white ties could have been incidental-as all
ties were: there were more people in shirt sleeves, with
open-necked shirts, than those who came dressed
elegantly. It was not unusual to have a member of the
government or a municipality address the more than 529
delegates from some 31 countries in casual attire. Mayor
Ted Kollek wore a jacket, but his shirt was open at the
neck and he wore no tie. A knighted British Jewish
leader (Sir Barnett Janner) was on the dais in a dark
shirt, without jacket.
This phenomenon represented one of the evidences
of change in Jewish life here,- in the activities that are
marked by drastic and evolutionary developments at the
World Jewish Parliament that gathers annually Jews
from many lands.
A marked change is in the use of language. For
many years, commencing with the First Zionist Congress
under the leadership of Dr. Theodor Herzl and Dr. Max
Nordau, the language used in Congress debates was
mostly German: it became known as "Kongress-deutsch."
Now it is mostly Hebrew. This is one of the great develop-
ments of our time: the dominance of Hebrew. not only
the revival of Statehood but the resumption of the use
of the language of the Bible.
Those who do not know Hebrew were provided with
Simultronic Transistors, and the speeches were simul-
taneously available in Yiddish. English, French, Spanish.
Linguists felt that the Yiddish translators were the ablest,
but the group of translators deserved commendation for
dedicated efforts to keep delegates alerted to what was
calisrn sounds exaggerated-was viewed as encouraging
The serious matter involving Aliya can best be under-
stood • through the presentation of actual figures. This
factual table speaks for itself:
IMMIGRATION BY YEARS
Immigrants Tourists Temporary Total
* No statistical data is available for temporary residents
arriving before 1963.
It is evident that the number of settlers generally
is declining, that the figures for permanent settlers from
free countries is very small. But they are so urgently
needed-the matter involving Aliya is so vital to Israel's
existence-that unless there is an increase in the number
of newcomers from the West, since all other areas
except Russia have practically dried up, Israel's dangers
-and they are immense !-will multiply.
One spokesman for the leftists, Mapam's leader
Hazan, admonished the delegates with a challenge: how
can parents who themselves refuse to settle in Israel
actually create a strong Aliya movement among their
children? It is a realisM not to be overlooked.
An interesting development to be noted with interest
- The major task that faced the Congress was that of •
Aliya. That this subject, of earnest requests that Jews is the "concession" from secular sources to the religious
from the Western countries should migrate to Israel, status of Zionism. A kind word by Dr. Nahum Goldmann,
should have come in conflict with the problem of Klita- in his opening address, regarding the powerful role of
absorption-was a source of deep concern. But even in religious factors in the success of the Zionist movement
the course of controversy between the Jewish Agency and was given additional acceptance by Mapam's spokesman
the Israel government, the feeling was that Zionists would Jacob Hazan. The latter, even more than Goldmann, is
not fall short of duties facing them. not only non-religious, he could even be considered anti-
The cause for consternation was that. Aliya might religion. Yet there is the considered recognition that the
prophetic role of Zionist is not to be overlooked, that
materialize as a result of crises. A spokesman for the
French youth at the Congress told this correspondent the force of faith is valid. And this approach has gained
that the developing situation in his country may encour- faith during the June war, when faithless spoke of
age an exodus. There were Americans here who expressed miracles; when non-observers prayed at the Western
fear that a panic in the U.S. might make Aliya a reality Wall. -
among American Jews.
In more than one sense, what has happened at the
Therefore those who adhere to the hope of a
Zion redeemed as an historic reality, positively, not Jerusalem Congress is an echo of problems in the
as an emergence' of anti-Semitism, are disturbed. Diaspora. The speculation over the status of youth
They virtually pray for a constructive rather than a reflected the conditions in Western countries where there
negative Aliya. are the revolts in universities. And the question of
survival sounded like the continuation of the debate in
But the existence of a state of fright in many lands
is admitted, and the new situations have not inspired •the communities whence delegates came. Israelis echoed
hope: they echo the fears that exist in many lands. it and Jacob Hazan (to return once more to the views
of an eminent secularist) made note of two dangers to
Jewry: assimilation and the danger of extinction.
The replica of a "student revolt" in evidence at
That is why so much emphasis has been placed on
the WZCongress gave the sessions here new coloration.
There were the doubting people who . questioned the Aliya (immigration) and why such a messy issue arose
realism of the demands by the 81 representatives of
over Klita (absorptiOn). But the latter is surely part
youth organizations and 19 student delegates_ in addition
of an internal Israeli political set of machinations. It is
believed in all seriousness that Prime. Minister Levi
to invited representatives of national organizations, that
they really augured the coming of a new panacea-of Eshkol and his associates (is Golda Meir a prime mover
youth rushing to settle in Israel. The numbers of new- in this scheme?) already are plotting, ahead of the 1969
comers have been few from Western lands. But the new elections, to create a "stop Moshe Dayan" movement-.
voices, the assertions of youth that they wish a share
to give ministerial posts to Yigal Allon and Yosef Almbgi
(Absorption Portfolio and Deputy Premiership to the
in the shaping of Zionist policies-even if their radi-
former and the Labor Ministry post to the latter) and
thereby give positions of priority, preparatory to the
preparation of a Mapai - election slate next year, to those
chosen by the Eshkol group for the coming leadership.
Eshkol may not have an easy time accomplishing
his aims. Dayan is so very popular that it'll take more
than mere political maneuvering to sidetrack him. But
no one really knows the power of Mapai and its leader-
ship, and therefore what Eshkol does now may be Israeli
This is evident in the Klita decisions by the govern-
ment: to take from the Jewish Agency the role of super-
visor of absorption. Max Fisher was here. He accom-
panied Aryeh Louis Pincus to commission meetings, he
addressed a major session of the Congress, and he
pleaded for Zionist organizational cooperation with fund-
raising movements. The contention was that there was
not a direct contact until now, although in practice all
Jews worked together in philanthropic efforts for Israel.
New decisions definitely formulated a specific role for
the fund-raisers in the World Zionist Organization set-up.
After several years of manipulations, the proposed
Territorial Idea in Zionism haS been adopted. Pincus
and Goldmann were the major proponents of the plan.
It is now becoming a fact: in all countries Zionists now
will work within single territorial formats,
Some bitterness was engendered on the question of j
judging Aliya accomplishments as bases for proportional '..__ \
elections of delegates to Territorial Conferences. The
decision adopted by a bare majority creates a "neutral
body" to judge accomplishments. It puzzles many: why
not united for Aliya, to encourage immigration to Israel,
rather than turn the matter into a political internal foot-
A study of the delegations at the Congress indicates
the vastness of the "Dispersion," the variety of areas
whence WZCongress delegates had come (Austria.
Bolovia, Colombia, Cuba, India, Uruguay, Mexico, etc.,
etc., etc., in addition to Jews from all Western lands).
Yet .there is cause for puzzlement again over the high
status given to some groups. Why is the American
League for Israel given such high recognition? It has
no membership: its leaders are some very prominent
people who defected from the Zionist Organization of
America. But is a movement of leaders without followers •
worthy of a very high place in a great world movement?
Why don't these men and women work through the
established agencies. with which they were previously
associated? The League for Israel had two members in
Detroit. The League has an answering telephone service
and not even an office nationally. But the leadership
gives it high status.
Then the question could well he asked why Israeli
Jewry gets 38 per cent of delegate representation at the
Congress while the Jews of the U.S., nearly three times
as strong numerically, gets 29 per cent and the balance
of the Diaspora the other 33 per cent?
But these are conditions that will not change.
The new changes visible at the Congresses now are
the active participation of people who prior to the emer-
gence of Israel as a state would have been considered
"outsiders." Max Fisher, for example, stated frankly
at a commission session that he was not a Zionist. The
new World Zionist Organization policies are to invite
non-Zionist movements to participate in its work. • But
all must accept the basis of the Jerusalem Program
which includes the defense of Israel's status and the
encouragement to Aliya.
•In the new setting the "Big Boss" is Aryeh Pincus.
He is the active man who dominates over all situations
and practically gives the tone to projected .activities.
Goldmann was the towering personality who headed all
major Jewish movements (he held eight world Jewish
chairmanships): Pincus controls policies and is -the chief
administrator in Jewish affairs involving not only Zionist
actions and those of the Jewish Agency but also the
procedures relating to the vast fund-raising programs: it
is Pincus who is contacted by UJA when matters of
major significance are under consideration. Pincus'
was in evidence throughout the 27th WZCongress and
from all indications he will retain that role.
'Treasury of Yiddish Stories,' Bellow U.S. Cavalry Troops in Korea Back Israel's Bid for Jets
and Weidman Novels in Paperbacks
By MILTON FRIEDMAN
administration refused to sell understand what it is like to live
(Copyright 1968, JTA Inc.)
From • Fawcett World Library included stories by Abraham Rei-
WASHINGTON - The State De-
(67 W. 44th, NY36) come a series sen, Lamed Shapiro, Mordecai partment is embarrassed to find
of newly-issued paperbacks among Spector, Moishe Nadir, I. J. Singer, the U.S Cavalry troops in Korea
which are several Jewish classics. Jonah Rosenfeld, Joseph Opatos- coming to the rescue of Israel's
Noteworthy among the new Faw- hu. David Bergelson, I. Bashevis application to buy Phantom jet
cett Premier Books is "A Treasury ; Singer, Jacob Glatstein, I. M. fighter-bombers.
of Yiddish Stories" edited by Irving I Weissenberg, Itzig Manger, Moishe
Israel's plight has apparently
Howe and Eliezer Greenberg, a Kulbak, Chaim Grade.
had a greater impact on Ameri-
volume that received widest ac-1 . Many periods of Jewish life are can soldiers stationed along the
claim when it was first published covered in these stories and the cease-fire lines in Korea than it
as a hard cover book by Viking collection is very greatly en- has on the policy-makers. Members
!lanced by folk tales, containing of Headquarters Troop and "A"
The works of the best known Yiddish proverbs, a tale by Rabbi Troop, Fourth Squadron, of the
writers are included in this im- Nahman of Bratzlav, Hershel historic U.S. 7th Cavalry a r e
pressive collection. Commencing Ostropolier and Chelm stories. patrolling the Imjim River to
with stories by Mendele Moher
Two popular novels also have block Communist guerrilla pene-
Seforim, Sholom Aleichem, I. L. been issued by Fawcett as paper- tration. They are within sight of
Peretz, - who are among the great backs. They are: "Word of Mouth" North Korean positions.
pioneers who created major works ! by Jerome Weidman and "Seize
A trooper was dismayed to read
that have remained imperishable ! the Day" by Saul Bellow. The Lat- in a newspaper from home that
in the past half century-the noted ter has an introduction by Alfred . Israel was threatened by a Com-
editors of this anthological work 1 Kazin.
munist-armed build-up but, that the
Phantom jets to the Israelis.. He
called this to the attention of the
men in his troop. They were in-
dignant over this apparent stupid-
ity in U.S. policy.
The name of Rep. Bertram L.
Podell, New York Democrat, was
mentioned in the newspaper as
urging approval of the Phantom
transaction. Rep. Podell was rather
surprised to receive an A.P.O. let-
ter from Korea bearing 75 sifi-
The troopers wrote that "we
lend our support wholeheartedly
to your efforts on behalf of the
only democratic nation in the
Middle East - the State of
They explained that they were
stationed facing the North Korean
Communists "and we know and
48-Friday, June 21, 1968
under the threat of MIGs lurking
just across the border."
Expressing kinship with the
Israelis "manning the line against
totalitarian aggression - in t h e
Middle East," the troopers urged
action on the jets. They called
it a "vital issue."
"As it is vital for us here in
the Republic of Korea to have
modern jets to defend ourselves,
we feel that it is just as vital
for Israel to have F-4 Phantom
jet fighters. As American sol-
diers, we support our friend and
ally, the State of Israel," said
the men of the 7th Cavalry.
It has been established that the
signatories represented a cross-
section of America - white and
black, Protestant, Catholic and
THE DETROIT JEWISH NEWS