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December 04, 1987 - Image 66

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1987-12-04

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

I POLITICS 1

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FRIMY DFCEMRER 4_1987

erusalem — The busi-
ness of deciding who
will run the Jewish
Agency-World Zionist Organ-
ization for the next four years
may well dominate the four-
day Zionist Congress, which
opens in Jerusalem Sunday.
Indeed, the leadership issue
is expected to be so over-
whelming that all other
substantive issues are likely
to be submerged beneath the
politicking and recrimina-
tions.
In the week leading up to
the congress — which will be
attended by 700 delegates
and some 2,000 alternates
and observers — the issue re-
mained wide open, with both
Prime Minister Yitzhak
Shamir (Likud) and Foreign
Minister Shimon Peres
(Labor) deeply involved in the
selection of candidates.
The Israel Labor Party's ini-
tial candidate for the post of
chairman, current Jewish
Agency/WZO Treasurer
Akiva Lewinksy, has finally
bowed out of the contest after
tense weeks of foot-dragging.
But he did not leave with-
out taking a swipe at the
Diaspora fund raisers in the
Jewish Agency Board of
Governors for vetoeing his
candidacy, and at his own par-
ty for failing to stand by him
in his moment of greatest
need.
Lewinsky, a kibbutznik who
has served the Labor Party
and the Zionist movement for
almost 50 years, told Labor's
central committee last week
that the intervention of the
fund raisers violated the rules
of partnership within the
Zionist movement and
represented a "grave develop-
ment" in Israel's relations
with the Diaspora.
For all that, the political
demise of 70-year-old Lewin-
sky has been greeted with
barely disguised relief by
Labor Party officials.
The party had feared an in-
ternal schism with Lewin-
sky's backers, the powerful
United Kibbutz Movement,
which declared itself to be
outraged that a small group
of Diaspora fund raisers could
veto a decision of the Labor
Party.
Labor's central committee
is meanwhile expected to
nominate another candidate
for the post of chairman from
among three men: Knesset
Member Mordechai Gur,
former chief of staff and

Mordechai Gur: A disaster.

health minister; Knesset
Member Simcha Dinitz,
former Ambassador to the
United States; and Nissim
Zvili, chairman of the Jewish
Agency's Settlement Depart-
ment.
None of the three, however,
has generated much enthusi-
asm among Jewish Agency or
WZO professionals.
Gur was described by one
WZO source as having been a
"disaster" as health minister
in the national unity govern-
ment — a post he resigned
when Shamir took over as
prime minister from Peres.
"Gur," warned the source,
"would leave the place in
ruins."
Simcha Dinitz is regarded
as able and clever, but not
necessarily the man to effect
the urgent changes needed in
the Zionst movement: "People
in the organization are afraid
that he would not be totally
committed to getting things
done," said the source.
Tunisian-born Nissim Zvili,
on the other hand, is regarded
as a dedicated worker who
has a comprehensive under-
standing of the Jewish Agen-
cy and the WZO, a man who
thinks independently and
speaks well and to the point.
His English is fluent and he
is young and attractive.

But Zvili, in his early for-
ties, is considered to be too
young and inexperienced for
the job and is unlikely to find
favor with the fund raisers.
His chances of election might
also be hampered by the fact
that Israel's settlements are
in parlous state — a predica-
ment for which he must share
at least some of the blame.
The Likud's unofficial can-
didate, Science Minister Gi-
deon Patt, has also failed to
generate excitement, despite
Continued on Page 66

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