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December 04, 1987 - Image 96

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

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

THE DIASPORA I

The Merkaz

The Laymen's Association of the Vaad Horabonim

is pleased to invite the entire Detroit Jewish community to its

Seventh Annual Dinner

Israelis Know Little
About Jewish Agency

featuring a panel of eminent Kashrus authorities

Rabbi Moshe Heinemann
Rabbinic Administrator of the Star K

GIL SEDAN

Special to The Jewish News

Rabbi Dr. H. Zecharia Senter
Rabbinic Administrator of the Kaf K

Rabbi Chaim Goldzweig
Midwest Kashrus Coordinator of the 0

Wednesday, December 23, 1987
2 Teves, 5748
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erusalem — The bom-
bastic discussions with-
in the Zionist move-
ment generally stir not a
wave in Israel — not even a
ripple — beyond the im-
mediate vicinity of the
speakers themselves.
Yet, when the Zionist (and
non-Zionist) functionaries in
the past few weeks
"deteriorated" to arguing
publicly over the nitty-gritty
of electing a new chairman of
the World Zionist Organiza-
tion (WZO)-Jewish Agency
Executive, the public eye
glimpsed — however briefly —
in the direction of the Jewish
Agency headquarters of 48
King George St. in
Jerusalem.
Not that there was a sudden
awakening of public interest
in the affairs of the Zionist
movement or its social service
agency. It is simply that the
fund-raisers' veto last month
of Akiva Lewinsky, the Labor
Party's candidate for the
chairmanship of the ex-
ecutive, seemed like a
political story more heavily
loaded than the usual petty
politics which characterize
the movement.
Indeed, the Israeli media
this past month devoted
much more time and print
space to the Jewish Agen-
cy/WZO than in years. Not
that it perked public interest.
Some opinion makers, such
as Yakir Tzur of the
newspaper Davar, felt that
the public was simply
unaware of the historic events
taking place before its very
eyes.
"The rejection of Lewinsky
is but the first shot in the
revolution the fund-raisers'
plan in the Jewish Agency,"
he writes. "The question on
the agenda is not whether
Akiva Lewinsky will be the
chairman of the Jewish Agen-
cy or not, but rather to what
degree will the State of Israel
remain independent, deter-
mining the list of priorities in
the Jewish Agency?"
But even this rather
dramatic observation seems
to be limited to a handful of
agency watchers. The public,
by and large, is simply
uninterested.
"All I know of the Jewish
Agency is that it helps absorb
immigrants, collects money
abroad and promotes set-
tlements," said Guy Sand, 14,
of Jerusalem. He knew
nothing of Lewinsky, or for

Hoffberger: Unknown

that matter, of Jerold Hoff-
berger of Baltimore, the
outgoing chairman of the
Jewish Agency Board of
Governors, who was the driv-
ing force behind the veto of
Lewinsky.
"All I know of the Jewish
Agency is that it is a money-
spending organization with
no real value," said Karni
Elhanan, a tour guide from
Haifa. She made a few other
comments, all potentially
libelous.
Likud Knesseter Ehud
Olmert spelled out similar
comments in an interview
with the Jerusalem Post
recently. "Organized Jewry
sees the agency as the main
channel for Israel-Diaspora
relations. But they either
don't know or don't want to
know that in Israel the Agen-
cy is a symbol of all that peo-
ple despise in the political
establishment," Olmert said.
"It is seen as corrupt, inef-
ficient, anachronistic and ir-
relevant."
He suggested that the in-
fluence of Israel's political
parties in the Jewish Agency
and the WZO be drastically
reduced.
many
Paradoxically,
Israelis feel that the ailments
of the Zionist movement were
caused by the diminishing in-
terest in it by the political
parties.
After the establishment of
the state, writes columnist
Shmuel Schnitzer in the
newspaper Maariv, the top-
level politicians were assign-
ed to the Knesset and govern-
ment bureaucracies, the se-
cond level was sent to the
Histadrut labor federation
and the more important
municipalities, and the third-
rate politicians went to the
WZO.
"In the eyes of the political
parties," writes Schnitzer,
"the WZO is like a home for
the aged, and perhaps a

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