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December 11, 1987 - Image 74

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1987-12-11

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Continued from page 72




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What's What

5 f andicfin°

Kenneth Cole

Joan & David

.1 S111111






gates to demand a far-reach-
ing reappraisal of "the con-
ceptions and the structure of
the World Zionist Organi-
The Histadrut labor federa-
tion daily, Davar, pointed to a
"particularly interesting"
phenomenon at this year's
congress—"the strong pres-
ence of the Reform and Con-
servative movements of
Judaism." "This [participa-
tion] can help reinforce the
pan-Jewish partnership, and
it must also serve as a warn-
ing against any further at-
tempt to effect a change in
the Law of Return and a
parallel interpretation of
`Who is a Jew'. "
It was left to the up-market
daily, Ma'ariv, to say what
Israelis already knew: that
the attention which the
Zionist Congress attracted in
Israel was due solely to the
contest for the chairmanship
of the WZO/Jewish Agency.
"Were it not for the debates
over this issue, the public's at-
titude toward the congress
would be one of blatant indif-
ference," commented the
paper. "This phenomenon
dramatizes the nadir in the
standing of the Zionist move-
While the Zionist move-
ment can claim achieve-
ments, it said, "several
failures overshadow them and
it is because of this that the
Zionist movement seems so
But, added
"Zionism's time is not over.
The stagnation of the Zionist
movement is not tantamount
to the death of Zionism.
"Content, adapted to the
present day, must be rein-
jected into Zionism. Thus, lost
honor will be restored to the
movement which bears its
name and is supposed to ap-
ply its doctrine."
All this intense interest in
Zionism and the Zionist Con-
gress also opened the way for
other voices to be heard —
`the voices of brash, young
ginger groups like Telem (the
Movement for Zionist Fulfill-
ment) and the newly founded
Both demand that the Zion-
ist movement return to first
principles, placing aliyah at
the top of the agenda and
breaking the debilitating
strangehold of Israeli party
political system.
Temura founder Ofer Pines
asserted boldly this week that
Diaspora money had warped
Zionist values. The World
Zionist Organization should
cut loose from the Jewish
Agency, raise its own funds
and go all out to convince
young Diaspora Jews that
their future lies in Israel.

"We don't need UJA money,
because it conflicts with
Zionist thinking and action,"
he proclaimed. "As long as
the UJA holds the key to the
money, it will greatly in-
fluence the activities (of the
Zionist movement)."
Temura and Telem have a
powerful - champion within,
the Zionist establishment,
not least Uri Gordon, head of
the Jewish Agency's Youth
Aliyah Department, who in-
sists that the time has indeed
come for the Jewish Agency
and the WZO to go their
separate -ways.
The Agency should then get
on with the task of philan-
thropic work in Israel, leav-
ing the WZO to pursue its
own agenda — and its origi-
nal purpose — of aliyah and
Jewish education.
If that means a WZO oper-
ating on a shoestring budget,
so much the better: "Having
a lot of money has made the
WZO corrupt and bureaucrat-
ic," declared Gordon. "It
should be small, militant —
and poor."
The World Union of Jewish
Students (WUJS) also
weighed in by picketing Sun-
day's opening of the Zionist
Congress to protest the fact
that the subject of Ethiopian
Jewry was not on the Con-
gress agenda.
"While the Congress is
talking about who will be the
' next chairman," said WUJS
co-director Danny Yosef,
"Jews are dying, Jews are
neglected, Jews are assimila-
ting. These should be the
At the end of the day, peo-.
ple were probably more con-
fused than enlightened by the
rash of interest and publicity
that surrounded the congress.
It is doubtful that many
would be able to distinguish
between the Jewish Agency
and the WZO — or what their
particular functions are in
the first place.
But two messages have cer-
tainly come through loud and
clear: The first is that the
Zionist structure is in dire
need of an overhaul — even if,
typically - enough, no two
Zionists can agree.
The second is that there is
a small but growing number
of Israelis who have decided
that the future of organized
Zionism is too important to be
left to Israeli politicians and
Diaspora fundraisers.
Most of these critics are
young and powerless and it
will be some time before they
can hope to have any real im-
pact. But if the diversity and
passion of Zionism's loyal op-
position is any indication,
there may be life in the old
body yet.

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