Arye Leon Dulzin (1913-1989)

    Zionist leader and chairman of the Jewish Agency and the World Zionist Organization from 1978-1987.

    Born Minsk, Belarus; died Tel Aviv, Israel.

    Dulzin emigrated from Russia to Mexico in 1928 where he attended the National University of Mexico and became active in Zionist circles.

    He served as secretary of the Zionist Federation of Mexico from 1931-1937 and as the federation's president from 1938-1944. He was a delegate to the Zionist congresses from the 23rd in 1951, was a member of the Zionist Actions Committee and was elected to the Zionist Executive at the 24th congress in 1956.

    In that year he settled in Israel and became head of the Jewish Agency Economics Department and Companies and Investment Department. He served as president of the World Confederation of General Zionists and as a member of the board of directors of Keren Hayesod.

    From 1968-1978, Dulzin was treasurer of the Jewish Agency, during which time he traveled extensively throughout the Diaspora raising funds for Israel. In 1969 he served as minister without portfolio in the Israel government from the Liberal Party, returning to the Zionist executive in 1971. From 1971-1974 and again in 1975 he also served as acting chairman of the Jewish Agency executive and in 1978 was elected chairman, a post he held until 1987.

    From 1968-1987 he was governor of Otzar Hityashvut haYehudim, the Holding Company of Bank Leumi and governor of the Israel Land Development Company. He was president of the Israel-American Society and a member of the executive and later chairman of the central committee of the Liberal Party in Israel.

    From 1968-1988 he was chairman of the World Council for Soviet Jewry and vice-president of the Memorial Foundation. In 1987, he became president of Beit Hatefutsoth, the Museum of the Diaspora.

    In his role as chairman of the Jewish Agency and the World Zionist Organization, Dulzin pursued the path of Chaim Weizmann and Louis Marshall, architects of the agreement between the Zionists and non-Zionists which led to the establishment of the Jewish Agency in 1929. These two leaders agreed to disagree ideologically while seeking a pragmatic accommodation whereby non-Zionists could be involved in concrete aspects of Zionist programs, especially in the field of Jewish settlement in Eretz-Israel. In his decade as chairman of the executive, Dulzin worked to interpret the spirit of the original compact as expressed in the 1971 reconstitution of the Jewish Agency so that the Agency and the World Zionist Organization would be welded in both thought and action.

    The practical reordering of priorities under his leadership led to aliya and Jewish education being placed at the very center of the Agency's commitment together with a wide range of practical undertakings in Israel.

    Dulzin stood at the forefront of the struggle for the rights of Soviet Jews to repatriate to Israel. He insisted that they were not refugees, and rallied diverse sectors of organized Jewish life to intensified political action on behalf of the aliya of Soviet Jewry. In 1984- 1985, Dulzin also worked to implement the rescue and aliya of 10,000 Ethiopian Jews in Operation Moses.

    He initiated reforms in the structure of the Jewish Agency and the World Zionist Organziation and a democratization of the WZO, so that in 1987 elections were held in most countries for delegates to the Zionist congress.

    Dulzin's work was characterized by his commitment to unify the Jewish people around the State of Israel through ideology and the institutions of the Zionist movement.

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