The Thirteenth Zionist Congress Is Convened in Czechoslovakia

August 6, 1923

Convened in Carlsbad, Czechoslovakia, the Thirteenth Zionist Congress discussed details of the Palestine Mandate and particularly the prerogatives of the Palestine Zionist Executive (PZE) that guided Jewish immigration and settlement in Palestine. Inheriting the work of the Zionist Commission (1918-1921) the PZE was headed by Colonel Frank Kisch. It changed its official name to the “Jewish Agency” in 1929, but already was recognized by the British as the Jewish Agency, which represented Zionist interests in Palestine.

Article four of the “League of Nations: The Mandate for Palestine” states:

An appropriate Jewish agency shall be recognized as a public body for the purpose of advising and co-operating with the Administration of Palestine in such economic, social and other matters as may affect the establishment of the Jewish national home and the interests of the Jewish population in Palestine, and, subject always to the control of the Administration, to assist and take part in the development of the country.

The Zionist organization, so long as its organization and constitution are in the opinion of the Mandatory appropriate, shall be recognized as such agency. It shall take steps in consultation with His Britannic Majesty’s Government to secure the cooperation of all Jews who are willing to assist in the establishment of the Jewish national home.

During the congress, details for the establishment of the Jewish Agency were discussed at length, and the issue of non-Zionists joining the Agency was a point of contention. It was ultimately decided that non-Zionists were not to be included.  However, at the 16th Zionist Congress in Zurich in 1929, Chaim Weizmann, President of the World Zionist Organization, was able to reverse this decision and non-Zionists were admitted.

Pictured are the executives of the Thirteenth Zionist Congress in Carlsbad, Czechoslovakia.