If you haven’t heard, there’s an election. While the internet, radio, and television are filled with campaign ads, the other election has not gotten quite as much press. The World Zionist Congress is holding its election to determine the leadership and influence the policies of Israel’s National Zionist Institutions, which affect so much in the Jewish state – from the rules surrounding aliyah, to funding Reform rabbinic salaries at the same level as orthodox salaries, to issues of peace and security, and much more. If we want Israel to be a pluralistic state, this is the best way to make our voices heard there.
Delegates from throughout the Diaspora make up the Congress, representing their institutions in this elected body, which dates back to 1897 when Theodor Herzl convened the first Zionist Congress. There are 500 delegates are elected to this body, 152 of which will be American Jews, representing our interests in the Diaspora. There are 15 American slates to choose from, ranging from right to left, inclusive of all the major Jewish movements in America – Reform, Conservative, Orthodox, and others. You can download the list of slates here.
At the last World Zionist Congress, ARZA, the Reform Movement’s platform, sent 56 out of 145 total candidates, thanks to our energies in mobilizing people to vote. Hatikvah and Mercaz, two other progressive platforms allied to ours, sent an additional 33. We can do even better this year.
We urge you to get out the vote! In order to vote, you must be Jewish, over the age of 18 as of June 30, 2020, be a permanent resident of the United States not voting in the Israeli elections, and you must affirm your commitment to the Jerusalem Program, the official Zionist platform. The Jerusalem Program states that: Zionism, the national liberation movement of the Jewish people, brought about the establishment of the State of Israel, and views a Jewish, Zionist, democratic and secure State of Israel to be the expression of the common responsibility of the Jewish people for its continuity and future.
These elections will determine how we achieve that goal for the next five years. Voting takes place online, though paper ballots are available and we can help you access them if need be. You must vote before March 11, 2020, and there is a fee of $7.50, which we are happy to help you with if you need the help. At any Temple Sinai events from now until March 11, if you want to vote, we will make our computers available to do so.