What “They” Say
This is why the Torah community must vote, to prevent values of the liberal movements from infiltrating the Torah atmosphere of Eretz Yisrael.
From the Conservative Movement Campaign for the World Zionist Congress Election, Mercaz2020.org
We have very few opportunities, as Jews living in America, to influence and make change in Israel.
This is one of those times.
Every five years, Jews from around the world are asked to step-up and be counted in the World Zionist Congress Election. The next election begins on January 21, 2020. 152 delegates will be elected to represent the US and asked to make critical decisions about the future of the Jewish people in Israel – religious freedom, democratic principles, and the celebration of diversity – are all at stake.
Your Vote for Mercaz Can Make Real Change.
Stand up and be counted. Casting your vote for the MERCAZ Slate will ensure that the Conservative Movement has the strongest possible delegation at the Congress. Join us!
From Conservative Movement:
Finally, he participated in the planning stages of our movement’s participation in the next World Zionist Organization (WZO) elections to the Congress. Rabbi Wernick explains, “The WZO and Jewish Agency function as a parliament of the Jewish people. The better the election results, the more influence we have at these, the National Institutions of the Jewish People, with regard to Diaspora-Israel relations, Zionist education, religious pluralism in Israel around personal status issues, applying our values with regard to Israel’s social challenges and having a meaningful, more nuanced voice with regard to matters of Peace and co-existence for Israel and her neighbors. Positive WZO election results also lead to assuring and growing funding for our movement worldwide totaling approximately $3 million annually in which our values are brought to life every day in our kehillot throughout Europe, Latin America, Africa, Australia and Israel.”
From Reform Movement:
A strong election turnout among North America’s Reform Jews and our supporters and allies will ensure that financial resources will continue to flow to our Israeli movement – including Reform congregations and institutions. It also will allow us to fill leadership positions in some of Israel’s national institutions, including the World Zionist Organization (WZO), the Jewish Agency for Israel, and Keren Kayemeth LeIsrael – Jewish National Fund (KKL-JNF).
A leadership role in KKL-JNF will enable us to ensure that decisions about government and public spending over the Green Line, including land purchases, reflect the Reform Movement’s values and positions. Only in this way can we continue to build a democratic society in Israel that truly reflects the Jewish values we hold dear: pluralism, equality, economic justice, and peace.
What’s more, because JAFI and the WZO support programs of the World Union for Progressive Judaism (WUPJ), high voter turnout will prove beneficial for WUPJ congregations and for Netzer Olami and Tamar, which offer programming for Progressive Jewish youth and young adults in communities around the world.
Times of Israel Article
This makes our involvement in the Word Zionist Congress so important.
“Likewise, the agency has successfully pushed for education on Diaspora Jewry in Israeli schools. A new program for sixth graders was approved and is currently in development and being taught to teachers through the Ministry of Education.”
(A PROGRAM WRITTEN BY THE REFORM MOVEMENT AND THE NEW ISRAEL FUND)
“In what is arguably the most ambitious portion of the plan, “The Jewish Agency will also work to ensure the involvement of global Jews in shaping the face of Israeli society.””
“As seen through the stymied Western Wall pluralistic prayer pavilion and attempts to legislate for conversion to Judaism outside of the Israeli rabbinate, Diaspora Jewry has had limited success in shaping Israeli policy and society.”
JOFA – Jewish Orthodox Feminist Alliance:
Dear Friend of JOFA,
Once every five years …
In the coming election, JOFA has joined with The International Rabbinic Fellowship, Porat, and Yeshivat Chovevei Torah to form Dorshei Tzion ve-Torah – Torah and Israel for All (DTT) to bring the voice of a committed and open-minded Modern Orthodox Zionist worldview that is committed to Orthodoxy, dedicated to working with all Jews, open to expanding the role of women in all areas of religious and spiritual and political life, and focused on strengthening the ties between the Diaspora and the State of Israel. Our complete platform is attached below.* Please join us by registering to vote and signing the petition that will allow our slate to run. We need 500 signatures by September 27, 2019. To register and sign the petition, please take the following steps:
1. Please go to www.ZionistElection.org, and click the “Registration” button at the bottom of the page (left side).
2. Complete the registration form and pay the registration fee of $7.50.
3. Return to www.ZionistElection.org, and…
Thank you in advance for your support.
Shabbat Shalom and Chodesh Tov,
Pamela Scheininger, President
Daphne Lazar-Price, Executive Director
*Dorshei Torah V’Tziyon, DTT
[… They list a number of platforms, and among them is the following…]
DTT supports efforts to strengthen the Jewish identity of Israel as a state and to connect individual Jewish Israelis to their heritage. We support efforts to allow multiple religious options in the public and private sphere which reflect the reality of the State of Israel as the nation state of the entirety of Klal Yisrael. We support efforts to give Israelis choices in kashrut supervision (such as Hashgacha Pratit), weddings (Chupot and Tzohar) and prayer spaces for all at the Kotel (including Original Women of the Wall/Tefillat Nashim BaKotel and Women of the Wall/Nshot Hakotel). We also support alternative efforts for those not deemed Jewish by halacha to find alternative acceptable paths to conversion (Giyur K’halacha). We further support the right of all Jews eligible to make Aliyah under the law of return to have a path to marry legally within the State.
Vying for seats at World Zionist Congress, liberal newcomers like Peter Beinart hope to block Israeli settlements funding
WASHINGTON (JTA) — The list includes names like Peter Beinart, the liberal writer; Jeremy Ben-Ami, the president of the liberal Middle East policy group J Street; and Sheila Katz, the CEO of the National Council of Jewish Women.
No, it’s not an ad for a symposium on the Upper East Side, but a slate of first-time candidates seeking seats in the 38th World Zionist Congress, the legislative authority of a 120-year-old Zionist organization that helps determine the fate of $1 billion in spending on Jewish causes.
Elections, which are open to Jews 18 and over anywhere in the world, are held every five years. The next ones will be held between Jan. 21 and March 11.
The candidates hope to steer funding away from Jewish settlement expansion in the West Bank and toward causes like expanding rights for women and minorities. The second paragraph of the group’s platform notes its opposition to “the current policy of permanent occupation and annexation,” which it calls “unjust” and a threat to Israeli democracy.
Liberal Jewish groups already hold a majority of the American Jewish community’s 145 seats in the congress, but they have mainly used them to advocate for more religious pluralism in Israel. The new candidates hope to nudge those groups toward addressing the Israeli occupation of the West Bank more directly and to registering the unhappiness of the American Jewish community with the status quo there.
“My view of the American Jewish establishment and the Zionist establishment is that it is morally corrupt by defending the indefensible, for defending an occupation that holds millions of people occupied,” Beinart said in an interview.
The first-time candidates are running on the Hatikvah slate, which for years represented a small coterie of liberal Zionist groups. This year, Hatikvah aggressively expanded its outreach to liberal groups with greater name recognition.
“We want to bring in new folks,” said Hadar Susskind, a longtime Jewish activist who is directing Hatikvah’s campaign.
Among those newbies vying for spots on the body founded by Theodor Herzl in 1897 are a number of prominent Jewish liberals not known firstly for their activism around Israel, including former Manhattan Borough President Ruth Messinger, American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten and Rabbi Sharon Brous, the founder and senior rabbi of the progressive Los Angeles congregation IKAR.
Organizers hope that outreach to their fans — coupled with liberal disaffection with Israel’s right-wing government and an easier-than-ever elections process — will more than double the list’s representation.
Hatikvah currently holds eight of the 145 seats in the American contingent in the congress. There are 152 slots allocated for Americans in the incoming congress. Representation is divided about equally among Israel, the United States and the rest of the Diaspora.
Herbert Block, the incoming director of the American Zionist Movement, which runs the elections, said enthusiasm appeared to be high across the political spectrum.
“There’s more early engagement in the process now,” Block told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency in an interview. “There are more slates running across the board, there are more candidates running. Overall there’s more interest, which hopefully will lead to more engagement.”
Winning seats in the congress is the chief mechanism for Jewish Americans to influence the leadership of the Jewish Agency and the Jewish National Fund and the $1 billion a year those groups spend on Jewish education in the Diaspora and development projects in Israel, including in the settlements.
Voting is done online and costs $7.50; it’s $5 for those 25 and under. Voters must be 18 or over, reside in the United States and be Jewish.
Over 56,000 U.S. voters took part in the 2015 elections, and Susskind said appeals from the new candidates joining the Hatikvah list could easily expand that number and result in a bigger piece of the pie for the list.
“The impact of this election is $5 billion in Israel and around the world” over the next five years, he said. “And that $1 billion a year comes down to the fact the elections decide on the leadership, but also who sits on boards of the Jewish Agency, Keren Hayesod (the United Israel Appeal) and the Jewish National Fund.”
The majority of the 145 seats in the outgoing congress are held by the Zionist arms of the non-Orthodox movements: Reform’s ARZA holds 56 seats and the Conservative movement’s Mercaz holds 25. The Vote Torah list of Orthodox Zionists holds 24 slots.
In an email blast to its members, J Street said that the $1 billion in annual funding “has a huge impact on the lives of Israelis of all religions and backgrounds as well as Palestinians in the occupied territories.”
The NCJW’s Katz said the effort is a means for the venerable Jewish women’s group to advance the rights of Israeli women, minorities, refugees and the LGBTQ community — all classes that NCJW seeks to protect in the United States.
“We’re proud we will take a seat at the table to advocate on behalf of women and feminists in our movement,” she said.
Morton Klein, the president of the conservative Zionist Organization of America, is acutely aware of the changes that an expanded Hatikvah list could bring. He noted that at least one group on the expanded Hatikvah list, Americans for Peace Now, supports boycotting settlement goods.
“They are opposed to any funding past the 1967 lines, which we fought for, for kindergartens,” Klein said. “These are Jewish people who need help. Some of these groups are harshly critical of Israel, yet they’ll be involved in what the education looks like in Israel.”
Rabbi Jill Jacobs, the executive director of T’ruah: The Rabbinic Call for Human Rights, another new addition to the Hatikvah list who has long campaigned against funding for the settlements, said the longstanding policy of affording two-thirds of World Zionist Congress seats to the Diaspora belies the cliche that non-Israeli Jews should stay out of Israeli politics.
“This is a way for progressive American Jews to help shape the Israel we want and we have every right to work and invest in and create that kind of Israel,” she said.
Ken Bob, director of the liberal Zionist group Ameinu, which has long been part of the Hatikvah list, said the recruitment effort is also a means of outreach to young liberal Jews, a constituency many see as increasingly estranged from Israel.
“There’s a double win,” Bob said.”We can promote our progressive Israel agenda, but also it’s a way to bring in younger Jews who haven’t found ways of connecting to any organized activity.”
World Israel News Article
US non-Zionist leftists mobilize to increase influence over World Zionist Congress
“We’re deeply worried about the idea of non-Zionist progressives running for the World Zionist Congress,” Karma Feinstein-Cohen, executive director of World Herut, told World Israel News.
By World Israel News Staff
“Between January 21 and March 11, 2020, American Jews will have the opportunity to vote online for the Jewish future in Israel and around the world,” says the American Zionist Movement (AZM) on its website.
“Make sure your point of view is represented in the next World Zionist Congress,” says AZM.
“When you vote, you will be able to choose from over a dozen slates representing diverse political beliefs, religious denominations and cultural traditions. Those elected from the United States will join delegates from Israel and around the world at the 38th World Zionist Congress (WZC) in October 2020, the international ‘parliament of the Jewish people,’ to make decisions regarding key institutions which allocate nearly $1 Billion annually to support Israel and World Jewry,” the movement explains.
Among those jockeying for position to have a greater voice is the left-wing Hatikvah, opposed to expanding an Israeli presence in Judea and Samaria and supportive of establishing a Palestinian state in those areas.
“Hatikvah is the progressive slate. We dream of a just and thriving Jewish democracy and hope for a negotiated two state solution. A vote for Hatikvah is a vote for critical services in Israel and against settlement expansion,” it says on its Facebook page.
The slate says that it stands with Israel’s Labor Party and Meretz. Those parties were leading forces in the Israeli government which signed understandings with the Palestine Liberation Organization in 1993, leading to the establishment of the Palestinian Authority in Judea, Samaria, and the Gaza Strip.
Labor has plummeted from a ruling party to its smallest representation ever in the Knesset. Meretz has also fallen significantly.
Hatikvah complains that while “the World Zionist Organization built essential institutions in the Yishuv, the pre-state Jewish settlement in Palestine,” and “has continued to fund youth education, immigrant absorption, and other critical services,” it also “serves as a conduit for the present-day Israeli government to fund settlement expansion” in Judea and Samaria.
“We want an end to the occupation and to the Arab-Israeli conflict,” it says.
Jeremy Ben-Ami, the president of the J Street organization, is on the list, reports JTA. Peter Beinart is also a first-time candidate, the newswire reports. He has expressed support for boycotting products from Israeli settlements.
Also among the candidates on the Hatikvah slate touted on its Facebook page is Jesse Miller, noted as a board member of J Street U at Columbia University in New York, where he is an undergraduate student. J Street U is J Street’s college and university campus organizing arm.
Early this year, past and present members of the J Street U board called for promoting a move to punish Israel for building Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria by cutting U.S. military assistance to the Jewish State. They proposed that every shekel which the Israeli government spends on settlements and [Arab] home demolitions should result in a proportional reduction of American military aid, according to a report by The Intercept.
Speaking at the annual J Street Conference in Washington in October, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), who is running for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination, called for transferring a portion of the U.S. military assistance to Israel to humanitarian relief in the Gaza Strip instead.
“We’re deeply worried about the idea of non-Zionist progressives running for the World Zionist Congress,” Karma Feinstein-Cohen told World Israel News. She is executive director of World Herut, which is running in the elections on its own slate.
“World Zionist Congress elections take place every five years and the resolutions adopted during the WZC have tremendous impact on Israel and world Jewry. The idea that some of the 13 slates running in the WZC seek to penalize Israel for developing Israeli territory should concern everyone who cares about the Jewish State.
“Criticism of Israeli policy is abundantly fair. But the Hatikvah slate has adopted the J-Street platform that seeks to defund and jeopardize Israel’s development, prosperity and security. That is counter-Zionistic.”
“Beinart and Ben-Ami are taking advantage of the WZC’s openness. Their entry into the arena is less participation than infiltration,” she said.
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