Public Announcement by: Eretz Hakodesh Slate
FAQ about the upcoming WZC Elections
I’ve been seeing a lot of ads and articles encouraging me to vote for the WZC.
What exactly is it and what does it have to do with me?
WHAT IS THE WZC?
The World Zionist Congress (WZC) was first convened by Theodor Herzl in 1897, and has since become the ideological and policy-making body of the Zionist movement. It is the only democratically elected global Jewish forum and meets every five years to determine leadership and to influence the policies of Israel’s National Institutions; namely, the World Zionist Organization (WZO), the Jewish Agency for Israel (JAFI), Jewish National Fund-Keren Kayemet LeIsrael (JNF), and Keren Hayesod.
Together, these organizations allocate almost $1 billion in annual funding to support Israel and Jewish communities around the world.
The 38th WZC will be held this year in Yerushalayim from October 20-22.
I SUPPORT ERETZ YISROEL, BUT NOT THE “ZIONIST” MOVEMENT.
WHY SHOULD I GET INVOLVED?
500 delegates are elected to the WZC, divided between Israeli political parties and world Jewry. 152 delegates are elected from the US alone, a number which significantly impacts the balance of power at the congress.
For the last election in 2015, Reform, Conservative, and liberal Jewish groups won the majority of American votes, mainly because the frum community did not turn out to vote. The fallout was that the religious community had no influence, control, or representation when it came to influence and the allocation of millions and millions of dollars in and for the state of Israel, resulting in the funding of several anti-Torah policies.
Your vote is needed to ensure that Torah-true policies will be heard!
WHAT IS MEANT BY “ANTI-TORAH POLICIES”?
Delegates at the last WZC voted to direct large sums of money toward policies and projects which affect every Jew, no matter political affiliation, and severely disregarded Torah’s views. These included:
- Funding legal battles for egalitarian prayer areas at the Kosel
- Launching curriculums in Israeli public schools to teach pluralistic Judaism
- Promoting the absorption of halachically non-Jewish Russian immigrants
- Significantly decreasing MASA funding for Torah institutions
- Fighting to change the halachic process of marriage, divorce, and conversion
- Blocking the purchase of land in Yehudah and Shomron
Your vote directly affects issues of shleimus ha’am and shleimus ha’aretz!
WHAT SORT OF ISSUES WILL FRUM DELEGATES BE VOTING ON?
- Shleimus Ha’aretrz – Security of the yidden who live in and defend Yehuda, Shomron, and the Golan
- Mi Hu Yehudi – Eretz Yisroel welcomes all types of immigrants, but the definition of who is a Jew must be according to Torah
- Kedusha of the Kosel – Men and women have designated sections to daven at the Kosel. Votes will block movements to remove the mechitzah and allow women to read from the Torah.
- Chareidi in the IDF – Ability of government to enforce charaidi service in the IDF and what that experience will be like for the men and women who serve
THESE FUNDS ARE ALSO DIRECTED TO JEWISH LIFE AROUND THE WORLD!
- Security against Anti-Semitism around the world – Allocation of funds and resources to shuls and schools for enhanced security measures.
- Allocation of MASA and other subsidies for students at frum yeshivos and seminaries.
- Programs for Jewish Youth around the world (ex. FSU and Russia) – The level of Judaism included and what role Chabad shluchim can play in these programs.
- Combatting Anti-Semitism on Campus – Utilizing resources for education and security on college campuses, and what role Chabad shluchim can play in these programs.
WHY THE SUDDEN INTEREST IN THE WZC?
Historically, Chabad does not take any positions on Israeli politics and the WZC elections. The last election changed religious life in Israel. Now the Reform movement, fearing the rising orthodox vote just sent out an email saying “They (the orthodox) fear that our victory would be critical in advancing religious pluralism…They are right to be afraid – because that is exactly what we intend to do!”. For that reason, some are making the personal choice to support one of the religious slates.
Various slates have come forward to promote the frum voice at the WZC.
These include Eretz HaKodesh (Slate #1) and the Orthodox Israel Coalition-Mizrachi (Slate #4), both are frum groups with values anchored in Halacha. The ZOA Coalition (Slate #11) is a right ring coalition that includes some orthodox Jews like Torah from Sinai.
The slate with the broadest range of frum support is Eretz Hakodesh. It is spearheaded by Rabbi Pesach Lerner, former Executive Vice President of Young Israel. It is comprised of delegates representing the full gamut of the frum community. The Mizrachi Coalition is led by those committed deeply to advancing Torah in Eretz Yisroel
HOW TO VOTE?
Elections have already begun!
And they will continue until March 11.
Go to EretzHakodesh.org to register, then follow instructions to cast your vote.
Voting takes just a few minutes!
(You must be 18 to vote and without plans to vote for Israel Knesset. There is a $7.50 voter registration fee – $5 for 25 years and under)