By Maya Levy, NFTY President
If you believe that….
- All genders should have a place to pray together at the Western Wall
- Of the hundreds of rabbis that the Israeli government funds, more than nine of those funded should be part of the Reform Movement
- Orthodox rabbis should not be the only religious leaders allowed to perform a state-sanctioned wedding ceremony
- Settlement activity across the Green Line is an impediment to peace
- Reform Jews in Israel deserve the right to build their own communities
…then you should be participating in the World Zionist Congress elections!
The World Zionist Congress (WZC) is a representative body of the world’s Jewish people.
Established by Theodor Herzl in 1897, the World Zionist Congress (WZC) and its programmatic arm, World Zionist Organization (WZO), are non-governmental entities that promote Zionism across the Jewish world.
The WZC is like a parliament of the Jewish People. Its 500 delegates meet in Jerusalem every five years to influence Israeli society and the global Jewish agenda. The WZC allocates financial and other resources to various organizations – including the Reform Movement – in Israel and around the world.
The 38th Congress is scheduled to meet in Jerusalem in 2020. Elections to determine the size of delegation representing Jews in the US will be held online, January 21 — March 11, 2020 (MLK Day to Purim).
Participating in these elections is the only way North American Jews weigh in democratically about issues in Israel.
The US has 145 delegates in the WZC, the largest single delegation outside Israel. 56 of the 145 delegates represent the Reform Movement due to a robust election turnout in 2015. Thus, $4 million a year ($20 million over five years) was allocated to the Israel Reform Movement, leading to tremendous growth in community building and reach.
A stronger Reform election turnout in 2020 guarantees financial resources for our Israeli movement. In addition, it gives Reform Jews the power to fill leadership positions in Israel’s National Institutions: the World Zionist Organization (WZO), the Jewish Agency for Israel (JAFI), and Keren Kayemeth LeIsrael – Jewish National Fund (KKL-JNF).
KKL-JNF owns approximately 13% of the land in Israel, including land in the West Bank. We want our voice represented in the leadership of KKL-JNF to ensure that decisions about land purchases reflect our values and positions of democracy, pluralism, equality, economic justice, and peace.
JAFI and the WZO also support programs of the World Union for Progressive Judaism (WUPJ), therefore higher voter turnout will prove beneficial for WUPJ congregations and youth and young adult engagement (Netzer Olami and Tamar) around the world.
Voting will be quick and easy.
All voting will be completed online and will be accessible from mobile devices. It is a simple process and will take only a few minutes.
Voters in the WZC elections must:
- Be 18 years of age or older (by June 30, 2020)
- Self-identify as Jewish
- Agree to the Jerusalem Program, the official platform of the WZO and the Zionist Movement
- Agree to pay a minimal processing fee of $7.50, or $5 for those under 25.
Get ready for the NFTY WZC Competition!
The entire URJ is mobilizing to get out the WZC vote and NFTY is all in! Even if you can’t vote, you can play a crucial role in mobilizing. To get out the vote and increase awareness, NFTY will hold a competition!
How the competition works:
Each NFTY Region gets a unique link to direct people to the WZC election’s voting page. This link will track every unique click (it will only track one address one time) and by the end of the election period, the region with the link that receives the most clicks wins an Israeli chocolate tasting party for their region!
Find your region’s link below:
Here’s what you need to do:
Share your regional link with members and alumni of your region, friends, family, and members of your synagogue. Let them know why it is important for them to vote in the WZC!
Want a postcard to share? Or stickers for people who vote? You can order election materials!
Remember – a win for your region is a win for Reform Judaism!
Adapted from 5 Things You Should Know About the WZC Elections by Alexandra Gilbert