The election in Israel is over, but World Zionist Congress (WZC) is holding its 37th elections online until April 30, with 10 parties participating.
What Is the World Zionist Congress?
Established in 1897, the World Zionist Congress (WZC) meets every five years to discuss issues of vital importance to the global Jewish community, such as Jewish identity, peace and security, ant-Semitism, civil society in Israel, and the future of the State of Israel.
Who Can Vote?
Anyone who is Jewish, is over the age of 18 and who signs the “Jerusalem Program”:
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.
The foundations of Zionism are:
- the unity of the Jewish people, its bond to its historic homeland Eretz Yisrael, (The Land of Israel) and the centrality of the State of Israel and Jerusalem, its capital, in the life of the nation;
- aliyah to Israel from all countries and the effective integration of all immigrants into Israeli society;
- strengthening Israel as a Jewish, Zionist and democratic state and shaping it as an exemplary society with a unique moral and spiritual character, marked by mutual respect for the multi-faceted Jewish people, rooted in the vision of the prophets, striving for peace and contributing to the betterment of the world;
- ensuring the future and the distinctiveness of the Jewish people by furthering Jewish, Hebrew and Zionist education, fostering spiritual and cultural values and teaching Hebrew as the national language;
- nurturing mutual Jewish responsibility, defending the rights of Jews as individuals and as a nation, representing the national Zionist interests of the Jewish people, and struggling against all manifestations of anti-Semitism; and
- settling the country as an expression of practical Zionism.
Why Should I Vote? Shouldn’t We Leave Israeli Politics to Israelis?
The WZC vote is not an Israeli election. The vote does not effect Knesset or internal Israeli political affairs.
Think of it as World Jewish elections. All Jewish issues are addressed. This is the only democratic congress of all Jews. Additionally, the WZC and Jewish Agency are the legally recognized representative of World Jewry.
Do you support Israel? Donate money? Where do you think it goes? This is your chance to get a say in where the money goes. The Congress of the World Zionist Organization (WZO) sets the agenda and gives orders to the Jewish Agency, its executive branch.
Your vote will influence how many delegates are assigned to the party you choose, thereby giving it more influence in choosing the Congress’ resolutions.
Resolutions are of three varieties: financial (how much money should go in particular directions), political/social (i.e. policies) and operational (how the WZO and Jewish Agency should operate and who should be elected to governing boards).
What Difference Will My One Vote Make?
Five-hundred delegates are elected to the WZC. In 2015, Israel will send about 200 delegates, (38%) and U.S. will send 145 (29%), as the largest Diaspora community out of 40; those 145 will be divided among 10 different parties.
Fewer than 90,000 Americans voted in either 2002 and 2006 for the 34th and 35th Congresses. That means that it takes less than 600 people’s votes to be elected a delegate.
Who Is Running?
- American Forum for Israel. Affiliated with the American Forum of Russian Speaking Jewry (platform, slate)
How Do I Vote?
- Visit the election website.
- Complete the registration form.
- Pay the registration fee by personal check, credit card or PayPal. (The fee is $5 for people from 18 to 30 years old and $10 for people over 30.)
- Vote for the party of your choice.
- Add your comments below and encourage your friends to do the same. Feel free to add polite comments in support of your favorite party.
Why Should I Have to Pay to Vote? That Doesn’t Sound Very Democratic!
Elections cost money. Here in the U.S., our yearly state and federal taxes provide the funds for all elections. For the WZO Congress, our registration fees cover the costs of the election.
Prices are affordable, so that hopefully everyone will be able to participate. Better to fund these elections with voter fees than to divert community funds to cover these costs.
I’ve Voted. Why Not You?