The following is adapted from the most recent newsletter of the World Union of Meretz (WUM):
The World Union of Meretz participated in the Va’ad Hapoel [the Zionist General Council] of the World Zionist Organization in Jerusalem which focused on young people and their connection to Zionism and Israel. Our delegation was headed by Rany Trainin, Dario Teitelbaum and Dov Puder and included several representatives both from Israel and from abroad, as well as a large group of young shomrim who joined us for the final ceremony for the 100 year anniversary of Hashomer Hatzair. Arieh Lebowitz from the United States [our colleague representing Partners for Progressive Israel] also participated as part of our delegation. Arieh contributed significantly to the deliberations during the Va’ad Hapoel, playing a central role within our delegation.
|MK Tamar Zandberg
Two Meretz MKs, Nitzan Horowitz and Tamar Zandberg spoke on behalf of the World Union of Meretz (WUM). Right before the Va’ad Hapoel, Nitzan Horowitz spoke as keynote speaker at the Avoda-Meretz-Arzenu Joint Faction meeting about the relation between religion and state in Israel and about the Peace Process. Tamar Zandberg spoke at the Jewish Agency General Assembly about different topics, including economic issues and social justice. At the Va’ad Hapoel itself, the WUM emerged as a strong voice and together with the Reform Movement and the Labor Faction we managed to influence many of the resolutions that were approved. The final resolutions that were passed will be sent out soon. It is now time to start working on the elections for the next Zionist Congress and ensure that we will have a strong representation able to significantly influence the important decisions that will be taken during the Congress.
Some Updates from Dario Teitelbaum, Acting Secretary General of the WUM:
These are “quiet” days that follow several weeks of hard work for the Va’ad Hapoel and The Jewish Agency General Assembly and Board of Governors. We note with satisfaction the good team work of our delegation and the positive cooperation with our Joint Faction wich includes ARZENU (The Reform Movement) and the Zionist Labor Movement. The World Union Meretz contributed to the events of the Va’ad Hapoel with some unique “color”: the special blue of Hashomer Hatzair. Even though the central topic of the Va’ad Hapoel was youth, the World Union of Meretz was the only party that respected the rules of the Zionist Congress which require at least 30% of the delegation to be composed of young delegates; in fact eight young shomrim participated to the Va’ad Hapoel as delegates for the World Union of Meretz.
In addition, at the closing event of the Va’ad Hapoel, we held a ceremony to celebrate the 100 year anniversary of Hashomer Hatzair which included updated video clips about the movement, as well as speeches by Abraham Douvdavani, Chairman of the WZO, Itay Ziidnberg , Secretary General of Hashomer Hatzair Israel, our friend Dov Puder and Karen Isaacs, a shomeret from Canada who immigrated to Israel and is leading several educational programs in the movement. The end of the Va’ad Hapoel marks the beginning of our next challenge: the elections for the Zionist Congress which will take place from the 20th until the 22nd of October 2015. Before that, the next Va’ad Hapoel will take place from the 18th until the 20th of June 2014.
Towards this new challenge we have to organize all our activities and soon we will send a working plan for the elections process. At the World Union of Meretz, we draw a lot of encouragement from Meretz Israel, which has certainly become the leading force in the Israeli left and is increasing its popularity week after week. For example in the municipal elections of this past October, Meretz achieved impressive results in many cities and particularly in Tel Aviv, Bat Yam , Ramat Hasharon and
Our young delegate from Switzerland, Kevin Sachs, delivered an impressive speech
at the Va’ad Hapoel plenary on “Young people, Zionism, Israel and everything in between,” about the importance of keeping both the Jewish and democratic nature of Israel alive by ending the occupation and entering serious negotiations with the Palestinians. Kevin also emphasized that younger generations feel alienated from the Zionist movement and that there is an urgency to re-engage youth with a new stream
of progressive Zionism.
News from Israel
In Israel, Meretz continues to gain momentum and the latest survey by the Knesset channel shows that if elections were to be held today, Meretz would become the third largest party with as much as 13 seats in the Knesset! Meretz reported impressive results also in the municipal elections of October 22nd where it increased its power by as much as 41%! All of this is a direct result of the hard work of our representatives who work continously and consistently to monitor Israeli democracy and advance progressive legislations.
During the past month, Meretz led a vast campaign to improve the legislation regarding women’s rights in Israel and managed to promote a series of bills that protect women from violence and sexual assault. In parallel, Meretz MKs are strongly opposing any legislation that infringes on human rights and equality. After the Supreme Court overruled the infiltration law because of its disregard of basic human rights, a new version of the law has been proposed and our MKs are doing everything they can to strongly oppose it.
Unfortunately the current government is also continuing to damage our international image by delegitimizing the efforts conducted by Western states to reach an agreement with Iran on nuclear enrichment. As Meretz Chairwoman Zehava Gal-On said, the agreement is real and it is time for our government to stop whining and start cooperating with the few allies we still have.
Furthermore, the government continues with its obsessive building in the territories which costs us millions of dollars every day. The budget of the Settlement Division increased by 800% since the original budget was approved just few months ago, while Netanyahu and Livni continue to buy more time in futile negotiations.