The 38th WORLD ZIONIST CONGRESS
October 20th-23rd, 2020
Partners for Progressive Israel is proud to have played a key role in the World Zionist Congress last week, leading the Hatikvah Slate’s 4 delegates and 8 alternates who attended as members of the World Union of Meretz (WUM) delegation. Other Hatikvah slate representatives caucused with the World Labor Zionist Movement. Our slate helped repeal the right wing takeover of the Zionist national institutions.
Our WUM representatives were joined by delegations from 14 countries in 4 continents. Also, Yesh Atid factioned with WUM and we are pleased that they received key positions in the World Zionist Organization (including WZO President).
Below is a report from the Hatikvah Slate on the Congress. We thank each of our partners for their collaboration, activism and commitment to this endeavor.
Hatikvah Slate Statement on the 38th World Zionist Congress
The Hatikvah Slate was established by Ameinu, Partners for Progressive Israel, Habonim Dror North America and Hashomer Hatzair, creating a strong progressive Zionist voice. Joined by Aleph, Americans for Peace Now, Jewish Labor Committee, J Street, National Council of Jewish Women, New Israel Fund and T”ruah, this coalition earned 10 delegates in the U.S. Zionist elections and attended the 38th World Zionist Congress that took place virtually last week.
Largely due to emergence of the ultra-orthodox Eretz Hakodesh list in the U.S. and the increase in right wing Members of Knesset, the right wing-orthodox bloc had a narrow advantage over the center-left bloc in the delegate count at the Congress. Defying historic custom of evenly distributing the leadership portfolios and governance positions in the national institutions among all ideological groups and religious streams to create a wall-to-wall coalition, they instead chose to sign an agreement only among their allies, creating an imbalance with the almost equal minority groups. The political left, center and liberal religious movements rejected this anti-democratic move and planned a strategy to block this power grab.
There is a group of international Zionist organizations, including Hadassah, WIZO, Na’amat, Bnai Brith and World Maccabi, that generally remain neutral in these negotiations and accept the results when finalized. The Hatikvah Slate, together with our colleagues in the Reform, Conservative and Reconstructionist movements, reached out to our friends and colleagues in these organizations and they answered our call for fairness, sending a warning to the right wing-orthodox bloc.
This successful mobilization of support resulted in an unprecedented postponement of the initial election and renewed negotiations resulting in a much improved coalition agreement
Specific accomplishments include:
- Governance balance within the Keren Kayemet L’Yisrael-Jewish National Fund (KK”L-JNF) and the World Zionist Organization (WZO).
- Yesh Atid will chair the KK”L-JNF Finance Committee and the chair of the Environmental Committee will rotate between Labor and the liberal religious streams.
- Kachol Lavan will appoint the Chair of the Keren Hayesod, the Zionist fundraising arm for countries outside of North America.
- The selection of a WZO President from Yesh Atid, designated for a female candidate.
- Meretz designee Dror Morag will establish a new Department for Social Engagement (Tikkun Olam) while Labor designee Silvio Joskovitz will head the Zionist Enterprises Department which will include a new unit for Humanistic Judaism.
In addition, at the Congress we succeeded in passing two key resolutions in the face of fierce opposition from the ZOA and Eretz Hakodesh:
- a Hatikvah sponsored resolution that will empower Zionist youth movements and Jewish Student Unions around the world to lead the effort to combat anti-Zionism on campus, and
- a resolution that assures mutual respect for the diversity of voices within the Zionist Movement that calls for the suspension or dismissal from the WZO and local Zionist organization for personal attacks against the leaders of other Zionist organizations.
With the end of the Congress, we turn our attention to the work of the national institutions going forward. If conditions allow, an extraordinary World Zionist Congress will take place next year and deal with ideological and programmatic issues. We also congratulate our Slate members who were chosen for the following positions:
Zionist General Council
David Dormont (Partners for Progressive Israel)
Leah Schwartz (Habonim Dror North America)
Karen Shapiro (Partners for Progressive Israel)
Yonatan Shargian (Hashomer Hatzair)
Shaina Wasserman (J Street)
WZO Expanded Executive
Nomi Colton-Max (Ameinu)
Jewish Agency Executive
Kenneth Bob (Ameinu)
Hatikvah Delegation to the 38th Zionist Congress
(in alphabetical order)
(in alphabetical order)
Alisa Belinkoff Katz