Make Reform Voices Heard in Israel!

The World Zionist Congress (WZC) elections have begun, and it is time to make Temple Micah voices heard in Israel! Each and every vote from our congregation is crucial to maintaining a strong Reform presence. This is our chance to combat the discrimination the Reform Movement faces in Israel. Together we can grow our Reform Movement and work towards making progress on the issues we care about: religious freedom, pluralism, equality, social justice, and more. 

Voting is open from Jan. 21 until March 11. Your vote in this election is the only democratic opportunity you have to influence Israeli society. Cast your ballot for this slate: Vote Reform: ARZA Representing the Reform Movement and Reconstructing Judaism. Click here to view step by step voting instructions. ARZA—the Association of Reform Zionists of America— is the largest constituent of ARZENU, the umbrella organization of Reform and Progressive Religious Zionists in Israel and around the world. ARZENU has a proven record of advocating for an Israel that is Jewish, democratic, and pluralistic, and for leading with our values.

It takes only a few minutes to register to vote and cast your ballot. But a strong Vote for Reform will result in millions of dollars in WZC funds going to progressive causes and initiatives in Israel. 

Participating in the WZC elections is the only way North American Jews can weigh in democratically about issues in Israel. A vote for ARZA is a vote to promote egalitarianism, pluralism, and peace in Israel.

Currently, the United States has 145 delegates in the WZC, the largest single delegation outside Israel. Thanks to a robust turnout in the 2015 elections, 56 of the 145 delegates (39 percent) represent the Reform Movement and, as a result, have been able to ensure that more than $4 million a year ($20 million over five years) is being directed to the Israeli Reform Movement. By comparison, the Israeli government annually provides nearly 4 billion NIS ($1.1 billion) to Orthodox and Haredi institutions in Israel.

Please note that there is a processing fee involved in registering to vote, $7.50 for individuals older than 25, and $5 for those aged 18-25. This is a fee imposed by the World Zionist Congress, not ARZA (Association of Reform Zionists of America) or Temple Micah. It pays the costs of operating the election, safeguarding the security of the election website and process, and other administrative requirements. It can be paid via credit card, PayPal, or other payments available on the voter registration website. To reiterate: This is a fee imposed on us that Temple Micah is not allowed to pay on behalf of congregants, but we hope you will agree that it is a small price to pay to make the Reform voice heard and to have an impact in what happens in Israel.

Any Jewish person over the age of 18 is eligible to vote.

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 the processing fee. 

BACKGROUND

The World Zionist Congress (WZC) is a representative body of the world’s Jewish people.

The WZC, also known as the Parliament of the Jewish People, comprises 500 delegates and meets in Jerusalem every five years. It enables delegates to exert ideological influence on both Israeli society and the global Jewish agenda, as well as allocate financial and other resources to various organizations—including the Reform Movement—in Israel. 

The 38th World Zionist Congress is scheduled to meet in Jerusalem in 2020; the elections to determine the size of the various delegations that will attend are scheduled to be held from January 21 to March 11. Click here for more information from ARZA about the elections. 

With our allies, ARZA has ensured that progressive Jewish movements in Israel were able to grow and expand their reach, making a significant impact on Israeli society and world Jewry at large. Now, in these elections, increasing our representation in the World Zionist Congress is critical to maintaining and building on this success.

A strong election turnout among North America’s Reform Jews and our supporters and allies will ensure that financial resources will continue to flow to our Israeli movement – including Reform congregations and institutions. It also will allow us to fill leadership positions in some of Israel’s national institutions, including the World Zionist Organization (WZO), the Jewish Agency for Israel (JAFI), and Keren Kayemeth LeIsrael – Jewish National Fund (KKL-JNF). Only in this way can we continue to build a democratic society in Israel that truly reflects the Jewish values we hold dear: pluralism, equality, economic and social justice, and peace. 

The Vote Reform ARZA slate pledges:

  • To advocate for government recognition and societal acceptance of the many diverse expressions of Jewish religious identity, so that all such expressions are recognized as legitimate and equal under the law.
  • To support the government and societal initiatives that seek to pursue a Two-State Solution and a long-term peace between Israelis and Palestinians.
  • To influence the National Institutions (such as the WZO, JAFI and KKL-JNF) in support of a strong shared society and democratic civil society in Israel.
  • To assure that liberal streams of Judaism are provided equal financial support and resources in the Jewish State, ensuring that our movements in Israel and all Jewish denominations in Israel remain strong, vibrant, and growing.