The World Zionist Congress elects the officers and decides on the policies of the World Zionist Organization (WZO). The first Zionist Congress was organized by Theodor Herzl in 1897 in Basel, Switzerland and it has been convened regularly ever since. Since the establishment of Israel, the Congress has always taken place there, and now convenes every five years.
This is the ONLY political arena in Israel where Diaspora Jewry has a seat and the only place where Israeli decision makers must hear us out. We have a voice, and that voice translates into funding. The bigger that voice, the better able we are to allocate funds and influence decisions.
Your vote for MERCAZ allows for our Conservative/Masorti communities in Israel to live the lives we take for granted in the United States, where Conservative conversions are accepted without question, women can read Torah proudly and without fear, and egalitarian minyanim are celebrated.
The decisions of the Congress influence hundreds of millions of dollars in funding that is critical to the existence of our Conservative/Masorti communities in Israel and around the world. The larger the MERCAZ delegation, the more influence we have in shaping WZC policy, the share of board representation on The National Institutions (World Zionist Organization, the Jewish Agency For Israel & Keren Kayement L’Israel aka Jewish National Fund) is larger, and the funding that supports conservative movement programming in Israel is larger. Currently MERCAZ has 2 seats on the WZO board, 3 seats on the KKL board and the JAFI Vice-Chair.
American Jews elect 152 delegates to the Congress, by far the largest contingent from a single country outside of Israel, comprising almost one third of all elected representatives. There are 507 total representatives in the Congress which are divided amongst different countries around the world: 190 representatives come from Israel, 152 from the United States and 165 from the rest of the Diaspora.
MERCAZ delegates represent the breadth of the Conservative/Masorti Movement and its partner organizations within the Conservative/Masorti Movement, creating a voice for hundreds of thousands of Jews in our communities across the globe. MERCAZ USA will join its numbers with elected delegates from Conservative movements around the world to have greater weight.
How do I vote?
The election will take place between between January 21, 2020 and March 11, 2020. The vast majority of ballots will be cast online, however paper ballots can be requested if necessary. If you ‘Pledge to Vote” using the MERCAZ system - we will send you a reminder when the voting period opens as well as periodic updates about the election.
Who is eligible to vote?
Participating in the election is open to anyone who is:
Over 18 years of age as of June 30, 2020
Resides permanently in the United States
Registers to vote by paying a small fee which helps cover the administrative cost of the elections
Accepts the ‘Jerusalem Program’ a short statement that expresses a commitment to Zionism
THE JERUSALEM PROGRAM IS THE OFFICIAL PLATFORM OF THE WORLD ZIONIST ORGANIZATION AND THE ZIONIST MOVEMENT
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, 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;
Settling the country as an expression of practical Zionism.
The above information was taken from the Vote Mercaz 2020 Website.
You can click here to register to vote: https://www.mercaz2020.org/
Rabbi Bradley Tecktiel has been Midbar Kodesh Temple's spiritual leader since August 2008. Rabbi Tecktiel was ordained at the Jewish Theological Seminary of America in May of 1996. He holds two Bachelor of Arts degrees, one from List College and one from Columbia University. He also holds a Masters of Arts from the Jewish Theological Seminary.
You can follow him on Twitter @RabbiMKT.