Zionists Win Effort To Keep Seats, Sway

By Anthony Weiss

Published July 02, 2008, issue of July 11, 2008.
  • Print
  • Share Share

A number of Zionist groups have won a battle to keep their influence at the American branch of a prominent Jewish organization.

The American branch of Jewish National Fund, a storied organization that played a critical role in building the State of Israel, recently took steps to add board members. The move would have had the effect of diluting the influence of Zionist organizations, which have historically had a set number of board seats at JNF.

When the constitution committee proposed adding up to 70 seats to JNF’s board, the members of the American Zionist Movement objected and killed the proposal during a vote May 19.

“There were aspects of the proposals that we thought weren’t conducive to a positive future for the JNF and us,” said William Hess, president of the American Zionist Movement. “We can’t stop, but we can block. It’s a nasty way of doing business, and I’m not crazy about it.”

JNF is one of a number of older Israel-oriented organizations that have grappled with how to balance the influence of active and wealthy donors against that of groups affiliated with various streams of the Zionist movement, many of which have waned in membership and influence in recent years.

In the fall of 2007, major Jewish donors demanded that the World Zionist Organization, whose officers are selected by representatives of Zionist organizations and the Israeli political parties, be separated from the board of the Jewish Agency for Israel, charging that the WZO’s political bent stood in the way of efficient management.

JNF officials said they were confident that an amicable agreement could be reached.

“Our desire was to increase participation,” said Russell Robinson, CEO of JNF. “One of the best problems one can have is when everyone wants to have a role.”






Find us on Facebook!
  • "I fear that we are witnessing the end of politics in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. I see no possibility for resolution right now. I look into the future and see only a void." What do you think?
  • Not a gazillionaire? Take the "poor door."
  • "We will do what we must to protect our people. We have that right. We are not less deserving of life and quiet than anyone else. No more apologies."
  • "Woody Allen should have quit while he was ahead." Ezra Glinter's review of "Magic in the Moonlight": http://jd.fo/f4Q1Q
  • Jon Stewart responds to his critics: “Look, obviously there are many strong opinions on this. But just merely mentioning Israel or questioning in any way the effectiveness or humanity of Israel’s policies is not the same thing as being pro-Hamas.”
  • "My bat mitzvah party took place in our living room. There were only a few Jewish kids there, and only one from my Sunday school class. She sat in the corner, wearing the right clothes, asking her mom when they could go." The latest in our Promised Lands series — what state should we visit next?
  • Former Israeli National Security Advisor Yaakov Amidror: “A cease-fire will mean that anytime Hamas wants to fight it can. Occupation of Gaza will bring longer-term quiet, but the price will be very high.” What do you think?
  • Should couples sign a pre-pregnancy contract, outlining how caring for the infant will be equally divided between the two parties involved? Just think of it as a ketubah for expectant parents:
  • Many #Israelis can't make it to bomb shelters in time. One of them is Amos Oz.
  • According to Israeli professor Mordechai Kedar, “the only thing that can deter terrorists, like those who kidnapped the children and killed them, is the knowledge that their sister or their mother will be raped."
  • Why does ultra-Orthodox group Agudath Israel of America receive its largest donation from the majority owners of Walmart? Find out here: http://jd.fo/q4XfI
  • Woody Allen on the situation in #Gaza: It's “a terrible, tragic thing. Innocent lives are lost left and right, and it’s a horrible situation that eventually has to right itself.”
  • "Mark your calendars: It was on Sunday, July 20, that the momentum turned against Israel." J.J. Goldberg's latest analysis on Israel's ground operation in Gaza:
  • What do you think?
  • "To everyone who is reading this article and saying, “Yes, but… Hamas,” I would ask you to just stop with the “buts.” Take a single moment and allow yourself to feel this tremendous loss. Lay down your arms and grieve for the children of Gaza."
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.