World Zionist Congress elections: MERCAZ
The Forward invited the 15 parties contending for the World Zionist Congress elections, which end March 11, to write an article about why readers should support them. Eight responded by our deadline (we’ll happily publish the others; contact email@example.com). The parties are presented in alphabetical order.
The American delegates to the Congress help allocate nearly $5 billion to Jewish organizations and programs in Israel and around the world. Read more about the election process here.
Below is an op-ed provided by Conservative/Masorti Judaism in Israel (MERCAZ)
For the Conservative/Masorti Movement the result of the WZC elections make a real difference on the ground. This election seems to have focused heavily on the allocation of funds – which is of course important. But the question is why is this important?
The real answer is that this election is about the soul of Israel — what kind of place is Israel and what will it be going forward. The money is an easy proxy for this question. Your vote for MERCAZ – the official slate of Conservative/Masorti Judaism will be a vote for the rights of all Jews to truly feel at home in the Jewish homeland. Everyone needs to be able to practice Judaism as they choose without fear of being deemed illegitimate and the money should be spent accordingly
Conservtive/Masorti Judaism is growing in Israel. Over 800,000 Israelis now identify with arms of Judaism that are not recognized by the Chief Rabbis, over 80 Masorti/Conservative congregations now exist around the country, over 1,000 families annually hold b’nei mitzvah at Robinson’s Arch — the egalitarian part of the Kotel —enabling the entire family to participate, our Conservative Seminary is thriving and training Rabbis, hundreds of students visit Israel on our programs each year through Ramah, USY, Nativ and our seminaries – JTS, Ziegler, Schocken, and the Conservative Yeshiva. This is what must continue to grow and be funded.
While some groups would like to make this a referendum on the peace process, today the Congress makes major policy decisions concerning the future of Israel, including Zionism; Aliyah and absorption; Israeli advocacy worldwide; Jewish education; and other vital issues for Israel and the Jewish people’s future. It also controls significant funds that get spent on programs and policies.
MERCAZ is the Zionist organization of the Conservative/Masorti movement and represents its interests in the World Zionist Organization, the Jewish Agency for Israel and Keren Kayemeth, or Jewish National Fund. MERCAZ is the force that guarantees funding and influence for our religious stream that is so crucial to making changes on the ground.
Although other slates share some of our values, only a vote for MERCAZ, Slate 6, will help us gain the power and influence we need to further the cause of religious pluralism in Israel, making the Jewish homeland, a comfortable home for all Jews. But ultimately the choice is yours. In this critical election, we hope you will decide to be counted with MERCAZ as a Conservative/Masorti Jew. A vote for MERCAZ will help ensure that our right to practice Judaism as we choose is recognized and funded. Vote MERCAZ Slate 6.
_Sarrae G Crane, executive director MERCAZ