Progressives Block Right Wing Attempt to Dominate the WZO

The progressive Hatikvah list to the World Zionist Organization (WZO), of which Americans for Peace now is a member organization, scored an important achievement last week at the 35th Zionist Congress.

The gathering was held virtually between October 20th and October 22nd with some 500 delegates from 14 countries in attendance.

During the gathering, nationalist right-wing and Ultra-Orthodox organizations and political parties, which represent the majority of WZO delegates attending (269 out of 521 in attendance), formed a “coalition agreement” that would strip progressive center-left organizations of any positions of influence within the WZO and its affiliate organizations (the Jewish Agency for Israel, United Israel Appeal and the Jewish National Fund, or Keren Kayemeth L’Israel).

Hatikvah list, together with other progressive Jewish organizations and parties, succeeded in blocking the right-wing, Ultra-Orthodox coalition agreement and incorporated significant changes that would ensure checks and balances and inclusion of all streams of the Zionist movement.

Here are some of the Changes introduced by progressive members of the WZO:

  • For the first time in its history, the Zionist Movement will appoint a President from the center-left liberal Zionist block. This will be a voluntary position (not paid). The President will be nominated by the Yesh Atid party and designated for a female candidate to represent the Zionist movement in Israel and abroad as an ambassador of good will for all the Zionist streams and viewpoints.
  • The KKL Education committee will not be under the exclusive control of Eretz HaKodesh, the Ultra Orthodox list. The committee will have two co-chairs, one from Eretz HaKodesh and one from Blue and White (Kahol Lavan). Each will lead the committee by rotation.
  • The Finance Committee of the JNF (Keren Kayemet) will no longer be controlled by Likud. It will be chaired by a representative of Israel’s Yesh Atid party.
  • The Executive Board (Directors) of the JNF and the WZO will be filled on the basis of parity.
  • In the WZO for the first time a department of social engagement (tikun olam) will be established and headed by Meretz.
  • A department focusing on working with Israelis in the Diaspora will be established and headed by the Reform Movement, and a unit for humanistic Judaism will be headed by the Labor Party.

This post was prepared using a report by APN’s delegate to the WZC, the Deputy Chair of our Board of Directors, Aviva Meyer, a report by Arzenu, and a news story by Haaretz