A Review of the Fifteen US Slates for the World Zionist Congress

The World Zionist Congress is holding elections through March 11, 2020. There are fifteen slates running from across the political and religious spectrum. They represent roughly 1,800 individual candidates.

In the last election held in 2015, there were eleven slates representing 1,100 candidates. Reform Judaism took the greatest number of votes by a wide margin, surpassing the combined total of the Conservative and Orthodox slates.

2015 World Zionist Election
United States’ Election Results

Slate Votes Seats
ARZA – Reform Judaism 21,766 56
Mercaz USA – Conservative Judaism 9,890 25
Vote Torah: Religious Zionists 9,594 24
American Forum for Israel 3,773 10
HATIKVAH: Progressive Zionists 3,148 8
ZOA 2,738 7
Zionist Spring 2,696 7
World Sephardic Organization 1,650 4
Alliance for New Zionist Vision 735 2
Green Israel 443 1
Herut North America 304 1

In this WZC election, one of the 2015 slates – Green Israel – did not run again. Two slates modified their names and there are five new slates including Eretz HaKodesh (#1); Dorshei Torah V’Tziyon (#7); Kol Yisrael (#14) and Shas (#15, which was part of Ohavei Zion in the US).

The full list of slates is as follows (with the ordering / numbering having been chosen by the AZM at random):

  1. Eretz Hakodesh: Protecting the Kedusha and Mesorah of Eretz Yisrael
  2. Vote Reform: ARZA Representing the Reform Movement and Reconstructing Judaism
  3. Israel Shelanu (Our Israel)
  4. Orthodox Israel Coalition – Mizrachi: Vote Torah
  5. Vision: Empowering the Next Generation
  6. MERCAZ USA: The Voice of Conservative/Masorti Judaism
  7. Dorshei Torah V’Tziyon: Torah and Israel for All
  8. Hatikvah: Progressive Israel Slate
  9. Ohavei Zion: World Sephardic Zionist Organization
  10. Herut Zionists: The Jabotinsky Movement
  11. ZOA Coalition: Zionist Organization of America (ZOA), Torah from Sinai, Make Israel Great (MIG) & National Pro-Israel Partners – Courageously Defending Israel, Sovereignty & the Jewish People
  12. American Forum for Israel
  13. Americans4Israel: Unity, Peace & Security
  14. Kol Yisrael: For the love of Israel – Making Zionism Compelling in the 21st Century
  15. Shas Olami

As in the past election, the main distinction between the slates mostly breaks down according to religious and political philosophy as portrayed on the graphic below.

 

Religiously Oriented
From Most Right to Most Left

Shas Olami (#15)
Eretz Hakodesh (#1)
Orthodox Israel Coalition – Mizrachi (#4)
Dorshei Torah V’Tziyon (#7)
MERCAZ USA (#6)
ARZA-Vote Reform (#2)

Politically Orientated
From Most Right to Most Left

ZOA Coalition (#11)
Herut Zionists (#10)
Israel Shelanu (#3)
Hatikvah (#8)

Outside of Religion and Politics

Kol Yisrael (#14)
Americans4Israel (#13)
Vision (#7)

Many of the groups have a philosophy combining both politics and religion, and only a few have tried to stay out of politics and religion at all such as Americans4Israel.

The Jerusalem Program
and the Deserved Disqualification of Hatikvah (#8)

There are not many requirements to vote in the WZC elections. Most are basic criteria such as being Jewish, 18 years old, a permanent resident of the United States and not having voted in the latest Knesset elections. The more affirmative declaration asks people to accept the “Jerusalem Program.”

The Jerusalem Program was first established in Basel, Switzerland at the First Zionist Congress in 1897 and has changed very little since that time. Small modifications were made after significant events in the life of Israel, including modifications in 1951, 1968 and 2004. All modifications were made by consensus.

Key points of the Jerusalem Program highlight the particularity of Israel as the home of the Jewish people. For example:

  • Strengthening Israel as a Jewish, Zionist and democratic society…”
  • “Ensuring the future and distinctiveness of the Jewish people by furthering Jewish, Hebrew and Zionist education…”
  • “… representing the national Zionist interests of the Jewish people…”
  • “Settling the country as an expression of practical Zionism.”

The program clearly focuses on Israel as a Jewish State, not a bi-national state. The focus is on Jews, Judaism and Hebrew, not on Arabs, Islam and Arabic.

Yet one of the slates running for the WZC – Hatikvah (slate #8) – opposes those basic principles. Its members include The New Israel Fund, J Street, T’ruah, Americans for Peace Now. The New Israel Fund is actively trying to promote a bi-national state and tear down the distinctiveness of the Jewish State. J Street lobbied the US’s Obama Administration to enable United Nations Security Council Resolution 2334, which labeled the Old City of Jerusalem as illegal Occupied Palestinian Territory, the very opposite of settling Jews and strengthening the Jewishness of the country. Leaders of T’ruah loudly came to defense of Linda Sarsour, a vocal anti-Zionist. According to the philosophy of the far-leftist groups of Hatikvah, 11 million Palestinian Arab refugees from across the world – including Israel – should similarly have their own “World Palestinian Congress” to direct Israeli money towards Arab priorities inside of Israel.

While the groups in the Hatikvah slate stated they support the Jerusalem Program to get on the ballot, it has the equivalent honesty of the Pope saying he’s Jewish. It is a Trojan horse to break the very Jewishness of the Jewish State.

Suggested Slates

Competing slates hurt each other as there is a defined number of seats available. Two similar parties might end up losing a seat by dividing their votes, so it makes the most sense for everyone to rally around a single slate within a cluster which best represents their preferences.

Below are suggested slates to improve the probability of your vote having impact. While there are fifteen slates running, only six of them should be given serious consideration.

Right Religiously/ Right Politically: Vote Slate #4, Orthodox Israel Coalition. OIC has a proven ability to get votes. Don’t dilute and divide the focus among Shas Olami (#15) and Eretz Hakodesh (#1).

Right Religiously / Left Politically: Vote Slate #7, Dorshei Torah V’Tziyon. There is no other option.

Non-Religious / Right Politically: Vote Slate #11, ZOA. A proven vote-getter, avoid the smaller Herut (#10) and the niche Sephardic (#9) and Russian (#12) groups.

Non-Religious / Left-Politically: Vote Slate #3, Israel Shelanu. As noted above, Hatikvah (#8) should not be allowed to participate in the WZC as its actions and deeds are counter to the Jerusalem Program. The best platform is therefore with Israeli-Americans.

Non-Religious / No Politics: Vote Slate #14 Kol Yisrael. This group is about countering antisemitism and promoting Israel without getting into the common fights around the role of religion and politics. It’s appeal and mission are broad and inclusive. While Americans4Israel slate #14 has roughly the same mission, the two will dilute each other so people should rally around one. Vision, slate #7 is much the same.

Left Religiously / Left Politically: Vote Slate #6 Mercaz USA. While the ARZA Reform movement has been a dominant slate in the WZC for many years, its leadership has spent too much time bashing the government of Israel publicly and not using its platform to advocate for the Jewish State. Meanwhile, the Mercaz Conservative Movement has been a more constructive progressive voice while also demonstrating its ability to attract voices and advance its agenda.

Whatever your leanings, take the time to vote at zionistelection.org


Related First One Through articles:

J Street is Only Considered “Pro-Israel” in Progressive Circles

A Basic Lesson of How to be Supportive

Unity – not Unanimity – in the Pro-Israel Tent

There are Standards for Unity

The Anger from the Zionist Center

The Anti-Israel Community in a Jewish House of Worship

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4 thoughts on “A Review of the Fifteen US Slates for the World Zionist Congress

  1. Pingback: Facts and Stats about the World Zionist Congress Elections | FirstOneThrough

  2. Pingback: Members of Knesset and the Jerusalem Program | FirstOneThrough

  3. Pingback: American Jewry is Right on Israel | FirstOneThrough

  4. Pingback: J Street: Home for Pro-Palestinian, Pro-Peace Americans | FirstOneThrough

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