Jews worldwide will once again have an opportunity to vote in the World Zionist Congress elections. The 38th WZC conference will convene this October in Jerusalem to represent the voice of world Jewry. With fewer than 15 million Jews spread across numerous countries, it is often hard to speak as one voice.
Today, anti-Semitism is rising against almost every Jewish community globally. While Israel continues to be a strong nation, our historical homeland is maligned by the BDS movement and its goods mislabeled across the European Union. Additionally, the terrorism threat Israel faces daily has not dissipated. The issues we face as a community may seem overwhelming at times, but the main purpose of the World Zionist Congress is to strengthen our declaration of Jewish values and move forward on an agenda on behalf of Israel and Diaspora Jewry.
Slate No. 11 particularly stands out during a critical time for the Diaspora. For years, Jewish students on campuses have been and continue to be targeted for supporting Israel; swastikas have become more prevalent; and especially shocking of late was the shooting at a kosher grocery in Jersey City, N.J., and the machete attack at a rabbi’s Hanukkah celebration in Monsey, N.Y.—all within a month. And, of course, the anti-Semitic shootings in Poway, Calif., and in Pittsburgh cannot be forgotten, leaving a total of 12 Jewish worshippers in synagogue during Shabbat-morning services dead.
Anchored by the ZOA (Zionist Organization of America), Slate No. 11 has many dynamic partners, including Torah from Sinai, which was established to promote Jewish continuity with the recognition that in the United States, Judaism and its continuity are at risk for several reasons, all of which Torah from Sinai believes must be identified, understood and addressed in the appropriate manner. Jewish continuity is the major issue facing U.S. (and worldwide) Jewry. It is axiomatic that in order to ensure the survival of the Jewish people, there must be a Jewish populace.
Torah from Sinai is a nonpolitical initiative that aims to confront anti-Semitism. It wishes to maintain Israel’s Jewish identity, expose the illegal BDS movement, instill Jewish pride across the Diaspora and perpetuate Judaism. Torah from Sinai’s powerful quote, “Your vote ensures that we don’t relive the 1930s—sitting idly while the world demonizes, victimizes and murders Jews” cannot be more timely.
Theodor Herzl, founder of the modern Zionist movement, convened the first Zionist Congress (as it was known until 1960) in 1897 in Basel, Switzerland. It was there that he adopted the Basel Platform (declaration of Zionism’s goals), establishing the World Zionist Organization with the World Zionist Congress as its legislative body. Today, elections are held every five years.
What is at stake? How best to allocate $5 billion, and use those funds to strengthen Israel education and advocacy. The World Zionist Congress is comprised of 500 delegates, of which 152 seats are reserved for American Jews, who are responsible for shaping priorities for various organizations in Israel: the World Zionist Organization, the Jewish National Fund and the Jewish Agency for Israel.
For less than $10, at a cost of $7.50 and even less if under the age of 25, you can have your voice heard in the current elections, which will run until March 11. The requirements are simple: Be a permanent resident of the United States, Jewish, not voting or plan on voting in the March 2 Knesset elections in Israel, and be 18 years of age or above as of June 30. And ascribe to the Jerusalem Program, the modern-day Basel Platform, which reaffirms the commitment that Zionism—the national liberation movement of the Jewish people in the historical homeland of Israel—will ensure a Jewish, democratic and secure State of Israel.
Theodor Herzl convened the first Congress as a response to the environment Jews in Europe were facing. Today, our people are still being targeted. Nevertheless, Herzl’s dream became a reality, and as a people, we have to be proud that our homeland is free and independent.
Click here to vote for the ZOA/TorahfromSinai Coalition.
The opinions here reflect those of the author and the slate, and not of JNS.
Laureen Lipsky is a pro-Israel advocate living in New York and the founder of “Taking Back the Narrative.”