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World Zionist Congress to convene online for first time due to coronavirus pandemic

The main themes of the Oct. 20-22 event will be “aliyah,” the effect of COVID-19 on global Jewish communities and growing anti-Semitism.

The opening of the 26th World Zionist Congress in Jerusalem in 1964. Credit: Pridan Moshe/GPO.
The opening of the 26th World Zionist Congress in Jerusalem in 1964. Credit: Pridan Moshe/GPO.

The 38th World Zionist Congress (WZC) will be held online for the first time since its inception with 720 delegates and observers from more than 30 countries participating, Israel’s Government Press Office announced on Monday.

The theme of the Oct. 20-22 event will be mutual responsibility and aliyah (immigration to Israel). Other issues to be discussed will be the effect of the coronavirus pandemic on Jewish communities worldwide; preparing for a wave of immigration to Israel as a result of the global crisis; and the battle against growing anti-Semitism.

The WZC, self-described as the “supreme ideological and policy-making body of the World Zionist Organization,” normally convenes once every five years in Jerusalem. This year, due to COVID-19, it will be conducted via video conference.

The WZC has taken place since 1897 and has never been canceled except on two occasions—during World War I and World War II.

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