ARZENU Resolutions at upcoming World Zionist Congress Oct 2015

ARZENU Resolutions at upcoming World Zionist Congress Oct 2015

This October, the Australian Reform Zionist Association (Australia’s ARZENU group) is once again going to the World Zionist Congress as part of the strongest faction, armed with a number of resolutions that will bring increased pluralism, gender equality, and improved care of minority groups in the Jewish State.

 

1. African Refugees and Asylum Seekers

2. Truth and Reconciliation Commission

3. A New Framework for Cooperation between the WZO and the National Zionist Federations

4. Settlements Division

5. Establishment of an Egalitarian Prayer Space at the Western Wall

6. Recognition of Support for the LGBT Community

7. The Declaration of Independence as a Zionist Tool

8. Klal Yisrael as a Principle Responsibility of the Israeli Government

 

1. Submitted by – ARZENU, the International Federation of Reform and Progressive Religious Zionists

African Refugees and Asylum Seekers

Whereas the Israeli Declaration of Independence proclaims that the State of Israel is based on freedom, justice and peace as envisaged by the Prophets of Israel; and

Whereas the prophetic vision of the State of Israel is as the moral and social Light Unto the Nations (Isaiah 49:6); and

Whereas the Government of Israel bears a major responsibility for the wellbeing of Israeli residents of cities and neighborhoods such as those in south Tel Aviv – Yafo; and

Whereas ­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­roughly 45,000 Africans, mostly from Sudan and Eritrea, presently reside in Israel; and

Whereas we recognize that, with over 5,500 asylum seekers per 1,000,000 population, Israel has had to deal with more asylum seekers than the vast majority of other democracies. We also recognize that finding an appropriate solution for all the asylum seekers in Israel requires efforts to enlist resettlement assistance from additional countries in the developed world.

Whereas the tide of African immigration was effectively stemmed when a barrier between Israel and Egypt was completed in 2013; and

Whereas the State of Israel is a signatory to the 1951 Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees (the Refugee Convention), which it has also ratified, a Convention drafted in the aftermath of the Holocaust and the Second World War; and

Whereas many of the Africans in Israel today view themselves as refugees as defined in the 1951 Convention, with several thousands of them having made formal Refugee Status Determination requests to the Israeli Ministry of Interior; and

Whereas Sudanese and Eritreans live in many towns and cities around Israel, with large communities of these people having developed in several cities, the largest in the southern neighborhoods of Tel Aviv –Yafo,

Therefore the Zionist Congress hereby calls upon the Government of the State of Israel:

  1.   To treat African refugees and asylum seekers with the respect and rights due to them according to the Declaration of Independence, the Basic Laws of the State of Israel and the Refugee Convention, and in the spirit of the Torah which mandates that “You too must befriend the stranger, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt,” (Deuteronomy 10:19).
  1.   To take heed of the rulings of the Israeli Supreme Court in three separate cases brought before it, in which the Court quashed and/or highly criticized legislation passed by the Knesset at the government’s behest, legislation which authorized the establishment of detention facilities in the Negev desert with the sole purpose of incarcerating Sudanese and Eritrean persons presently residing in Israel.
  1.   To process expeditiously and in accordance with accepted international standards the thousands of Refugee Status Determination requests it has already received.
  1.   To refrain from taking any further actions meant to encourage and/or coerce Sudanese and Eritreans persons presently residing in Israel to leave Israel and be sent to countries in which they will face mortal dangers or in which they will not be afforded protection under the law and/or bona fide opportunities to prove their status as refugees or asylum seekers.
  1.   To creatively divert substantial financial resources presently being spent on incarcerating Sudanese and Eritreans, to projects and initiatives aimed at providing both Israelis and asylum seekers appropriate employment opportunities, academic, vocational and other training, thus enabling all of them to live in dignity and with respect.

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2.  Submitted by – ARZENU, the International Federation of Reform and Progressive Religious Zionists

Truth and Reconciliation Commission

Whereas the conflict between Jewish and Arab citizens over control of Eretz Yisrael, its land, its culture and its governance, can be traced back to events long before the establishment of the Jewish State; and

Whereas our founding leaders have included in the Declaration of Independence of the State of Israel both a call for peace to the Arab population, even during hostile attacks, as well as a declaration that we are extending our hand for peace and amity to all the neighboring countries and their people, stating that the State of Israel is ready and willing to make its contribution to a joint effort to the advancement of the Middle East; and

Whereas the conflict between Jews and Arabs has been marked by, and is continuing to be marked by, competing and conflicting interpretations of historical facts, interpretations that have led to incidents large and small characterized by oppression, prejudice, hostility and even violence by one community against the other; and

Whereas such profoundly differing and mutually antagonistic interpretations and narratives regarding origins, legitimacy and rights are not unique to the Middle East; and

Whereas there are outstanding examples as to how some nations have successfully dealt with such internal conflicts with sensitivity, compassion and understanding through the establishment of Truth and Reconciliation Commissions; and

Whereas the dream of Zionism is exemplified by linking it to the pursuit of TZEDEK U-MISHPAT,

Therefore the Zionist Congress hereby resolves that:

1. The World Zionist Organization calls for the establishment of a Truth and Reconciliation Commission so as to help move beyond the deeply troubling and profoundly differing understandings of relationships between Israeli Arab and Israeli Jewish citizens and thus facilitate efforts to forge positive and peaceful relationships among all Israeli citizens for their shared future in the State of Israel.

2. The Commission shall be made up of equal numbers of Israel’s Jewish and Arab populations, appointed by the president of Israel.

3. The specific mandate and authority of the Commission shall be established by the president of the State of Israel after an appropriate period of public discussion and consultation.

4. In general, the tasks of the commission will include:

a. Listening to each other’s narratives regarding claims to the same land and expressing sympathy for sufferings past and present.
b. Recommending measures to the Government of Israel that would include means to facilitate the public admission of past injustices that both communities have visited upon the other, and designating suggested means through which past injustices can be redressed and future injustices prevented.
c. Recommending a program of sincere, mutual steps toward peace and reconciliation, involving a readiness on each side to accept those painful compromises necessary for the sake of living together in peace.

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3.  Submitted by – ARZENU, the International Federation of Reform and Progressive Religious Zionists

A New Framework for Cooperation between the WZO and the National Zionist Federations

Whereas the national Zionist federations are among the most important assets of the WZO; and

Whereas most national Zionist Federations have primarily been focusing their efforts on running World Zionist Congress elections; and

Whereas the greatest potential for fueling a resurgence of Zionist thought, commitment and action can be found at the grassroots level and should be nurtured through the national Zionist Federations; and

Whereas most of the national Zionist federations have operated with the same leaders for many years, with very little rotation and replacement and with very little representation of young adults; and

Whereas the interplay of political purposes and the needs of the organizations sometimes inhibits the federations functioning professionally and with a targeted focus on the aims of the national Zionist federations:

Therefore the Zionist Congress hereby resolve that:

  1.     The Zionist Executive should be tasked with setting up a framework to adjust the federations’ role to meet the challenges of the 21st century challenges both as political structures and as institutions responsible for delivering programs of Zionist thought, commitment and action.
  2.     This framework should reward effective activity of the national Zionist federations rather than the mere existence of such federations.
  3.     This framework must include a mechanism to ensure transparency and accountability in the allocation of funds through federations and then to members in a fair and equitable way.
  4.     This framework may only be used to support activities that comply with the guidelines of the WZO prohibiting discrimination based on origin, nationality, race, religious belief, sexual orientation or gender.
  5.     The national Zionist federations should implement the spirit of the Constitution of the World Zionist Organization in all ways, including the obligation to include in their delegations at least 25% young adults and at least 30% women and in their formal organizational structure.

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4.  Submitted by – ARZENU, the International Federation of Reform and Progressive Religious Zionists

Settlements Division

Whereas, before, and in February 2015 the 36th Zionist General Council decided to mandate the Zionist Executive to:

  1.     Conduct a comprehensive investigation and to profoundly question the structural relationship between the Settlements Division and the WZO.
  2.     Appoint a special auditor in the World Zionist Organization, who would examine the conduct of the Settlement Division in recent years; and

Whereas, this decision has not yet been implemented and the Zionist Executive was not given any information that the chairman is working to implement it and;

Whereas failure to take the necessary actions for implementation of the decision perpetuates the situation which had caused the Zionist General Council to warn the Executive that it was deliberately ignoring the decision of the Zionist General Council in an area of ​​importance with far-reaching implications for the legality and propriety of WZO’s activities and;

Whereas, preventing the implementation of the decision perpetuates a situation in which the WZO does not exercise effective monitoring of a body which is under its authority and supervision,

Therefore the Zionist Congress hereby resolves that:

The incoming Zionist Executive thoroughly discuss, no later than three months from the date of the end of the Congress, how to carry out the decision of the Zionist General Council and report to all members of the Executive Committee in writing the results of that discussion and indicate how the Zionist General Council’s decision will be implemented. Prior to those discussions and to make certain that all obligations and responsibilities are be implemented – all documents, information, and the decisions of the Legal Advisor dealing with the legality and appropriateness of activities of the Settlement Department of the WZO will be presented to the Settlements Division Committee of the Expanded Executive and then to the Zionist Executive examining the organizational ties between them, and what steps are necessary on the part of the Zionist Executive to ensure that it bears full legal responsibility for and oversight of the activities of the Settlement Division:

Beginning with the 2016 budget of the Settlement Division, that budget will be presented both transparently and in detail, as an integral part of the budget of the WZO, and shall be submitted to the Zionist Executive and to the Permanent Budget and Finance Committee of the Zionist General Council. During the fiscal year, the Settlement Division may not expend funds that have not undergone review and approval by the Zionist Executive and the Permanent Budget and Finance Committee of the ZGC, and if the need arises – there will be a discussion in the Permanent Budget and Finance Committee of the ZGC on a revised budget in order to approve such modifications, additions or reductions in the budget previously approved by it.

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5.  Submitted by – ARZENU, the International Federation of Reform and Progressive Religious Zionists

Establishment of an Egalitarian Prayer Space at the Western Wall

Whereas the Western Wall, the enduring symbol of dreams and yearning of Jewish women and men for two thousand years, should likewise be the symbol of Jewish unity in Jerusalem; and

Whereas in recent years the Western Wall has become a flashpoint of bitter divisions between different styles of authentic Jewish worship; and

Whereas Jewish Agency Chairman Natan Sharansky worked diligently to establish an initial compromise wherein all Jewish worshippers would have access to the Western Wall by securing an egalitarian prayer space at Robinson’s Arch; and,

Whereas Chairman Sharansky and Government Secretary Avichai Mandelblit have worked faithfully and extensively to create a more expansive and permanent solution adjacent to and equal in size and height to the traditional prayer spaces that currently exist at the Western Wall plaza, but their efforts have not yet yielded the results hoped for; and

Whereas promoting Jewish unity is essential to Israel’s well-being and national security; and

Whereas inequality in worship at the Western Wall undermines the vision that the Wall belongs to all Jews everywhere and tarnishes the image of Israel in the eyes of millions of Jews around the world,

Therefore the Zionist Congress hereby resolves that:

  1.     It recognizes with gratitude the work of Natan Sharansky and Avichai Mandelblit for their commitment to establishing One Wall for One People, where all Jews can celebrate their faith in full freedom, dignity, and respect and pledges its continuing support for their efforts;
  1.     It recommends to the Israeli government that it should commit to creating a third section in the Western Wall site that will equal in size, funding and visibility and that will offer a dignified space of worship for the Conservative and Reform streams and to Women of the Wall, and be a symbol of Jewish Pluralism in Israel.
  2.     The WZO anticipates celebrating in the near future the fulfillment of this vision of a Western Wall that will be an international symbol of mature compromise and Jewish unity.

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6.  Submitted by – ARZENU, the International Federation of Reform and Progressive Religious Zionists

Recognition of Support for the LGBT Community

Whereas people around the world were horrified by the unprovoked murder of Shira Banki and the injury of other participants in the Jerusalem march for Pride and Tolerance; and

Whereas Israel’s Declaration of Independence calls for all citizens to be able to live in freedom and security regardless of their religion, gender etc.; and

Whereas Israel desires to be seen as a beacon of LGBT rights

Whereas concern remains regarding continued attacks on LGBT and other vulnerable groups in the public arena of Israel’s society.

Therefore the Zionist Congress hereby resolves that:

  1. The World Zionist Congress commends the action of Education Minister, Naftali Bennett, in immediately announcing an increase support for the LGBT community. We call on Minister Bennett to ensure adequate funding for the organization “Israel Gay Youth“, for the “Jerusalem Open House” and for other LGBT organizations to secure the role of members of the LGBT community within Israeli society.
  2. The World Zionist Congress calls on Minister Bennett to ensure that all Israeli students (and in particular in the Orthodox school systems) take part in programing that promotes diversity, inclusion and equality for the LGBT community

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7. Submitted by – ARZENU, the International Federation of Reform and Progressive Religious Zionists

The Declaration of Independence as a Zionist Tool

Whereas the Declaration of Independence is the charter for the redemption of the Jewish people through the creation of an inclusive and democratic Jewish State; and

Whereas ­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­the Declaration of Independence states that the State will be based on freedom, justice and peace as envisaged by the Prophets of Israel; will ensure complete equality of social and political rights to all its inhabitants irrespective of religion, race, or sex; will guarantee freedom of religion, conscience, language, education and culture; and will safeguard the Holy Places of all religions; and

Whereas there is clear evidence that these objectives toward which we continue to aspire have not yet been fully realized,

Therefore the Zionist Congress hereby resolves that:

  1. The World Zionist Organization implement programs intended to teach and educate Israelis and Jews around the world about the fundamental principles embedded in the Declaration of Independence and to fulfill the ideals of the Declaration of Independence specifically with regard to ensuring complete equality of social and political rights to all of its inhabitants irrespective of religion, race, gender or sexual orientation.
  2. The World Zionist Organization is mandated to implement programs to fulfill the ideals of the Declaration of Independence with specific attention to those that guarantee religious freedom and equal treatment for all streams of Judaism.
  3. The World Zionist Organization is mandated to implement policies to ensure that all National Institutions operate in accordance with these goals and ideals.
  4. The World Zionist Organization is mandated to implement programs that ensure that all Zionist federations operate in accordance with these goals and ideals, and to insure that any Zionist federation not complying with these guidelines receive no funding or support from the World Zionist Organization and that all penalties approved in February 2015 by the Zionist General Council are applied.
  5. The World Zionist Organization calls upon the Government of Israel to support the WZO in the above initiatives by allocating appropriate funds for these projects to be successfully implemented.

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8.  Submitted by – ARZENU, the International Federation of Reform and Progressive Religious Zionists

Klal Yisrael as a Principle Responsibility of the Israeli Government

Whereas MK David Azoulay, Minster of Religious Affairs, publicly denigrated and defamed large segments of the Jewish people worldwide with his comments regarding Reform Jews, “I cannot allow myself to call such a person a Jew,” and “Reform Jews are a disaster to the nation of Israel”; and

Whereas Prime Minister Netanyahu properly responded that such remarks are “hurtful,” and “do not reflect the position of the government”; and

Whereas the State of Israel is the homeland for all Jews everywhere, and the Declaration of Independence ensures that the State “…will ensure complete equality of social and political rights to all its inhabitants irrespective of religion, race or sex; it will guarantee freedom of religion, conscience, language, education and culture”; and

Whereas his divisive comments call into doubt MK Azoulay’s ability to administer the Religious Affairs Ministry with fairness and equitability to all Jews in Israel and will alienate a substantial number of Jews worldwide,

Therefore the Zionist Congress hereby resolves:

To call upon Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu to

  1.     Reaffirm his commitment to the spirit of klal yisrael by initiating a strategic dialogue with leaders of non-Orthodox movements about their status in Israel and state recognition of their rabbis and communities.
  2.     Demand of all government ministers that they fully embrace collective responsibility for Klal Yisrael.
  3.     Remove from his government anyone who acts or speaks in such a way as to damage the unity of the Jewish people.
  4.     Immediately enter into conversations with the WZO regarding the implementation of this resolution.
2017-08-10T15:00:18+00:00 September 21st, 2015|Past News|
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