Monthly Archives: October 2020

World Zionist Congress Outcome

38th World Zionist Congress

The Chair of  world AMEINU has written to ARZA Australia saying “Thanks to the hard work of all our delegates around the world, our wonderful negotiating team on the ground and our capable team of lawyers, we were able to secure a wall-to-wall agreement that respected the diversity of positions within the Zionist movement, established adequate checks and balances and secures critical funding for the Reform movement in Israel and around the world. We look forward to working with the new Chair of the WZO, Yaakov Hagoel, building on the positive working relationship that we have established with him over many years”. (Rabbi Lea Muhlstein)

My sincere thanks to our Australian Delegates and Deputy Delegates to the WZC for your amazing support and for attending meetings throughout the night for nearly two weeks to the ARZENU Pre Congress Program and then the Program itself. Delegates: Sue Silberberg, Alex Knopoff and Lior Kalisse along with myself and Deputy Delegates: Tony Leverton, Cassie Barnett, Tahlia Bowen and Steve Denenberg. We all learnt the importance of team support and strong commitment without giving up. (Helen Shardey)

Major Changes from the Original Proposed Agreement

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 which will be nominated by the Yesh Atid party and designated for a female candidate will 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 unilateral control of Eretz HaKodesh the Haredi party. The committee will have two co-chairs, Kachol Levan and Eretz Ha Kodesh will each have an appointment to head the committee. They will lead the committee by rotation.

There will not be a sectorial department for the Haredim in the National Institutions. All of the WZO departments will serve all the sectors of Israeli society and the Jewish people.

The Chairperson of Keren HaYesod will be from Kachol Levan.

For the first time the position of Deputy WZO Chair and Deputy Head of JAFI will be held by representatives of the Reform and Conservative Movements.

The Finance Committee of KKL will move from control of the Likud to Yesh Atid.

The Executive Board (Directors) of KKL and the WZO will have parity.

The allocation of departments and spheres of activity were changed substantially and were divided in a balanced manner between right and left. In the WZO for the first time a department of social engagement (tikun olam) will be established headed by Meretz. A department focusing on working with Israelis in the Diaspora will be established as well headed by the Reform Movement, and a unit for humanistic Judaism will be under the Labor party.

ARZA President, Helen Shardey

Helen Shardey
ARZA Australia President
UPJ Vice President

2021-03-01T20:08:14+11:00October 27th, 2020|Events, News|


38th World Zionist Congress

As you may have already read in the Israeli Jerusalem Post, the opening of the 38th World Zionist Congress saw the Zionist Organisations with voting rights thwarting the efforts of the right wing religious-Zionists and the ultra Orthodox factions to elect the new Chair and Vice Chair of the World Zionist Organization, postponing the vote until Thursday.

This intervention, which took place in the WZC Presidium is a determined effort to change and force a renegotiation of the Agreement drawn up by the right wing and Ultra Orthodox factions which ARZENU, MERCAZ and the non Orthodox factions have condemned, because it goes against all the previous Wall to Wall Agreements which saw a balanced allocation of positions and funding  in recognition of the pluralist nature of the Jewish people.

ARZA Australia and MERCAZ would particularly like to thank the normally non-voting  Jewish organizations from around the world, including Australia, who took a stand against the extremist coalition. The organizations which stood up for fairness, equity, pluralism and gender recognition are WIZO, Maccabi Olami, Na’amat (The Israeli Women’s organization), Hadassah and B’nai B’rith. The leaders of these organizations took a strong stand against what has been described as a “Hostile Takeover”, which would only serve to divide the Jewish People and the Jewish World as well as denying our voice in Israel.

We sincerely look forward to the continuation of support from the above named organizations and thank them for their wonderful efforts.

Let us pray that common sense will prevail and come Thursday we will see a return to the Wall to Wall Collective Agreements which brought balance, fairness and a necessary voice to the Diaspora, which makes such a massive contribution to the well being of  Eretz Israel and the Jewish People.

ARZA President, Helen Shardey

Helen Shardey

ARZA Australia President

UPJ Vice President

2021-03-01T20:08:48+11:00October 21st, 2020|Events, News|


38th World Zionist Congress

The World Zionist Congress (WZC) has been described as the “Parliament of the Jewish People”. The Congress meets every five years to decide on a range of funding and policy issues, including the heads of the Keren Kayemeth LeIsrael (Jewish National Fund), Keren Hayesod-UIA (United Israel Appeal),and the Jewish Agency. Bodies which not only distribute a billion dollars, but are responsible for policy decisions across Israel and the diaspora.

Traditionally the balance of roles within the WZC has been distributed between the orthodox and non-orthodox groups, in recognition of the diversity across the Jewish world, with each group receiving votes based on the number of their members. This year in America, a new ultra-Orthodox party emerged – Eretz Hakodesh (“The Holy Land”), receiving enough support to tip the balance of WZC votes to the right. Eretz Hakodesh champions “traditional religious values and Jewish rights in the entire Land of Israel” (implying support for Israeli annexation of the West Bank). Eretz Hakodesh is no friend of Reform Judaism, making attacks against us the focus of its campaign.

On Friday, a coalition of right wing ultra-orthodox parties created an alliance to ensure control over the funds and appointments of the WZC, excluding all non-orthodox groups. This included the Haredi parties, who hold almost no votes, but are manipulating the situation.

In direct response to the demands of the Haredi parties within this coalition, the representatives of the pluralist religious streams will be excluded. Unless this can be stopped, their unprecedented and completely unacceptable political and ideological challenge to our values will result in the loss of our voice in Israel. This a disaster for the National Institutions, and completely ignores the role of Diaspora Jewry in the World Zionist Organization.

Tomorrow night, Tuesday 20 October, the delegates to the WZC will vote to fill the leadership of the Congress, Keren Kayemeth LeIsrael (Jewish National Fund), Keren Hayesod-UIA (United Israel Appeal),and the Jewish Agency. The Reform and Conservative movement is currently seeking a coalition with centrist and centre left parties and organisations to stop these from falling into the control of the right and ultra-orthodox parties.

Traditionally organisations such as Hadassah, Bnai Brith, WIZO, Maccabi Olami, and Naamat attend the WZC but do not vote. We are urging all members of these organisations to assist in agitating their leaders to vote against this ultra-orthodox takeover of the WZC, and its constituent organisations.

More details can be found in the following articles:

From ARZA Australia & UPJ

2021-03-01T20:09:41+11:00October 19th, 2020|Events, News|
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