ARZA Australia celebrated being part of the group that helped pass a number of key resolutions at the recent World Zionist Congress (WZC) in Jerusalem, at its Annual General Meeting held on Sunday as it celebrated the outstanding achievements of outgoing President, Barbara Ford.
“To have prepared a resolution that was passed by the World Zionist Congress calling on the Government of Israel to fully implement the Declaration of Independence, was an important and emotional moment” said Ford “Particularly as ARZA Australia ensured that the Zionist Federation of Australia unanimously passed a similar resolution just as year or so ago.”
The key resolutions at the WZC called for the separation of Religion and State; the further development of the new egalitarian prayer space at the Kotel; a rejection of “hate crimes” against minorities; the strengthening of ties between Israel and the Diaspora; and, as mentioned, a call for the freedom of religion and conscience to become a reality.” Said Ford. “The fact that PM Netanyahu has subsequently declared that Progressive and Conservative streams of Judaism will receive equal State funding to the more Orthodox groups is a testament to our influence and how it will benefit Israel and all Jews.”
Stepping down after 4 years as President and one additional year as Acting President, Ford passed the Presidency to Steve Denenberg, who has been providing voluntary administrative support to the organisation for the past 8 years. “I am delighted to continue the wonderful work that Barbara has undertaken with such commitment and dedication,” said Denenberg “And I am confident that we will continue to go from strength to strength as our rabbis and congregational leaders increasingly understand the vital link between the growth of Progressive Judaism in Israel and the development of our own congregations in Australia.”
The incoming Committee of Management includes representatives from across Australia and is focused on increasing the representation of younger people and ensuring that the views of Progressive Jews are heard at State and Federal level.
“As the religious Zionist representatives of the largest denomination of Judaism in the world today, as well as being members of the strongest coalition within the World Zionist Congress, we have every reason to feel positive and confident about the weeks and months ahead, and to believe that we can help move Israel towards being the inclusive and democratic society that the vast majority of Jews around the world long for.”