Progressive Religious Zionists from Australia will join others from around the world to be part of the largest faction at the 37th World Zionist Congress in Jerusalem.

In 1897 the World Zionist Congress (WZC) was created by Theodore Herzl to provide a ‘Peoples’ Parliament’ for Jews around the world to address Zionist issues. Today the congress consists of a total of 757 delegates of which 525 are from the World Unions and the balance of 232 from the Zionist Organizations from around the world. It meets every year and has elections every 4-5 years.  This is an election year and the congress will meet in October 2015.

Australia will be represented by 13 mandates (votes) in the 2015 congress.

Each country represented has its own elections and decides its country representation. In Australia following months of arguing, discussing, negotiating, preparing for an election it was eventually decided to go to a lottery, to decide the final make-up of the Australian delegation.

ARZA provided the largest list of members after the most successful membership recruitment and registration drive earlier this year, with a final list of 2,700 registered members across Australia.  The next largest party, Mizrachi, registered just under 1,300 members while Masorti had around 900. The other minor groups had significantly less members.

When election discussions began there were two options – one to have unanimous agreement on the allocation of the 13 mandates (votes) or to go to an election. Although ARZA was in a position to significantly increase the number of mandates the other parties were all aware that an election requires an expensive process and that, if the small parties did not win a mandate, ARZA would be pressured to give up a mandate to include them in order to maintain community harmony and inclusiveness.

After much posturing we were on the verge of going to an election that would have quite possibly have been ruled invalid on appeal.  Consequently, the three groups with more than one mandate, Ameinu, Mizrachi and ARZA, agreed that a lottery would be held and one group would cede a mandate to the recently formed group of Russian-speaking members of the community.

The ARZA delegation will consist of 4 voting delegates and 7 alternate delegates. More than 25% of the group are under the age of 30.

ARZA would like to thank all our members and the Rabbis and Congregational Boards that have helped to promote the all-important membership of ARZA.

As a result of the ARZA USA election success ARZA will once again go to the 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.

At the same time as dealing with the challenges of the Congress, ARZA has become totally independent of the UPJ. ARZA is fully responsible for the funding of its administration and activities. We are seeking volunteers in each state to assist us.

Over the coming months ARZA will demonstrate the benefits that will flow to all Jews as a result of our achievements in Congress and we invite our members to become sponsors and supporters of our vital work to bring religious and gender equality to our spiritual homeland.


To get involved and show how you can support ARZA please call Steve on 0420 973 909.