The 37th World Zionist Congress (WZC) is planned for October, 2015 in Jerusalem, Israel. The meetings occur only once every five years, making this an event of real importance. Many Jewish organizations will be funded and organized for the next five years as a result of the decisions made at the Congress. This includes the Jewish Agency for Israel (JAFI) Keren Hayesod (KH) Keren Kayemet L’Yisroel (KKL) and others who will elect their leadership and determine policies that will affect their dissemination of Torah education, Jewish identity, conversion rules, expansion of communities in Judea and Samaria, the Settlement Division, and the religious affiliation of shlichim who are sent to small Jewish communities in South America, South Africa, the former Soviet Union, Europe and North America.
The Torah community and the Yeshiva communities that make up the American orthodox community are slow to organize themselves politically and yet without their vote, the vast budget of the WZC will not be allocated to orthodox programs, institutions and causes but to Liberal Jewish agendas which are often anti-Torah. The annual budget is estimated to be an astronomical one billion dollars, created by Israeli government contributions as well as the funding raised by the participating Zionist groups.
It is simple to vote. Go to https://myvoteourisrael.com/ where you can register and immediately vote for the only orthodox party, the “Religious Zionist Slate: Vote Torah for the Soul of Israel.”
The voting period ends on April 30, 2015 and voters must have registered and voted prior to the deadline. The goal is for 50,000 orthodox votes to be cast from America, although there is no reason that the number of voters won’t exceed this.
The only orthodox option, option 10, is named Vote Torah, which is a partnership of many orthodox organizations. These organizations recognized the importance of unifying to create a meaningful impact on the distribution of the substantial WZC funds. Headed by Rabbi Hershel Schachter, Rosh Yeshiva at Yeshiva University. The slate includes local community leaders from Orthodox institutions and communities throughout the United States.
There will be 525 Jewish delegates at the Congress. These elected delegates serve as the parliament of the Jewish people so their religious affiliation is of crucial importance for the continuation and advancement of traditional values.
With 145 of the delegates coming from the United States, there is serious concern that non-religious pressure groups could secure large numbers of voters. In contrast the orthodox population is less politically active and this could underserve orthodox opinions with a dour outcome.
Rabbi Pesach Lerner is Executive Vice President Emeritus of the National Council of Young Israel and Co-Chairman of American Friends of the (IYIM). He is concerned by the lack of political influence by orthodox Jews and explains the importance of this vote. “Slowly but surely we are going to have our values and opinions eroded if we fail to vote. We have to take a stand. There is so much money at stake that we cannot let liberal Jewish values be the benefactors of this large sum. We have to get people to go online and vote to protect the religious integrity of Israel! ”
The World Zionist Organization is sometimes referred to as the “parliament of the Jewish people.” It was originally convened by Theodor Herzl in Basel, Switzerland, for the purpose of uniting Jewish people around the world. At the 36th Zionist Congress, on 15 June 2010, Natan Sharansky was elected as the head of the Jewish Agency and Avraham Duvdevani, an orthodox Jew, was elected as the Chairman of the WZO.
Any Jew who is over age 18 and has signed the pro-Zionist “Jerusalem Program” may vote for delegates from today until April 30. The election is being supervised by the American Zionist Movement, which charges a $5 fee for persons under age 30, and $10 for those over age 30 who vote.
For more information watch: http://www.votetorah.org/ and to vote, visit the VOTETORAH.org site:
Rabbi Lerner can be reached by email at: firstname.lastname@example.org