October 22, 2020 - Following today’s compromise agreement by the World Zionist Congress reflecting more inclusive representation, the leadership of the organizations of the Reform Movement issued the following statement:
The Reform, Reconstructionist, and Conservative Movements, along with our partners in our international and progressive Zionist organizations, have successfully mobilized our Movements in Israel and around the world to prevent the marginalization of progressive voices at the WZC. That effort toward marginalization, reflected in the dangerous “Agreement on Principles” by leaders of the right-wing and ultra-Orthodox parties, would have weakened the World Zionist Organization and the Israeli National Institutions (WZO, KKL, JAFI, Keren HaYesod). This new agreement specifies the important roles our Reform leaders will hold in the Zionist institutions and will continue funding for our Movement’s critical work in Israel and around the world.
The broad coalition we helped assemble proved to be the decisive difference in turning a disastrous agreement into one that we can affirm. We are proud that through our collective efforts we defended the long-standing principle that these institutions serve as the roundtable in which all Jewish Zionist viewpoints are recognized and respected.
There is no question that the current agreement, which reflects the current Israeli political reality, grants significant power to the right-wing parties. However as a result of our negotiations, there will be more pluralistic leadership that will enable important checks and balances and help enforce the critical need for transparency and accountability.
We are enormously proud of our global Reform Movement’s efforts over the past year to turn out the vote in the WZC election and over these last days for standing up for an Israel that respects and includes all of our people and all of her citizens.
In 1897 Theodore Herzl hoped that the World Zionist Congress would be the “Parliament of the Jewish People” with a wide cross section of Jews and Zionists joined in common cause for the Jewish People and the Jewish State. We are committed to continuing our efforts to fight on behalf of that vision and the Israel we love. Thanks to our Movement, all voices that believe in gender equality, inclusion, pluralism, tolerance, and Jewish unity will continue to be represented in the World Zionist Organization.
About the Union for Reform Judaism
The Union for Reform Judaism (URJ) builds community at every level—from the way we collaborate with congregations, organizations, and individuals to how we make connections across North America to advance contemporary and inclusive Jewish life. Providing vision and voice to transform the way people connect to Judaism, we help congregations stay relevant and innovative, motivate more young Jews to embrace Jewish living, agitate for a more progressive society, and foster meaningful connections to Israel.
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