International Federation of Reform and Progressive Religious Zionists

Success at Zionist General Council for ARZENU & its coalition partners

Progressive Jews in the Diaspora, who have a strong sense of identity with the Holy Land and who do not always agree with everything that happens there, may wonder if there is anything that they can do to make a difference. 

Fortunately, there is. ARZENU is the umbrella organization that allows our voice to be heard at the highest level of Israeli politics. ARZENU represents our views directly in the World Zionist Organization (WZO) and through its coalition partners – Meretz and Avodah (Labor) – in the Knesset. 

At the recent ARZENU meeting in Jerusalem, delegates discussed the ARZENU position on resolutions that were to be taken, first to the coalition (faction) meeting with Meretz and Avodah, and then to the Zionist General Council (Va'ad HaPoel) for discussion and voting. 

Delegates included constituent representatives from the USA, New Zealand, South Africa, Canada, Israel, the Netherlands, Australia, Germany, France and Austria. 

ARZENU/ARZA delegates from all over the world celebrate at the end of the Zionist General Council with a copy of the final Resolutions

Here are the resolutions that were submitted by the coalition, calling on the Israeli government to:

  1. Immediately provide full recognition and equitable support for all the major streams of Jewish practice.
  2. Adopt the Sharansky Kotel Proposal, which includes expanding the Western Wall site to contain a third – egalitarian – prayer section with a common entrance for all three sections. This new section will be open to the public 24 hours a day, every day, free of charge. The Western Wall site will be managed jointly by representatives of all streams of Judaism.
  3. Adopt an uncompromising campaign against racist violence, prosecution for public figures who incite racism, the implementation of educational programs on the topics of co-existence and tolerance, and the establishment of an inter-ministerial committee to fight racism. 
  4. Pass legislation that allows freedom of marriage and recognizes religious marriage of all the streams, as well as civil marriage and divorce.

A fifth resolution was passed calling on the World Zionist Organization to show full transparency and public accountability for the WZO budgetary activities and ensure that all allocations and donations are in full accordance with the principles of the WZO’s mission and Zionist principles.

ARZENU also had the opportunity to consider resolutions that were raised by other factions and political parties, propose their amendments and vote.

The meetings were a resounding success for ARZENU, as all the resolutions were adopted by the Council. This means that the WZO will take control of incoming funding from government and other sources and supervise its use without being dictated to by the funders as to how to allocate the funds. This will lead to more direct accountability and transparency.

This report was compiled by Paul Wilton of the newly-formed ARZA New Zealand.

Click here for more photos 

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