You may see calls on the internet to "Vote Reform" in the upcoming elections to the World Zionist Congress. Canadian Jews do not vote in the US Zionist election for the Congress. Below we explain the significance to Canadian Reform Jews.
The World Zionist Congress elections are indeed important, because they will help to determine the strength of the Reform Movement in Israel and, consequently, the character of our beloved country. While the US is required to hold Zionist elections, it is rare that other participating countries do so. The Canadian Zionist Federation (CZF), of which ARZA Canada is a member, determines the procedure to allocate mandates to the member Zionist organizations in Canada.
With your support we have indeed increased ARZA Canada membership numbers and believe we are in a strong position to maintain our mandates despite increased competition within the CZF. Of the 500 delegates in the Congress, Israel has 199, US has 152, and the remaining countries with Zionist organizations have in total 173. Canada has once again been allocated 20 mandates for the upcoming Congress.
Your membership matters. Your voice matters.
Thank you for your support.
President, ARZA Canada
Vote Reform - the Canadian perspective
“Vote Reform” rings a note of vim, dedication and even resistance. “Vote Reform” is the rallying cry of the Reform and Reconstructionist movements in the United States of America for the next two months – they are vitally important for the realization of a Jewish State which represents progressive Jewish values. For us in Canada, I hope that they remind us of our duty to encourage our friends living in the US to vote.
Theodore Herzl’s legacy lives on through the Old-New institution called the World Zionist Congress (WZC). Many of us are familiar with the First Zionist Congress held in Basel, 1897. It is less well known that the 38th WZC is meeting in Israel in October 2020 – and that we are represented there.
This political body has significant power today to influence the course of the State of Israel and of Diaspora Jewish communities through the Jewish Agency and the leadership of the JNF-KKL. The JNF currently holds around 13% of all land in Israel and, in addition to planting trees, has been gaining interest and rental income on its holdings, making it a major player in shaping the vision of the State of Israel.
Our international Reform Zionist organization, Arzenu, is the leader of the largest coalition in the WZC, as a result of the last WZC elections five years ago. We have been able to bring our Reform values to the table. We have real influence over policy at JNF-KKL and the Jewish Agency. We can stop overt purchases of land in areas which don’t align with our values. And when covert purchases were discovered, they were stopped as well.
What this means for us in Canada:
- We cannot vote from Canada in the United States election. Miriam Pearlman, President of ARZA Canada, is in the decision-making process within CZF to see if there will be a vote in Canada, or if we will maintain the status-quo which gives our movement six of the twenty Canadian seats. If Canadian elections are held they will be in May or June so stay tuned.
- We must urge our friends, who are permanent US residents, to vote. Send them this link: https://azm.org/elections or tag them on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/helfmanj/posts/10116220738751334
- If you have friends who are interested in the future of the Jewish people, but not yet members of a Reform community, or not yet ARZA Canada members, they can join ARZA Canada at $18 by contacting ARZA Canada Senior Vice-President, Lee Weisser, at email@example.com.