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April 18, 2014 / 18 Nisan, 5774
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Posts Tagged ‘World Zionist Congress’

Anti-Orthodox Bias At The World Zionist Congress?

Friday, December 21st, 2001

Last week in these pages, we noted the significance of the upcoming World Zionist Congress elections. As we said, the Congress determines the policies and budgetary allocations of the Jewish Agency in Israel which is the central agency administering the distribution of the bulk of the hundreds of millions of dollars raised by the UJA-Federation system worldwide. However, the erosion of Orthodox representation in the Congress over the years has resulted in a substantial diminution of support for Orthodox institutions and a definite non-Orthodox tilt in positions on issues that are fundamental to the character of the Jewish people.

It came to our attention that the World Zionist Congress placed election-related advertisements in several Anglo-Jewish newspapers, none with anywhere as large an Orthodox readership as The Jewish Press. When we inquired as to why the Orthodox were not deemed a suitable target community, we were told that, although The Jewish Press was not included in the initial ad run, an ad would, indeed, subsequently be placed in The Jewish Press. However, we were then told that the advertising program was over and that an ad would not be commissioned. We were told that if The Jewish Press felt so strongly about Orthodox participation in the election, it should run an ad at its own expense, a remark attributed to Ms. Karen Rubenstein, the Congress' Executive Director.

Startled, we had a member of our editorial staff call Ms. Rubenstein to verify what we were told. Our reporter asked whether she had said that we should run the ad gratis if we felt so strongly about Orthodox participation in the voting. She said, “I wouldn't want to be quoted to that effect.”

But did she make the comment, our reporter asked? It was “taken out of context,” was the reply.

Ms. Rubenstein went on to say that no new ads would be placed because they do not have a budget for more ads. When asked why The Jewish Press wasn't considered in the initial advertising budget, Ms. Rubenstein responded, “I'm not getting into a conversation with you about it. This is not a story and I'm not commenting on it as a story.”

Well, we disagree. It is a story and a very important one. A level playing field for all potential voters is certainly something that should be of prime concern to the folks at the World Zionist Congress.

In any event, as our readers will note, we are including as an insert, at our own expense, an official ballot for the election.

We hope that our readers will be spurred by this sad episode to vote in this all-important election, even if they did not intend to do so before.

Critical World Zionist Congress Elections

Friday, December 14th, 2001

The June 2002 election for the 34th World Zionist Congress looms as one of the more important items on Orthodoxy's communal agenda. The World Zionist Congress determines the policies and budgetary allocations of the Jewish Agency in Israel, the central agency which administers the bulk of the funds raised by the UJA-federation system worldwide. This affects allocations to educational and social institutions in Israel, the United States and around the world, as well as the religious and social orientation of Jewish Agency social service programs. In recent years, there has been an erosion of Orthodox representation in the Congress in favor of Reform and Conservative with a consequent increase in support for non-Orthodox institutions and programs and a sea change in philosophy on issues that are fundamental to the Torah character of the Jewish state.

In the coming weeks, we will share with our readers information about the voter registration process and the Orthodox slates. Remember, the registration deadline is December 14, 2001!

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/editorial/critical-world-zionist-congress-elections/2001/12/14/

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