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December 3, 2016 / 3 Kislev, 5777

Posts Tagged ‘World Zionist Organization’

Gloves Are Off as Cabinet Revives Settlement Division

Friday, October 7th, 2016

On Sunday, the Netanyahu cabinet is expected to liberate an important tool for the reclamation and development of Israeli lands on either side of the “green line,” as the Settlement Division of the World Zionist Organization will come under tighter government control and at the same time increase its contribution to Jewish communities, Israeli media reported Friday.

Two years ago, Deputy AG Dina Zilber issued a harsh critique of the Settlement Division, accusing it of running a murky operation, especially in Judea and Samaria, outside the control of Israeli governments, mostly due to its status as a private entity. As a result, the Justice Ministry, then under one of the Jewish settlement enterprise’s worst enemies, Tzipi Livni, recommended that the next government (which Tzipi expected to head) dismantle the division by blocking its state budget. Without a budget, the division was expected to wither and die.

On Sunday, apparently, the same Zionist instrument of vitality will roar back to life, with a budget just short of $10 million, to be distributed equally among the Jewish communities of the Negev, Galilee, and Judea and Samaria. In addition, the Settlement Division will be empowered to offer solutions to stressed communities, especially in the periphery. No such first-aid government entity exists today.

The Zilber report was attacked not only by the rightwing parties, but also by communities that are associated with Tzipi Livni’s Labor party, alongside the Gaza border and down in the Jordan Valley. In fact, after the elections that saw Livni retreat to the opposition benches, several of her own party MKs supported a bill submitted by MK Bezalel Smotrich (Habayit Hayehudi), enabling the government to delegate its power to the Settlement Division. Zilber, a civil servant, lobbied against the bill, which passed in three plenum votes. The eager bureaucrat was later rebuked by her new boss, Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked (Habayit Hayehudi), for her acting against the expressed will of the elected officials above her.

The layout of the revived Settlement Division which will be discussed by the cabinet on Sunday will define it as an expert, consulting entity which both counsels the government on settlement issues and carries out specific government assignments. For the first time, the division is expected to be able to act within urban communities in the rural sectors, when in the past it was limited to working with the regional councils. Its policy will no longer be shaped by the division, but instead by the Agriculture Minister, Uri Ariel (Habayit Hayehudi).

One of Zilber’s criticisms was taken seriously by the designers of the renewed Settlement Division — the need for transparency. To that end, it will be placed under the supervision of the Agriculture Ministry’s Accountant General and Legal Counsel. It will also have to comply with Israel’s Freedom of Information Act.

With all those provisos in place, the Settlement Division will be empowered to plan and establish new communities, pave roads, lay down infrastructure, manage mobile homes, and strengthen and rehabilitate communities in need. The division will also manage the lands of Israeli communities in Judea and Samaria until such time as a more permanent legal solution is reached.

Minister Ariel, who has been a major force behind the efforts to revive the division, told Makor Rishon on Thursday that “in the past few years there have been many different attempts by judicial entities to lock down the Settlement Division which endeavors to develop periphery communities across the land. I believe and hope that once the Settlement Division returns to full capacity the regional councils and the local residents will once again receive solutions to their enormous needs.”

JNi.Media

Hundreds of Jewish Leaders in First-Ever Jewish Agency Board of Governors Meetings in Paris

Wednesday, June 22nd, 2016

Hundreds of Jewish leaders from around the world will gather in Paris next week as the Board of Governors of the Jewish Agency for Israel convenes in that city for the first time ever, in an unprecedented expression of solidarity with the French Jewish community.

French Minister of State for Relations with Parliament Jean-Marie Le Guen, Israeli Minister of Aliyah and Immigrant Absorption Sofa Landver, and Israeli Minister of Construction and Housing Yoav Gallant will address the gathering, as will Chairman of the Executive of the Jewish Agency for Israel Natan Sharansky, President of the CRIF (the umbrella of French Jewish communal organizations) Roger Cukierman, President of the Consistoire (the organization responsible for French Jewish religious affairs) Joël Mergui, and other leaders of the local Jewish community.

During the course of the three-day event (next Sunday through Tuesday), the Jewish Agency Board of Governors will join the Paris Jewish community at a special event at the Great Synagogue of Paris (La Victoire) bidding farewell to community members who will be making Aliyah this summer. Participants will also interact with French Jewish youth, receive a security briefing from the Jewish communal security service (SPCJ), and learn about the most pressing issues facing the community.

The event will end with the European finals of the 2016 International Bible Competition for Adults, hosted jointly by The Jewish Agency, the Government of Israel, and the World Zionist Organization.

Sharansky said in a statement: “This gathering of hundreds of Jewish leaders from around the world is the single greatest expression of the Jewish people’s solidarity with French Jewry. The Jewish Agency will continue to assist any French Jew who wishes to make his or her home in Israel while simultaneously doing everything in our power to ensure that Jewish life in France grows even stronger and more secure.”

France is home to the second-largest Jewish community in the world outside Israel, and Aliyah from France has topped the charts in recent years, with some 33,000 French Jews immigrating to Israel over the past decade, including 7,800 just last year. The Jewish Agency for Israel has increased significantly its presence in France, in order to handle the influx of French Jewish immigrants and has expanded specialized opportunities for French Jewish young people to experience life in Israel through the Masa Israel Journey and Onward Israel.

Among the unique Jewish Agency programs offered to the French Jewish community are Bac Bleu Blanc, a weeklong Israel experience program for French Jewish teens; Zayit, a Jewish identity curriculum taught in French Jewish schools; and a range of informational seminars and Aliyah opportunity fairs custom-designed for specific demographic groups within French Jewry. The Jewish Agency also helps French Jewish communal institutions provide for their security through the organization’s Emergency Assistance Fund for Jewish Communities, established in the wake of the Toulouse terror attack in 2012.

JNi.Media

Ipsos Survey: One Third of American Students Support Boycotting Israel

Monday, May 30th, 2016

One third of American students believe boycotting Israel is justified and constitutes a legitimate means of applying political pressure on the Jewish State, according to a yet to be released Ipsos survey, Israel’s Channel 2 News reported. Ipsos is one of the world’s leading market research firms for hire, managed and controlled by research professionals, offering comprehensive global research programs in 87 countries.

The original Channel 2 story mistakenly assigned those statistics to the US population at large. It was later corrected.

The survey, which will be officially released in advance of an International conference on the struggle against BDS to open on Tuesday, polled a sample of 1,100 American students. It suggests that 33% find a boycott against Israel to be justified. A similar survey conducted in the UK found that 40% of the students there agree that boycotting Israel is legitimate.

The good news is that a 62% majority of US respondents believe that the BDS movement is a form of modern anti-Semitism. About 50% of Briton students also condemn the BDS as being anti-Semitic.

The anti-BDS international conference, titled, “Building Bridges and Fighting Boycotts,” is organized by Israel’s UN envoy Danny Danon, in collaboration with the World Jewish Congress, Keren Hayesod, the American Center for Law and Justice, the Anti-Defamation League, the Zionist Organization of America, Israel Bonds, StandWithUs, B’nai B’rith International, Hillel, and CAMERA. More than 1,500 are expected to participate, including students, representatives of anti-BDS organizations, Jewish American organizations, and opinion makers.

JNi.Media

Knesset Passes Law Making Judea and Samaria Division Part of WZO

Sunday, December 27th, 2015

(JNi.media) After hours of overnight deliberations, the Knesset approved Thursday morning a bill to regulate the legal status of the Settlement Division as part of the World Zionist Organization. The bill, submitted by MK Bezalel Smotrich (Bayit Yehudi) passed its second and third readings in a 53-48 vote. One Knesset member, Eitan Broshi of the Zionist Camp, abstained.

The bill will enshrine into law the WZO Settlement Division’s role in funding and developing rural Jewish communities in the Golan, Binyamin and Judea Hills, Jordan Valley, Hebron Hills and the Galilee and the Negev, subject, however, to the government’s approval.

The notes accompanying the proposal read, ”The purpose of the bill is anchored in legalizing the longstanding engagement between the Israeli government and the WZO Settlement Division, which for decades has served as the singular body for settlement development in Israel, and the realization of the Zionist mission of the State of Israel.”

Constitution, Law and Justice Committee chairman MK Nissan Slomiansky (Bayit Yehudi) presented the proposal. ”This is something that should have taken place 67 years ago, with the establishment of the State,” he said.

MK Tzipi Livni (Zionist Camp) said, ”This appears to be a technical debate, but we just saw the video showing youngsters repeatedly stabbing the photo of a baby who was murdered — this is the general topic we are discussing today. My Judaism is not the Judaism of those who danced at the wedding with knives. My Judaism is not Judaism of hatred or burning or dancing on the blood of babies.” Livni was referring to a Channel 10 report which showed a video of Jewish extremists dancing at a wedding while cheering the murder of a Palestinian family in Duma and calling for more killings.

”This Settlement Division Law is part of that same group. This proposal is meant to fool the Americans,” she added. ”In essence, the government is transferring to the Settlement Division the powers, but not the obligations. I would have been prepared to accept this law had one sentence been added to it – that everything that applies to the government also applies to the Settlement Division. But of course this was not accepted.”

MK Osama Sa’adi (Joint Arab List) said, ”The freedom of information clause does not include all the activity of the Settlement Division because they want to continue to rob the land of the Palestinian people and continue to build in the settlements. Many segments of the settler population carry out acts of terror. The solution is to dismantle the settlement enterprise, which is a war crime, and establish a Palestinian state.”

MK Elazar Stern (Yesh Atid) said ”perhaps [the law] is meant to deceive the European Union, but it makes room for lying to the state and lying to the court. [Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development] Uri Ariel (Bayit Yehudi), you are a dishonest and inciting man, and it cannot be that funds allotted by you will go to incitement and deception.”

MK Yair Lapid (Yesh Atid) said the Settlement Division ”is trying to create a political reality that will come at the expense of the settlement blocs. Ma’ale Adumim, Gush Etzion and Ariel are being held hostage by the illegal outposts. We are protecting the settlement blocs. Earlier we saw footage from the blood wedding. These people are not Jews, and we must fight them just like we fight Hamas and Hezbollah. They did not grow in a void – they have rabbis and an ideology. It is time that we come out against the extremism of the blood wedding, which was born in those same outposts which people are trying to fund through this bill.”

JNi.Media

Why Vote for Torah?

Sunday, April 26th, 2015

Martin Oliner

In the current climate, it is almost impossible to enter an Orthodox synagogue in America that has not undertaken security measures on behalf of the institution. Time, money, and efforts of all types are expended. Members are passionately recruited to protect and ensure the physical welfare and safety of congregants and members.

Yet, even as Orthodox Jews throughout the nation firmly adhere to the mantra, “If you see something, say something,” they have, until recently, been blind to, and silent about, a different type of threat. Th is is a spiritual threat from within that is arguably as insidious and challenging to Orthodox Jewish survival as any physical threat.

In October 2015, the 37th World Zionist Congress (WZC), the “parliament” of the Jewish people, will convene in Israel. At that time, the slate of leaders and policy stewards of the World Zionist Organization (WZO) that the Jewish people had voted for before April 30th, will assume their mantle of leadership. The WZO and its constituent and affiliate organizations are empowered to distribute more than one billion dollars to support programs throughout Israel and the Diaspora.

Vying for dominance in this election, are movements within our nation which seek to undermine and subvert Orthodox Judaism. These groups are using the WZC election to facilitate that attack.

These other streams are attempting to first hijack and usurp the financial resources that fuel Orthodox educational programs and materials. They are seeking to subvert the funding of the Hesder yeshivot, the subsidization and financing of services to Orthodox communities in Israel, and the grants and funding of Orthodox Shlichim and emissaries that are so effective in so many schools and institutions throughout America.

With an agenda far beyond merely derailing Orthodoxy financially, these streams also seek to undermine the ideals, convictions and beliefs that are the life-blood of Torah-committed Jews and which these programs both sustain and perpetuate.

The unabashedly stated goals of these other streams are diametrically opposed to fundamental Orthodox religious values, which include Religious Zionist outreach, Torah inspired education, the sanctity of a united Yerushalayim, intra-marriage, and advancing Aliyah. They decry the idea of hallachically performed conversions and the preservation of Shabbat in Israel. Undermining all of this and more are the stated positions and goals of the other streams.

Shockingly, many of their positions are not only anathema to those who are Torah-motivated, but create an existential danger to the Jewish State itself.

How so?

Some of the pronouncements of these streams include the advocacy of the nascent and growing BDS movement – “Boycott, Divestiture and Sanctions.” They view support of BDS as necessary “tough love” – as they view other criticisms of Israel, the support and validation of intermarriage, and the undermining of Yehuda and Shomron.

It is imperative that Orthodox supporters of Israel recognize the current challenge. This is no mere theoretical point. It is not just another academic debate between theologians or a mere battle over funding.

It is an existential threat to Orthodoxy.

It is a threat driven by a blind selfi sh refusal to admit that, following the Pew Reports highlighting of Orthodox Judaism’s viability and vitality, it appears that adherence to a Torah way of life holds the key to Jewish survival.

In contrast to the war being waged against them, the Orthodox community is not seeking to dominate nor aggressively confront any other stream nor to be proselytizing. It is simply striving to preserve its own priorities and fundamental Orthodox religious beliefs. Th e Orthodox community is attempting to make clear, through successful presentation in the WZC election, that it is the presumptive voice of the Jewish people on the world stage.

Martin Oliner

World Zionist Congress Elections: Time is Running Out

Tuesday, April 21st, 2015

Have you voted yet in the World Zionist Congress elections? Did you know there is an election happening now, and it ends on April 30?

Okay; step back. What is the World Zionist Congress, why is there an election for it now, and who is running? And then, don’t forget to vote.

WORLD ZIONIST CONGRESS

The WZC was founded by Theodore Herzl in 1897. His idea was to create a legislative body of informed and interested Jewish organizations to make determinations for the Jewish people with the hope of helping to re-establish the Jewish State.

Now that there is, once again, a Jewish State, the WZC meets every five years to discuss and debate issues vital to the Jewish people, such as Jewish identity, security, civil society in Israel, anti-Semitism, and the Jewish State enterprise.

In addition to general policy discussions, the WZC exerts substantial control over significant assets owned by the three major Jewish institutions. It is in this way that parties with a strong voice in the WZC are able to have some control over how the substantial funds of these organizations are spent.

The Jewish National Fund, which controls approximately 13 percent of Israel’s land is one branch over which the WZC has influence.

The Jewish Agency for Israel (JAFI), which is currently headed by Natan Scharansky, is also under the purview of the WZC. JAFI deals with immigration to Israel and absorption of new olim, and influences education about Zionism.

The third institution over which the WZC has some level of control is the World Zionist Organization. The WZC helps the WZO decide how to allocate funds and assists in the formulation of WZO policies.

PARTIES RUNNING

The WZC has a total of 500 members. The majority – 190 members – comes from Israel. The United States is entitled to 145 WZC members and the remainder of the diaspora is permitted 165 representatives.

There are currently 11 parties running slates for the WZC in the U.S.

Those parties run the spectrum, from those who believe Israel was given by God and every inch of the biblical homeland belongs to the Jewish people, to those who support the immediate creation of a Palestinian State regardless of the harm to the current Jewish State.

It is essential that anyone voting reads the platform and looks at the slate of individuals running for each slate. Some of the party names do not necessarily correspond with the true nature of the parties.

WHO CAN VOTE AND HOW?

In order to vote in the U.S. elections for the WZC, you first have to register. If you are 18 years old, live in the United States and accept what is called the “Jerusalem Program,” chances are you are entitled to vote in the U.S. WZC election, which is run by the American Zionist Movement.

The Jerusalem Program encapsulates the belief that Zionism is the national liberation movement of the Jewish people, that Zionism led to the (re)establishment of Israel, which is understood to be a Jewish, Zionist, democratic and secure state and is the expression of the common responsibilities of the Jewish people for its continuity and future. Zionism assumes the centrality of the State of Israel and of Jerusalem, its capital.

According to the Jerusalem Program, Zionism asserts that Israel is rooted in the vision of the prophets, and that it strives for peace and to contribute to the betterment of the world. Zionism seeks to foster Jewish spiritual and cultural values and nourishes mutual Jewish responsibility, where the rights of Jews as individuals and as a nation are defended, and where everyone strives to erase all forms of anti-Semitism. “Finally, settling the country is an expression of practical Zionism.”

Lori Lowenthal Marcus

ZOA: Anti-Zionists Should Not Be Allowed in World Zionist Congress

Friday, January 2nd, 2015

The Zionist Organization of America has filed a formal objection with the World Zionist Organization against a coalition of what ZOA calls anti-Zionist organizations running a slate to have an increased presence in the World Zionist Congress.

ZOA points out that the World Zionist Organization’s Constitution does not permit members to be organizations that discriminate against Jewish and Israeli businesses, or against other Jews. In addition to violating the WZO’s own constitution, boycotts of Jewish or Israeli businesses also violate New York State Human Rights Law.

If that is the case, then the organizations which named their slate “Hatikvah,” Partners for a Progressive Israel, Ameinu, Hashomer Hatzair and Habonim Dror, should be booted.

But there’s a catch, one that the anti-Zionists hope is a permanent life raft. The same organizations ZOA is calling to have tossed from the WZC’s fall 2015 election have all belonged to the WZO for years.

The organizations seeking to join the World Zionist Congress reads like a Who’s Who of the Jewish organizations who love to hate Zionism, and who claim to criticize Israel first, last and only, “out of love” for the Jewish State. Love like that kills.

The groups joining together in a united front include: Partners for a Progressive Israel (formerly MeretzUSA), Ameinu, Habonim Dror North America, and Hashomer Hatzair. The groups share various essentials, according to ZOA, including New York office space, various directors and ideology.

The PPI brazenly supports consumer boycotts against such Israeli companies as Ahava, SodaStream and a list of others.

While Ameinu calls itself an “American Zionist organization” and insists it opposes boycotts of Israeli products, the ZOA points out that Ameinu began a special unit in its organization which lobbies the American and European governments to impose severe financial and travel restrictions on Israel’s Finance Minister and other Israeli leaders.

Yet another objection ZOA raises to the HaTikvah slate is what ZOA describes as close involvement between PPI, Ameinu and the J Street organization. J Street has long hosted and supported many of the leading Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions against Israel groups and individuals. Despite claims of not being BDS advocates, their history and associations make clear the opposite is true.

The ZOA wants both the American Zionist Movement and the World Zionist Organization to expel PPI and Ameinu from membership, and to prevent HaTikvah from running for the World Zionist Congress. ZOA is currently a member of the AZM and the WZC, and so believes it has standing to bring this claim.

Should ZOA fail in its bid to bar the ani-Zionist slate from running, ZOA wants, at a minimum, for that group of organizations to be prevented from using the name HaTikvah. The basis for that move is that such a name, which of course evokes the Israeli national anthem, is confusing and will mislead uninformed voters who think the slate actually stands for what the words to the Israeli anthem mean, the essence of which is for Jews to be able to live freely in their ancient land.

As pointed out in ZOA’s  formal complaint filed first with the American Zionist Movement, and then with the Central Election Board, Ameinu’s  longtime director Leonard Fein called the words of the anthem HaTikvah “an insult” in a 2000 speech.

Judge Abraham Gafni of the American Zionist Movement rejected ZOA’s complaint. Gafni said that PPI, Ameinu and the HaTikvah slate were all entitled to participate in the 2015 World Zionist Congress election because they ran before and won at least one seat in the 2006 and 2010 World Zionist Congress elections.

The ZOA, however, said that fact should be irrelevant for several reasons. First of all, the BDS movement had barely gotten off the ground in 2010, and certainly in 2006. Furthermore, Ameinu’s new council seeking severe sanctions on Israeli leaders only began very recently.

Lori Lowenthal Marcus

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/zoa-anti-zionists-should-not-be-allowed-in-world-zionist-congress/2015/01/02/

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