MERCAZ USA at the Extraordinary Zionist Congress

MERCAZ USA and our international partners made a significant difference and were a LOUD voice for your values at the Extraordinary Zionist Congress held in Jerusalem at the end of April.

  1. The forces fighting for a pluralistic democratic Israel are on the offensive and we won this Congress
  2. The delaying tactics of those who opposed us failed this time
  3. We stood up for MERCAZ USA’s values and our voice was heard loud and clear

The Congress was adjourned prior to voting on the proposed resolutions in a move by those who opposed pluralism, inclusion, and democracy. The vote by Congress Delegates finally took place online and was completed on May 23, 2023. While those who opposed our agenda delayed the voting, they could not stop the results. When the votes were counted – a series of pro-democracy, pro-pluralism resolutions were passed, including:

  • Promoting women’s rights and LGBTQ rights in Israel
  • Calling for equal recognition of Conservative and Reform conversions
  • Opposing changes to the Law of Return and the so-called “judicial overhaul” that threatens Israel’s democratic future. 

The Resolutions can be found here. To see the final results of the votes on each Resolution, click here.

Why does this matter? Because the passage of these resolutions is already influencing the debate in Israel and the work of the national institutions, whose billions of dollars we want to be spent in line with our interests and values as Conservative/Masorti Jews.

This outcome is a victory for democracy and pluralism not only because the resolutions promote democratic and liberal values in Israel, but because they represent the clear, democratic voice of world Jewry, despite the efforts of the Likud and the ultra-Orthodox to silence our voice by trying numerous tactics to prevent these votes.

This victory is not only a victory for democracy, but for MERCAZ USA. It was made possible because of the strong representation (a result of your vote!) and hard work of the Masorti/Conservative Movement’s MERCAZ USA, working closely with our allies.

The MERCAZ USA delegation was led by Sarrae Crane and past president Marilyn Wind and included representatives of the MERCAZ USA Board, the Federation of Jewish Men’s Clubs, the Rabbinical Assembly, The United Synagogue for Conservative Judaism, and the Women’s League for Conservative Judaism. Our delegation included young leaders, Rabbis, veteran WZO Delegates, and first-timers.

The World Zionist Congress is the world Jewish community’s official way to help shape policy and make our voices heard in Israel. The first Zionist Congress, convened by Theodore Herzl, was in Basil 126 years ago. The Congress is the major ideological and policy-making body of the World Zionist Organization. It is scheduled to convene once every five years in Jerusalem and brings together over 2,000 Zionist activists from around the world (750 delegates and twice as many alternates). Two years ago, because of COVID, the Congress was held virtually and it was decided to hold an Extraordinary Congress in Jerusalem in conjunction with Israel’s 75 Birthday.

The next World Zionist Congress is slated for 2025 and this will be a very important moment for all of us.

The Congress determines the leadership and influences the policies of Israel’s National Institutions: The World Zionist Organization, the Jewish Agency for Israel, Keren Kayemet L’Israel, and Keren Hayesod. Over $2,000,000,000 of funding is allocated through decisions made by the Zionist Congress on educational, religious, and social service programs in Israel and other Jewish communities worldwide.

To continue this important work, we must strengthen our representation in the next World Zionist Congress in 2025. WE MUST STRONGLY OPPOSE those who do not advocate for pluralism and hold disdain for anything but their hardcore beliefs SO THEY WILL NOT succeed next time. As Jews who care about Israel’s future as a vibrant Jewish, pluralistic, and democratic state, failure to increase our representation in the next Zionist Congress would put our values and interests at risk.

At the Extraordinary Congress, your delegation witnessed first-hand the battle for Israel’s democracy that has overtaken the country in recent months. We stood with Jews from Israel and around the world, from all backgrounds, who want to see (and live in) a country that is open to all Jews. Pluralistic forces in Israel and the Zionist movement are on the offensive. As Israelis take their battle for a pluralistic, democratic Israel to the streets it’s time we join their battle by working to strengthen our representation in the World Zionist Congress in 2025 as a tangible way to make our voices heard even louder and to defend Israel as a place open and welcoming to all Jews.

So… when the election for the delegates to the 2025 World Zionist Congress takes place, PLEASE VOTE MERCAZ USA. Your vote can make an important difference in the lives of our community in Israel and around the globe. MERCAZ USA is re-doubling its efforts to make sure our voice and our ideals are heard in 2025 and we invite you to support MERCAZ USA in being your voice and the voice of our Movement in Israel.

What can you do today? 

  1. Make sure your MERCAZ USA membership is up to date.
  2. Recruit 10 friends to join MERCAZ USA
  3. Let your Rabbi know this is important to you and it needs to be important for the congregation.


Am Yisrael Chai – the People of Israel Live

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