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World Zionist Congress

>World Zionist Congress – Ending with 2 Hatikvahs

>So the World Zionist Congress is now over, and it seems that we managed to leave Jerusalem just as the city was being overrun and shut down (the journey to Tel Aviv still took an extra 40+ minutes).

The last day of the WZC is primarily about the resolutions, and the votes which are held on all of them. The resolutions which have passed through the committee stage tend to advance relatively easily through the whole Congress. However, according to the antiquated WZC rules, a person can call for a Votum Separatum, which means that a rejected motion will still be voted on in the whole Congress, with the proposer generally speaking on its behalf at the beginning.

For the group which I had been involved in, considering Zionist Education, there were 2 Votum Separatums on resolutions, which we had voted against. They were important items for us, and we had to make sure that they were defeated again, thankfully we were successful.

During the voting it was clear that the pluralist, liberal parties had a majority of the votes on virtually all matters. And as members of the Orthodox right grew frustrated, towards the end of the session, a number of them invaded the stage to stall proceedings, and to sing Hatikvah. I do not think this was the Zionist dream Herzl had wanted us to pursue. And it provided a very disappointing picture: our way or no way.

The disappointment of this spectacle, was tempered by two young Australian delegates, one from Habonim Dror, and one from Bnei Akiva. They took the stage and explained how they find ways to work together, even when they disagree; providing a wonderful model of pluralism. Hopefully it will be their voices leading our next generation.

This was a disappointing recitation of the Hatikvah – a moment when the song was used to divide, rather than unite. But at the very end of the Congress, when we all stood together to sing Hatikvah, I felt a link back to the first Zionist Congress when this song was adopted as our anthem. It was a powerful moment.

There were highs and lows during the course of the Congress. But despite all of that, there is something very inspiring about being a delegate at the same Congress, which Herzl founded in 1897. A lot has changed over the previous 113 years, much has been achieved and there is much left to do. We need to be worthy heirs to Herzl’s vision; advancing the continued development of a pluralist, Jewish, democratic state.

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