MERCAZ within JAFI and the WZO

Our connection to WZO & JAFI

MERCAZ-Canada describes itself as the Conservative Movement's "voice in Israel." We represent the views and voices of the Canadian Conservative Jewish community in the World Zionist Organization (WZO) through our affiliation with MERCAZ and Masorti Olami, our delegates at the World Zionist Congress, and our representatives Vaad Hapoel and the Jewish Agency for Israel (JAFI). The WZO strives to enhance the impact of Zionist ideology and activity in Jewish communities, including within Israel, by working through its member organizations, and by influencing the agenda of the organized Jewish community, particularly through its involvement with JAFI*.

The WZO was formed at the first Zionist Congress 120 years ago to promote Zionism, the Zionist idea, and the Zionist enterprise through Israel education as vital and positive elements of contemporary Jewish life in accordance with the principles stated in the Jerusalem Program (wzo.org.il), which is periodically revised and updated to stay current to the needs of Zionism and the worldwide Jewish community. All members of the WZO agree to uphold these principles.

The Jerusalem Program states: Zionism, the national liberation movement of the Jewish people, brought about the establishment of the State of Israel, and views a Jewish, Zionist, democratic and secure State of Israel to be the expression of the common responsibility of the Jewish people for its continuity and future.

The foundations of Zionism are:

  1. The unity of the Jewish people, its bond to its historic homeland Eretz Yisrael, and the centrality of the State of Israel and Jerusalem, its capital, in the life of the nation;
  2. Aliyah to Israel from all countries and the effective integration of all immigrants into Israeli Society.
  3. Strengthening Israel as a Jewish, Zionist and democratic state and shaping it as an exemplary society with a unique moral and spiritual character, marked by mutual respect for the multi-faceted Jewish people, rooted in the vision of the prophets, striving for peace and contributing to the betterment of the world.
  4. Ensuring the future and the distinctiveness of the Jewish people by furthering Jewish, Hebrew and Zionist education, fostering spiritual and cultural values and teaching Hebrew as the national language;
  5. Nurturing mutual Jewish responsibility, defending the rights of Jews as individuals and as a nation, representing the national Zionist interests of the Jewish people, and struggling against all manifestations of anti-Semitism;
  6. Settling the country as an expression of practical Zionism. (Endorsed June 2004)
    The WZO is made up of Zionist Federations such as CZF, World Unions (MERCAZ Olami), Affiliated Zionist Organizations which include the main religious streams (Masorti Olami) and organizations that describe themselves as Zionist (like Hadassah), Youth and Young Adult Movements (like Marom), and the WZO Partners Keren Kayemet LeYisrael (KKL) and Keren Hayesod (UIA).
Why is this important?
    The WZO and JAFI receive monies raised for Israel by local Federations. The appointment of those monies is directly affected by the size of delegations to the World Zionist Congress from each Zionist organization.

    The larger the MERCAZ delegation, the more money our institutions receive, and the more say we have in ensuring the WZO agenda and guiding philosophy of the Jewish Agency supports our community's concerns for pluralism in Israeli society.

    The size of the MERCAZ delegation is a direct result of the size of our membership and the number of delegates at the Congress. Membership is just $18.00 per person. The more delegates elected prior to each Congress, the more representation we have, the more money we are allocated, and the more we can make a difference. Unfortunately, although Conservative Jews have historically led the way in their commitment to Zionism, we are not as strongly represented in the WZO as we should be. That's where YOU come in. You can help increase our influence by joining MERCAZ-Canada NOW and keeping your MERCAZ-Canada membership current.

How much does your membership help?
    MERCAZ secured annually $1.7 million dollars in direct allocations to Masorti institutions in Israel. Including funding for our Masorti congregations, TALI schools, the Nativ year program, the Conservative Yeshiva, Schechter Rabbinical School, and programs to support and promote outreach. MERCAZ also gained hundreds of thousands of additional dollars supporting projects around the world. Most important, MERCAZ has earned appointments to committees and boards of the Jewish Agency, allowing us direct influence in decision making and the distribution of millions of dollars in areas that concern us.
Our delegation is directly connected to the size of our membership in Canada and around the world.
    MAKE A DIFFERENCE through MEMBERSHIP~
    • Ensure allocations to Masorti institutions in Israel- advancing religious pluralism in Israel
    • Secure the annual allocation to Masorti Olami- promoting Masorti/Conservative Judaism throughout the world
    • Offer matching scholarships to young people attending Conservative sponsored trips to Israel
    • Strengthen representation in the decision making bodies of the Jewish Agency, Keren Kayemeth Le'Yisrael (JNF), Keren Hayesod and World Zionist Organization
    • Maintain and develop funding for NOAM, the Masorti youth organization, and MAROM, our young adult Zionist movement in Israel around the world
    • Facilitate activities intended to promote Aliyah among Conservative/Masorti Jews
    • Guarantee that shlichim for our youth movements are sent around the world
    Our voice as a movement, through MERCAZ Olami, is made greater by the number of delegates we have at the WZO annual meetings and the World Jewish Congress.

    *JAFI's role and relationship to the WZO has changed since its founding in 1929 as a branch of the WZO. Its stated mission is to connect the Jewish global family by bringing Jews to Israel and Israel to Jews, by providing meaningful Israel engagement and facilitating aliyah in order to inspire Jews around the world to connect with their People, heritage, and homeland, and to empower Jews to build a thriving Jewish future and strong Israel.