Leading modern Orthodox institutions in the United States have joined together to form an “Iron Dome” to secure $1 billion in potential funding for Jewish educational and communal causes in Israel and for fighting BDS and antisemitic activity around the world. Allocation of the funds will be heavily influenced by the outcome of the forthcoming World Zionist Congress elections.

Slate #4 is the Orthodox Israel Coalition (OIC). It is a broad-based group of nine major religious Zionist and modern Orthodox organizations that have represented Orthodoxy in the World Zionist Congress for over 100 years. It includes the Religious Zionists of America-Mizrachi, AMIT, the Orthodox Union, Yeshiva University, Touro College, Bnei Akiva, Torah MiTzion, National Council of Young Israel, and the Rabbinical Council of America. When the online polls open on Tuesday, January 21, American Jews will be able to vote for America’s delegates to the World Zionist Congress, which convenes in Israel in October. Those delegates will appoint the senior leadership of four Israeli national institutions that, between them, allocate the $1 billion to Jewish educational and communal causes around the world.

The World Zionist Congress is considered “the parliament” of the Jewish people. Elections are held once every five years. Choosing the 152 U.S. delegates (out of 500) is the primary opportunity for Jews living in America to impact major decisions being made in Israel.

The election outcome will help determine what percentage of the $1 billion would be allocated to Orthodox-affiliated day schools, yeshivot, seminaries, and other gap year programs, summer camps, and shuls, and for recruiting and training shlichim (emissaries) and bnot Sherut (young Israeli women performing national service) to American communities.

Rav Doron Perez, chief executive of the Mizrachi worldwide movement, said, “Israeli national institutions such as the World Zionist Organization, The Jewish Agency, Keren Kayemet L’Yisrael (JNF) and Keren Hayesod often perceive the Orthodox community in America as an insignificant minority. This perception does not reflect reality or the rapid growth of Orthodoxy in America. The contributions of Orthodox Jews to communal organizations and institutions bring to bear an influence far beyond our relative numbers. Success in these elections will greatly bolster the standing and influence of the Orthodox Torah voice.

“There is a per voter fee of $5.00 for those 18-25, and $7.50 for voters age 26 and above, but this is so important because it has the potential to impact a billion dollars available to our community and the causes we care about,” he added.

Other parts of the OIC Platform include:

  • Support the network of Orthodox-affiliated institutions worldwide: synagogues, summer camps, schools, recruiting/training programs for Israeli shlichim to communities around the world
  • Strengthen the “engine” of Religious Zionism: its schools in Israel, yeshivot, midrashot, mechinot, seminaries, youth movements, and academic institutions committed to halacha and Torah learning for both men and women
  • Support and promote the continued development of women’s leadership and Torah scholarship as a key component in ensuring the expansion of our vibrant Torah-based and Israel-centered community
  • Work to increase support and funding of the Masa subsidy program that supports gap year programs in Israel and aims to increase the number of young participants in Israel-based programs for American Religious Zionist youth
  • Encourage aliyah as the fulfillment of the mitzvah of yishuv Eretz Yisrael, settling the land of Israel, and contributing to shaping the future of the Jewish homeland
  • Support the settlement and development of Eretz Israel including the communities in Judea, Samaria, and the Golan Heights
  • Support the IDF and Sherut Leumi, as an essential means of ensuring national security and contributing to the overall development of Israeli society
  • Work to ensure unconditional and bipartisan support of the State of Israel

Polls will open on January 21 and close on March 11. Any Jew who will turn 18 by June 30, 2020, is a permanent resident of the United States, and does not vote in Israel, is eligible to vote following this process:

  1. Visit ZionistElection.org
  2. Click the Voter Registration button on the bottom left
  3. Fill in your information including payment of the $5.00 fee (ages 18-25) or $7.50 (ages 26 and above) and click submit
  4. Check your email or texts to receive your verification number and enter it on the website
  5. Vote for Slate #4 (OIC)

Mizrachi is the global Religious Zionist movement, spreading Torat Eretz Yisrael across the world and strengthening the bond between the international Jewish community and the State of Israel. Mizrachi has represented the Torah Voice and the Orthodox movement in the WZO for almost 120 years. Based in Jerusalem and with branches across the globe, Mizrachi — an acronym for merkaz ruchani (spiritual center) — was founded in 1902. For more information visit Mizrachi.org.

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