What is MERCAZ's role at the National Institutions?

MERCAZ Olami is the sole political party representing the worldwide Masorti/Conservative Movement at the National Institutions.
From the very beginning, at Herzl's insistence, the Zionist movement has been a political and democratic one, with different factions representing different viewpoints and strategies on how to best create and shape the Jewish state. MERCAZ Olami's job is to work through the democratic political process at the Institutions to guarantee that the movement’s values, principles, and priorities are reflected in their policies and work. Our representatives – elected by Jews just like you in Zionist elections around the world every five years – are your voice and the voice of nearly 2 million other Masorti/Conservative Jews in countries around the world. In between elections, they work on various committees, boards, and projects to continue to advance your values and interests.
Our influence has helped bring millions to Masorti/Conservative Movement programs, advanced Masorti Judaism and religious pluralism in Israel, and prevented illiberal forces from seizing control of significant programs and resources to advance their agenda.

The World Zionist Organization - WZO

Established in 1897, the World Zionist Organization (WZO) is the umbrella body of the Zionist Movement. Its legislative body, the World Zionist Congress, is the democratically elected parliament of the Jewish people. The Congress allows for representation of the various Zionist movements and organizations from across the political spectrum and around the world: these span from MERCAZ representing the Conservative Movement, to other movements' parties, Israeli political parties, and more. The distribution of seats and power at the WZO is determined every five years through elections to the World Zionist Congress held in countries around the world. Roughly one-third are assigned to Israeli political parties based on the results of the most recent elections to the Knesset. Roughly one-third of seats are chosen via elections in the United States. The final roughly one-third are chosen via elections held in other countries. Some major Jewish organizations have permanent representation at the Congress, including Hadassah, WIZO, B'nai Brith, World Union of Jewish Students, and others. In the United States, any Jew over the age of 18 who accepts the "Jerusalem Program" (the basic principles of the Zionist movement) and pays a small administrative fee to cover the cost of the elections is eligible to vote for the World Zionist Congress.

Keren Kayemet Le’Yisrael – KKL (JNF)

KKL was established in 1901 to purchase land for Jewish settlement and develop the Land of Israel. Today, KKL is the largest private landowner in Israel, with its landholdings generating approximately $2 billion annually that is spent on a wide variety of projects which help shape Israeli society and the Jewish world. These projects range from Jewish education and community development to environmental projects. How this huge sum of money is spent is ultimately a reflection of the Jewish people's collective values and our vision for Israel. That is why MERCAZ's representation on the Board of KKL is critical to making sure money goes to projects that advance a liberal, democratic, and pluralistic vision for Israel, and to making sure our Movement gets its fair share of funding. MERCAZ's representation on KKL's board is determined by our strength in the World Zionist Congress, which is determined by Zionist election results in countries around the world. In other words, it's up to you!

The Jewish Agency for Israel - JAFI

Founded in 1929, JAFI originally served as the "government in waiting" of the nascent Jewish state: indeed, its final Chairman before Israel's establishment was David Ben-Gurion. Today, it is best known for fostering aliyah (immigration) of Jews to the Land of Israel and for its shlichut (emissary) programs that serve as a bridge between Israelis and Jews around the world. JAFI has also aided Jews who find themselves in conflict zones, as it did extensively during the war in Ukraine. Since 1948, the Jewish Agency has brought 3 million immigrants to Israel and offers them transitional housing in numerous "absorption centers" throughout the country. The World Zionist Congress selects half of the members of the board of the Jewish Agency, meaning your vote for MERCAZ in the Zionist elections also strengthens MERCAZ's representation at this important institution.

Keren HaYesod

Keren HaYesod was established by the World Zionist Congress to provide the Zionist movement with resources needed to establish a Jewish homeland in Palestine. It is an official fundraising organization for Israel with branches in 45 countries and special status under Israeli law. In the United States, the role traditionally fulfilled by Keren HaYesod is fulfilled by Jewish Federations.  

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We are MERCAZ Olami, the political arm in the National Institutions of the worldwide Conservative/Masorti Movement, based in Jerusalem, Israel.
Contact Us

32 General Pierre Koenig 4th Floor
Jerusalem 93469, Israel
E: mercaz@mercazolami.org
T: +972 (2) 624-7106