British Jews were this week being urged to fight against a “hostile takeover” of Zionist organisations by settlers and strictly Orthodox representatives at the World Zionist Congress.
Progressive Jewish groups warned of a vote to “block non-Orthodox movements and centre-left parties from positions of power in the major Zionist institutions and give settlers access to millions of shekels for settlement development”.
Jews in the UK who are donors, members or supporters of organisations such as Bnei Brith were being asked to write to these organisations’ world bodies, who have the right to cast a vote at the WZC, to “vote against the deal, rather than remain neutral”.
London-based Jewish group Yachad, among the campaigners, said the five-yearly Congress “has a lot of power” because it elects the leadership of Zionist institutions in Israel including the World Zionist Organisation, the Jewish Agency, and the KKL (JNF), which is Israel’s largest landowner.
“Budgets of millions of shekels are put into the hands of people that the Congress elects, deciding the fate of not only what happens inside the State of Israel but in diaspora Jewish communities,” said Yachad director Hannah Weisfeld.
She said the deal would “put the entire leadership of the JNF and the WZO into the hands of ultra-Orthodox and right-wing parties… the Diaspora Affairs division of the WZO will be in the hands of a Likud representative who calls Israeli leftists traitors”.
Weisfeld warned of “a massive transfer of funds from the KKL to the WZO including a long list of budgets for land purchases for Jewish settlement in the West Bank of millions of shekels” as she urged Brits to get involved “to stop this hostile takeover”.
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