You have an opportunity to help influence Israeli policy in an election now underway for slates in the World Zionist Elections. Mercaz USA represents us, Masorti /Conservative Judaism in the United States.
We Conservative Jews have the chance to help shape the World Zionist Congress and, thereby, have an impact on creating an inclusive Israel by voting for Mercaz (slate #2).
The Mercaz platform is based on three values:
* Religious Pluralism in Israel. Did you know that Conservative rabbis cannot legally perform marriages or conversions in Israel? This is wrong and must be changed.
* Affirmative Action for the Masorti (Conservative) Movement. Why should the Israeli government give millions of dollars to Orthodox and Ultra-Orthodox synagogues and institutions and the 50 congregations of the Masorti Movement have to fend for themselves?
* Ecology. We believe that we are responsible for safeguarding the fragile ecosystem that exists in the land of Israel.
Anyone who identifies as a Jew and is over 18 years of age can vote. Registration can be done in 5 minutes, online at www.votemercaz.org. The cost is $10 for adults and $5 for students and young adults (ages 18-30). Once you have registered, you will be able to go and vote immediately.
The World Zionist Organization subscribes to the following principles called the Jerusalem Program: 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 his-toric 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 democ-ratic 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, repre-senting 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.
Please join me in voting Mercaz Slate #2!
Rabbi Gary M. Gans,