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World Zionist Congress Election Underway

The American Zionist Movement (AZM) announced that 149,400 American Jews, registered to vote in the 1997 Zionist election, are receiving ballots mailed out recently. Voters will choose among ten slates of candidates to the 33rd World Zionist Congress, to be held this December in Jerusalem. The American Zionist Movement's delegation of 145 will be the largest one representing a Diaspora community and will be democratically elected by all U.S. Zionists who are registered to vote. Delegations from other areas of the world are being chosen by agreement of Zionist organizations or by election. In Israel, the Knesset elections serve as the basis for their allocation of delegates.

Avraham Burg, Chairman of the World Zionist Organization (WZO), congratulated the American Zionist Movement on the preparations for the elections, saying, "I am committed to upholding the WZO Constitution and the democratic process. AZM's achievement is an example that the entire Jewish world can follow." Mel Salberg, President of the American Zionist Movement, acknowledged Burg's remarks, saying "The Zionist elections process in the United States is a model of democracy in action. I am pleased that the Chairman recognized AZM's important contribution and the tremendous efforts expended." He went on to say "Kudos are due AZM Executive Director Karen Rubinstein and Elections Coordinator Lee Ilan. Both worked long and diligently to bring the elections to this point. Special thanks to Moshe Kagan, Chairman of the U.S. Elections Committee, who accomplished what many believed impossible -- Kagan shepherded these elections through to their conclusion."

Slates running in this year's election are American Friends of Meretz, Revisionist Zionists of America, Association of Reform Zionists of America, Religious Zionist Movement, American Zionists for Unity and Tolerance (Baltimore Zionist District), Labor Zionist Movement, Mercaz U.S.A., Zionist Organization of America, American Friends of Likud, and World Confederation of United Zionists. Completed ballots must be received by 30 September, and election results will be available a few days afterward.

All Jewish adults who reside permanently in the United States are eligible to register to vote. The registration process involved completing a registration form, accepting the Jerusalem Program (which delineates the aims of Zionist), and paying a $2 registration fee. Those who did not register before the deadline of 22 June will not be able to do so now. The American Arbitration Association (AAA) was selected to run the elections. The hiring of an independent, election agency, together with the registration process, was done to ensure proper election. Registered voters who lost their material or do not receive ballots by early September should request a duplicate ballot by calling the AAA at 8--0405- 7244.

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