Hadassah Makes Urgent Appeal for Inclusion, Pluralism to WZO Leaders

October 21, 2020

Hadassah Makes Urgent Appeal for Inclusion, Pluralism to WZO Leaders

Hadassah, The Women's Zionist Organization of America, sent an urgent appeal on Monday, October 19, 2020, to the leadership of the World Zionist Organization regarding the proposed new Agreement of Principles for the World Zionist Congress. Hadassah is a member organization of the World Zionist Organization and an active participant in the World Zionist Congress, with 32 delegates.

In an official statement on the issue, Hadassah National President Rhoda Smolow expressed concern that the proposed Agreement of Principles will disenfranchise young Zionists and seriously impact pluralism in Israel, stating, "We are proud of our position where we reinforce our commitment to diversity and pluralism!" Read more about Hadassah’s position in the Jerusalem Post and in the Jewish Telegraphic Agency (JTA).

An Open Letter to the Leadership of the World Zionist Organization (WZO),

I, representing a wide range of committed Zionist members of Hadassah, am writing with an urgent appeal to you with regard to the WZO proposed Agreement on Principles. This document could have a serious impact on pluralism and other essential issues in Israel. The Agreement on Principles, is completely unacceptable to the members and supporters of Hadassah. It must be redrafted in favor of a wide, balanced agreement that includes all Zionist movements, one that represents world Jewry both in Israel and the Diaspora.

We will all be experiencing a World Zionist Congress in an unprecedented format. The lack of opportunities for the delegates to meet outside the framework of the specific agenda is understandably hampered by the COVID 19 global pandemic. However, that should not limit the strength of our voices. We know you hear us. We cannot remain silent. If the proposed Agreement on Principles stands unchallenged, it will have a negative effect not only for today and not only those currently engaged, but also future generations of Zionist activists. We voted to ensure that 25% of our delegates will be 35 years of age or younger. This Agreement, if passed, could very well disenfranchise the younger men and women with whom we will be depending on for future leadership roles to support the Zionist movement which has always been inclusive of diverse ideologies.

We implore you to consider the long term effect such an agreement will have on the future of the Zionist movement; to strengthen the Zionist movement and ensure a secure Israel. We trust you! Please do not jeopardize the majority for the minority nor the voices in the Diaspora for those in Israel. The Agreement on Principles is antithetical to Hadassah’s values of inclusivity.

As Henrietta Szold said’ “Make my eyes look to the future”.... the future is in your hands. We know you’ll make the right choice for Israel and the Diaspora.

With Pride, Passion and Purpose!

Rhoda Smolow
Hadassah National President