The preparations for Israel to celebrate 75 years were well underway. Thousands of visitors arrived and came for the celebrations to be held for Yom Haatzmaut, Israel’s Independence Day.
Jerusalem street signs were up celebrating independence on all the corners of the city, plus parks and museums, and theaters.
In a prelude to the day, the World Zionist Organization held its Extraordinary Zionist Congress in the Jerusalem International Conference Center from April 19-21, 2023.
Newly elected WZO President Tova Dorfman opened the first plenary.
People came from all over the globe for these political meetings of the 39th World Jewish Congress.
The American Zionist Movement held a special lunch meeting on the first day with Avi Mayer, the new editor of the Jerusalem Post, speaking and answering questions.
Also the first day in the afternoon, the Herzl Forum met at the ICC for a gathering of social and business, tech, and innovation leaders.
The second day opened with a program highlighting 125 years of Zionism.
Networking, meeting new people, and catching up with long-time friends after the pandemic closed down tourism to Jerusalem were highlights.
Thursday morning the WZC delegates were a wide offered a variety of tours. However, one group decided instead to march with Israeli flags to the Knesset to protest the government.
As buses returned, a buffet lunch was served.
The first WZC afternoon plenary began with an award to Avraham Duvdevani. Duvdev, as he is well known, was one of the soldiers who liberated Jerusalem in 1967. As an Israeli politician and activist, he has served both as the chairman of the WZO and chairman of the Jewish National Fund. Yaakov Hagoel, WZO Chairman made the presentation.
As Duvdev returned from the stage to his seat, people got up from their seats and crowded around to congratulate him.
And then…the balagan began as the plenary vote on resolutions opened.
The stenographer trying to record the discussions could not keep up with the commotion on stage as the presidium decided to leave for Rabin Hall.
The Rabin Hall was one of many meeting rooms in the Convention Center renamed for this conference.
Meanwhile, in the main auditorium, delegates shouted “busha’ as it got later and later and I and many others had to leave.
However, what you did not see or hear about was another group meeting.
At the same time the “adults’ were disrupting, and continued to do so into the next day to protest the presence of MK Simcha Rothman in the building,
a youth conference for informal education and young leadership was held in the Convention Center. The 1000 young Israelis had the opportunity to meet with young people from around the world.
The enthusiastic delegates aged 18-23 represented 14 global Zionist youth movements from an impressive variety of countries, including the United States, Canada, Australia, Argentina, Brazil, Uruguay, France, Germany, Switzerland, Austria, Hungary, Russia, Ukraine, Netherlands, Mexico, Belgium, Bulgaria, Ecuador, Great Britain, South Africa, Chile, Costa Rica, Colombia, Paraguay, Peru, Italy, Spain, New Zealand, Venezuela, Sweden, Denmark, and Israel.
They met and talked and interacted in large groups with translation provided, and ate lunch together in smaller groups.
They had panel discussions in various languages, here in English
and also Spanish for example.
While the World Zionist Congress ended with shouts of busha being heard,
the Youth Congress ended with the singing of Am Yisrael Chai.
An Extraordinary World Congress to celebrate Israel at 75.
With hope for the future with those Zionist Youth Leaders who were in Jerusalem from around the world meeting in the same Jerusalem International Conference Center. Hope they enjoyed their time on the Jerusalem streets and come back soon and often.
6 thoughts on “World Zionist Organization Meets in Jerusalem – What you did not see”
Thank you for sharing your lovely photos and thoughts. I enjoy reading your posts but please don’t keep sniping at the protests. There are many Haredi and other orthodox women very concerned about the implications of Smotrich’s and Ben Gvir’s vision for Israel alongside Levin’s plan. There are fewer American and British Zionist youth than when I was a child according to good quality research in the States and Israel. Democracy matters to them. I’m in my 50s and I live in the UK now. I love your country, visit often and have friends and family there with left and right wing views. Some Masorti (conservative), some secular and some orthodox religious. None of them are making the mistake of believing your current political leaders are acting in the interests of Israel. This is a defining moment for Israel. I wish you well with your efforts to ensure that the country will celebrate its centennial with the rule of law intact. Israel deserves nothing less. With love, Emma
Thank you Emma for your thoughtful comment.
My main aim was to share how well the Youth Congress seemed to run, and it was good news not shared enough.
I try to leave the politics and conflict to others, there is certainly enough of it.
Wondering if the Ethiopian Community has many people involved in leadership roles in Israel. I am tutoring, right now, a beautiful and bright Ethiopian Israeli on zoom…had trouble finding a significant number of non white faces in the crowds and non at all in what I thought were the leaders…
Thanks again for your wonderful reporting on all things Israel…
Not many, but I have seen some extremely impressive Ethiopian/Israelis. For Sigd, there are hundreds of buses that come to Jerusalem http://rjstreets.com/2018/11/07/sigd-celebrated-in-jerusalem-2/. I would think distance and economics are big factors in rally attendance. But so true, not well represented in high places as of now.
Thank you for continuing to show the face of Jerusalem as it Really is to those of us who live here.
It is refreshing to read that the young people are able to remain idealistic in the face of the turmoil the elders promote.
Am Yisrael Chai, indeed!
Thank you! Just back from the Knesset with the US delegation visiting. What a positive atmosphere. Knesset inside and outside has never been so well behaved, good to see it.