How YOU in the Diaspora can VOTE TOO
By Rachel Moore
Helpless. My husband and I had to leave Israel for twelve long years for personal reasons. Both Olim in our twenties, we never imagined giving up our dream to live in Israel, and we knew someday we would be back. And here we are, living how we always wanted to, with eight kids in the Judean Hills.
There were many aspect of life in the Diaspora that I enjoyed: my parents’ relationship with my kids, Sunday mornings, and shopping at Target are high up on the list. But one of the biggest challenges for me living in the United States was an ongoing feeling that when it came to Israel, I felt helpless. My brothers and sisters in Israel were living through the second intifada, and I was stuck in the United States, not knowing how I could ever make a difference.
In 2003, we named our son Noam after Noam Apter, z’l, a young hesder student and IDF soldier that was killed by terrorists at the Otniel Yeshiva on Shabbat. His dying act was to save hundreds of other students and faculty. We did so in great part to address our own helplessness. We didn’t feel we could save anyone from the horrors of the intifada, and we didn’t have money to send. So broadcasting Noam’s heroism was something small we could do.
Israeli elections are an emotional time for Jews around the world, and this year in particular the stakes seem so very high. If you are not eligible to vote in Israeli elections, you may also feel helpless. But the opposite is true.
The timing works out this year as such that Jews around the world CAN participate in Israeli democracy, CAN join the conversation and CAN vote at the same time as the Israeli elections.
American Jews have until April 30th to register and vote for a slate in the 2015 World Zionist Congress elections - essentially the parliamentary body of the World Zionist Organization conceived by Theodor Herzl in 1897.
The WZC votes on important prioritization of global Jewish issues, such as Jewish identity, Jewish education, and the assistance and rescue of Jews at risk, deciding upon the allocation of over 400 million dollars within Israel and around the world.
This vote takes place ever 4-5 years, and this time has worked out to coincide with Israeli elections. Every Jew around the world at least 18 years old is eligible to vote in this critical election that will have a vital impact on Israel and World Jewish Leadership for the next five years.
Together with the Jewish Agency, the World Zionist Organization is designated in Israeli law as the formal liaison between the Jewish Diaspora and the Israeli government. It is the official vehicle through which Jews around the world are invited to make their views known to Israel and, in a small way, make policy.
This means that you have a very real, concrete opportunity to make a stand, decide the priorities of the Jewish world, and to yes, have a real say on Israel and her future.
This may be the most proactive, involved act you can perform on Israel’s behalf this year, so do not lose your chance. To register and vote in the 2015 World Zionist Congress Elections, visit: www.myselfourisrael.com
Voting ends April 30, 2015. I encourage you to take three minutes, raise your voice for Israel, join in the conversation and help make a difference in shaping Israel’s future.
Rachel Moore is the Owner of Moore International Connections (a PR & Communications firm) and RAM Hub of Gush Etzion. She has worked in the field of Communications with Jewish non-profits in the United States and Israel for the past 20 years. Her writing has appeared in the Jerusalem Post, Times of Israel, The Forward, and more. She blogs about parenting, step-parenting, Judaism and Israel at www.ima2seven.com.