The Zionist Congress is four months away yet we know that as of now there is a marked diminution of registration in the US. Despite this, the organizers are calling it a SUCCESS.
As I wrote four years ago in an op-ed, the whole election process is a waste of money, manpower and only underlines the fact that the ZIONIST MOVEMENT is no longer the maqnet that it was 40 or 50 years ago.
The dream of Zionism is alive and well, albeit under attack.The Institutions that lead ORGANIZED ZIONISM however,especially in the US consist of the same cast of characters in leadership positions who provide little exciting or fresh to the movement.In a country with 5 or 6 million Jews,the fact that you can only register 80-100,000 after a costly campaign proves that there is something wrong.And then again, history tells us that only 60-70 % of those registered will vote.We will await March 7 when the results are released.
For example charging $7 to register with ss number (even if only a partial) is a turnoff for many.
The real Zionists have made aliyah.
We also live in an era where individuals do not like to be labelled by ideology.I can love Israel, the State and the people,visit, support it politically and financially but refrain from any desire to join a ZIONIST ORGANIZATION.
Indeed, many Rabbis of all streams rally their congregants to vote in the Zionist elections for one reason only-to obtain more money for their streams.
There are too many parties competing in this election,and aside from allocation of funds we are left with the classic fight over PLURALISM.
Why for example do the Reorm or Conservative movements need special Zionist arms when in reality they use the same base as their synagogue -temple movements.Remember the Reform movement was initially anti-zionist.
The answer of course has notrhing to do with zionism,but funding for their organizations programs ,and a desire to weaken the Chief Rabbinate.
This battle is never-ending and in my opinion does not excite anyone in American Jewry other than the organized leadership.
In the Orthodox camp, its time for the Religious Zionists of America to call it a day and allow the Orthodox Union a vibrant Synagogue organization be designated as the official Zionist organization in the US. Indeed they are ZIONISTS and best represent American Orthodoxy.
The RZA had a wonderful history but its membership has aged and thinned out.It has been negatively affected the the decline of the Religiuous Zionist parties in Israel.
The RZA has no professional leadership at present, few members,questionable effective independent programs and no hope for real growth under present conditions.