Mercaz – Masorti for Israel
What is Mercaz?
Mercaz is the Zionist arm of the worldwide Masorti movement. Our aim is to defend religious pluralism, democratic values and minority rights in Israel. We also work to secure vital funding for Masorti Judaism’s educational work in Israel and around the world – including here in the UK.
Why does Mercaz matter?
Israel has always been central to Masorti Jewish life. However, as the modern State of Israel developed, the Israeli government refused to recognise Masorti Judaism. As a result Masorti rabbis in Israel cannot conduct weddings or funerals and, while Orthodox Judaism is funded by the state, Masorti communities receive no public money. In the past year, the government has gone back on its promise to create an egalitarian prayer space at the Kotel, and a Masorti rabbi was arrested for carrying out unauthorised marriage ceremonies.
Mercaz was founded to bring together Masorti Jews from all over the world and to give us a voice with the Israeli government. Mercaz is also committed to bringing Masorti Jews in the Diaspora closer to Israel by supporting educational programmes for young people on Zionism, Israeli society and Hebrew.
What can you do?
Mercaz represents the interests of Masorti Judaism in the World Zionist Organization, a quasi-parliamentary body representing Jews from all over the world. The WZO provides crucial funding for Jewish education all over the world and, since the Israeli government only funds Orthodox institutions, it’s the only source of support for Masorti synagogues, schools, youth programs and teachers.
Members of Mercaz are entitled to vote in elections to the World Zionist Congress – the international Jewish parliament. Elections will be held in early 2020. Growing our membership and turning out the vote means we elect more delegates, get more funds for our communities, and strengthen the voice of Masorti Judaism in Israel and across the world.
How much does membership cost?
The membership fee for Mercaz is £4 per year (free for students/unwaged). When you join Mercaz, you indicate your agreement to the principles of the Jerusalem Programme, the official platform of the Zionist movement.
The Jerusalem Programme
“Zionism, the national liberation movement of the Jewish people, brought about the establishment of the State of Israel, and views a Jewish, Zionist, democratic and secure State of Israel to be the expression of the common responsibility of the Jewish people for its continuity and future.
The foundations of Zionism are:
- The unity of the Jewish people, its bond to its historic homeland Eretz Yisrael, and the centrality of the State of Israel and Jerusalem, its capital, in the life of the nation;
- Aliyah to Israel from all countries and the effective integration of all immigrants into Israeli society.
- Strengthening Israel as a Jewish, Zionist and democratic state and shaping it as an exemplary society with a unique moral and spiritual character, marked by mutual respect for the multi-faceted Jewish people, rooted in the vision of the prophets, striving for peace and contributing to the betterment of the world.
- Ensuring the future and the distinctiveness of the Jewish people by furthering Jewish, Hebrew and Zionist education, fostering spiritual and cultural values and teaching Hebrew as the national language;
- Nurturing mutual Jewish responsibility, defending the rights of Jews as individuals and as a nation, representing the national Zionist interests of the Jewish people, and struggling against all manifestations of anti-Semitism;
- Settling the country as an expression of practical Zionism.”