JERUSALEM (Jun. 26)
A major initiative to reform the Jewish education programs of the World Zionist Organization and the Jewish Agency was defeated by one vote Monday night by leaders of the WZO.
The reform plan, which took over two years to devise, was supposed to consolidate and streamline Jewish education programs for the Diaspora run by the agency and WZO, which spend about $50 million each year in this area.
The reform also was supposed to give Diaspora fund-raising organizations, which fund the agency and WZO, a say in how the WZO runs its programs.
The 61-60 vote, which was conducted by secret ballot, took place in the Zionist General Council, the governing body of the WZO.
When the council convened last week, a firm coalition supported the plan. It included Labor Zionists, Mapam, Hadassah, the Association of Reform Zionists of America and Mercaz, the Conservative Zionist movement. Likud was adamantly against the plan, while Mizrahi, representing Orthodox Zionists, was bitterly divided.
It appears that the plan failed to pass because a handful of Reform and Conservative delegates voted against it.
They were angry with Labor for breaking its promise to introduce certain changes in the original proposal that would allocate more educational resources for Reform and Conservative needs. Labor backed down due to strong opposition from the Orthodox.