The 35th Zionist Congress - June 19-22, 2006



The Zionist Congress is the supreme institution of the World Zionist Organization and its highest legislative authority. Article 13 of the WZO Constitution stipulates: "An Ordinary Congress shall meet at least once in four years at a place and time determined by the Council. It shall be convened by the Executive." Notwithstanding, the Constitution allows postponement of the Congress for special reasons, and subject to a decision of the Zionist General Council upon hearing from the Executive. The decision must be passed by 75% of the members of the ZGC but can be contested in the Zionist Supreme Court.

Powers of the Congress

  • The Congress elects the Chairman of the Zionist Executive, the Treasurer, the members of the Executive, the members of the Zionist General Council and their deputies, the President of the Zionist Supreme Court, the Attorney of the World Zionist Organization and the Comptroller.

  • The Congress receives and considers the reports of the Zionist Executive and of the Institutions of the World Zionist Organization.

  • The Congress receives and decides on the report of the Comptroller.

  • The Congress considers, in its committees, proposals brought before the Congress by the Congress delegates of the Zionist General Council, the members of the Congress Presidium, the Zionist Executive and the Zionist Federations. The conclusions of the committees are put to the vote in the plenary of the Congress.

  • The Congress draws up the policy of the World Zionist Organization including the financial policy.

In the inter-Congress period many of the Congress powers are assumed by the Zionist General Council, including the authority to amend the Constitution.

Composition of the Congress

In pursuance of Article 17, Section 1 of the WZO Constitution, the number of delegates to Congress, apart from those elected on World Election Lists and those representing International Bodies, will not exceed 500. In pursuance of Section 2 of the same Article, the Zionist General Council may resolve, not later than one year before Congress meets, to increase this number by not more than 5%. In pursuance of Section 3, the number of delegates to Congress will be allocated in the following proportion: Israel 38%, United States of America 29%, other countries of the Diaspora 33%.

In the case of countries of the Diaspora, an overall number is given, but the number of delegates from each country is determined, prior to each Congress, by a special Committee, which takes into account in its decisions, inter alia, the size of the Jewish population and all the Zionist achievements in each country, such as the number of Federation members, Aliyah, Appeals and Jewish education.

(At the 34th Congress in addition to the 500 delegates there were an additional 32 delegates, with full voting rights, from the FSU according to the decision of the Zionist General Council from 2001 resolution 47.)

Membership of Organizations in the World Zionist Organization

Since the new WZO Constitution came into force in 1960, there has been no personal membership in the World Zionist Organization. Only organizations can be members. An individual Zionist can belong to the World Zionist Organization only indirectly, through one of the member organizations.

The Central Elections Board

The Chairman of the Central Elections Board and the members of the Board are appointed by the President of the Zionist Supreme Court. The Board is chaired by a judge or judge emeritus in Israel. Factions which participated in the previous Zionist Congress participate in the Board as observers.

The Area Election Committee

The Area Election Committee determines the method of elections and conduct of the elections in each area/country where there is a Zionist Federation, which is a member of the Zionist Organization.

Elections to the Congress must be held no later than three months prior to the Congress.

The Zionist World Unions

"Zionist World Union" means a Zionist organization, which represents a special ideological point of view within the World Zionist Organization, has branches in at least 5 countries and is represented by a Congress Grouping.

The Zionist World Unions are:

  • The Labor Zionist Movement

  • World Likud

  • Arzenu - The Zionist faction of the Reform Movement

  • Meretz

  • Mizrachi / Gesher / Meimad

  • MERCAZ - The Zionist faction of the Conservative Movement

  • Tnuat Hamercaz Haliberalit - Hanoar Hatzioni

  • The World Confederation of United Zionists, which in the USA is a federation of "Hadassah", the American Jewish League and Bnei Zion

  • Israel b'Aliyah

  • Herut / Mercaz Party

  • World Union Israel Beitanu, Moledet, Tekuma

The International Jewish Organizations

Since the Twenty-Eighth Zionist Congress (1972), the international Jewish organizations are represented in the Zionist Congress, provided that they accept the Jerusalem Program, even if not all their members are declared Zionist (unlike the World Unions in which every member must be a declared Zionist). These bodies have limited voting rights - they do not vote on matters of candidature and elections to the institutions of the WZO.

The International Jewish Organizations are:

  • World Emunah

  • The World Sephardi Federation

  • B'nai B'rith International

  • Maccabi World Union

  • The World Conference of Synagogues and Kehiloth (Orthodox)

  • The World Council of Synagogues (Conservative)

  • The World Union for Progressive Judaism (Reform)

The student representatives and the representatives of the Zionist Council in Israel have the same status as representatives of the international Jewish organizations.

Zionist Organizations with Special Status

There are two women's organizations which have special status in the Zionist Organization:

  • WIZO - is an international, non-party Zionist body, which receives by virtue of an agreement entered into in 1964, global representation. WIZO has full voting rights like the World Unions.

  • Hadassah - received special status by virtue of a decision of the Zionist General Council in 1994. Hadassah has full voting rights

The above mentioned bodies make up the Zionist Congress


Participants in Congress in an Advisory Capacity and Observers

In addition to the delegates with full voting rights participating in Congress, there are also participants in an advisory capacity only. These participants are entitled to participate in debates but have no voting rights.

These delegates are divided into two groups:

  1. Certain office holders, for instance members of the Executive, members of the Zionist General Council who were not elected as delegates to Congress, Chairs of the Zionist Federations, judicial office holders - the President of the Zionist Supreme Court, the Attorney, the Comptroller and representatives of the Aliyah Movement.

  2. The Executive or the Congress Presidium may invite "personalities and representatives of bodies whose presence at Congress, in the view of the Executive or the Presidium is necessary or desirable" (Regulation 7A of the Standing Orders of the Zionist Congress) as observers with no speaking or voting rights.

The Course of the Congress

The Congress is conducted by the Congress Presidium. The Congress deliberations are divided into five stages:

  1. Opening of the Congress, including a speech by the Chairman of the Executive, and other speeches determined in the agenda, election of the Congress Presidium, the report of the President of the Zionist Supreme Court on the election results, reports of the members of the Executive to complete the printed report, election of the Congress committees.

  2. Election of the new Executive, according to the proposal of the Congress Standing Committee.

  3. Meetings of the committees

  4. Reports of the committees and voting on the draft resolutions presented by them. The report of the Standing Committee and voting on its proposals for members of the Zionist General Council, the Comptroller and the Legal Institutions.

  5. Congress closing ceremony



Final Resolutions:




Towards the 35th ZC

לקראת הקונגרס הציוני הל"ד

Hacia el 35th C.Z

The aim of this document is to inform the members of the WZO, and in particular the Zionist Federations, in clear and simple language, of all the steps to be taken at the various stages of the preparations and the implementation of the elections to the 35th Zionist Congress.



These are the 27 detailed rules, in profesional legal language, governing all aspects of the election of delegates to the 35th Zionist Congress.