ZFA passes resolution on religious pluralism in Israel


October 11, 2013

On October 8, after much discussion, the Zionist Federation of Australia passed the following resolution at its Executive Meeting, at which affiliates across Australia were present.

“We believe that Israel’s Declaration of Independence is an inspirational document that describes the aspirations and hopes of a democratic and inclusive people.  Further, we believe that there is still work to be done in implementing those aspirations and hopes.

 In that spirit and recognising that Jewish practice has many forms of expression including multiple streams of Orthodoxy, Progressive (Reform) and Conservative (Masorti), The Zionist Federation of Australia respectfully requests the Government of Israel to move as quickly as is practicable to provide full recognition and equitable support for all streams of Jewish practice.”

The Zionist Federation of Australia (ZFA) is the national roof body of all Zionist organisations and activity in this country. ZFA affiliates span the breadth of political and religious streams, as well as organisations dedicated to fundraising for Israel, engagement with youth, women’s groups and cultural and sporting organisations.

ZFA president Philip Chester said:

“The Zionist Federation of Australia as the representative of the World Zionist Organisation (WZO) encompasses Zionists from all Jewish religious streams and the full spectrum of Zionist political thought. We are intensely proud of our well-deserved international reputation as a strongly Zionist community and of the breadth and depth of Zionist affiliation and activity in Australia. This resolution is consistent with our broad representative role.”

Steve Denenberg, who proposed the resolution said:

“ARZA is delighted by the support of the ZFA and its membership for this resolution. We are delighted that Australia is taking the lead in calling for Israel to truly become the home for all Jews, and acknowledging that there are many, equally authentic, ways of expressing our Judaism.”

Editor note : ARZA –

For more information please contact Executive Director, Ginette Searle at gsearle@zfa.com.au or 9272 5644.



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One comment

  1. These matters are not as straight forward, as simple as they seem, particularly given the perfunctory argumentation offered by ZFA.
    I do not expect a complex essay on the issues involved, but, at least, a preamble justifying the simple NEED for ZFA to intercede with the Jewish State implicitely with all its suitable institutions to deal with the matters revealed by this regretable ZFA Statement. A “philosophical” introduction cum justification for a surprinsingly short and striking statement is more than necessary, it is the decent thing to do !!.
    Luckily we have these fantastic medium, this site, for example, where necessary discussions can be aired.

    Here is my position.

    ZFA have transgressed their status and indeed decency in the manner Israel should be addressed.

    – at this juncture, Israeli society has arrived at a structural and functional complexity and sophistication – a term many use, yet I only reluctantly entertain – which reveals levels of observance tolerance organically intergated. Organic here implies that it is within the essential ethics of Judaism NOT to stave off varied ways of genuine loyalty to its fundamentals. There is a small caveat here which reffers to idiosyncratic responses non-definitory of the larger acceptance of Judaism. Extreme reactions are accepted precisely because “extreme” cannot be definitory of a larger entity. I shall not expatiate here on the minute controvertial matters.
    I will insist that those objecting – most definitely here ZFA is on notice – to the manner in which Israel functions today are either ignorant of the facts on the ground or they are subordinate to those dedicated for a long time to deface, undermine and compromise the solid Judaic edifice all Jews need to rely on.
    It is not at all surprising that ARZA are so ostensively behind ZFA’s thoughtless interference with Israel’s functional institution, its ethical essence.

    ARZA have been known for constantly criticising Israel and suporting movements aimed at usurping the mere function of religious strands above their level of observance. ZFA are simply suporting an ideology unhelpful to the necessary continuity of Jewish identity, the very fundamentals of the Jewish State.