August 28: Celebrating 120 years since Herzl’s Zionist Congress

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 28, 2017

WITH ZIONISM UNDER ASSAULT AMERICAN JEWISH AND ISRAELI LEADERS GATHERED IN NYC TO MARK BIRTH OF THE MOVEMENT

(Monday, August 28, 2017) At a time when “Zionism” has been criticized by the alt-Right and far-Left, nearly 100 representatives of Jewish and pro-Israel organizations gathered today, under the auspices of the American Zionist Movement (AZM), to mark 120 years since the global Zionist movement was founded.  As August 29-31 is the 120th anniversary of Theodor Herzl’s convening of the First Zionist Congress in 1897 in Basel, Switzerland this event was held at the site of the official Theodor Herzl Memorial, located in Freedom Square Park in Queens.

“In recent weeks, as we have seen Zionism attacked from Richard Spencer to the Chicago March, it is important that Zionists of all backgrounds come together in our united support for the State of Israel.  That is what we did today as we marked the occasion when Herzl first brought together a broad coalition of Zionists to build the movement which would lead to the establishment of a Jewish state in our ancestral land.  Today Zionism is very much alive as we connect Jews worldwide with our homeland and as we continue to support the vibrant democracy, culture and contributions ofIsrael and the Jewish people”, said Richard D. Heideman, President, and Herbert Block, Executive Director, of AZM.

Photo credit: Maxine Dovere

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Photo credit: Maxine Dovere
(high-res available upon request)

Among the speakers were (Left to Right):

  *Galit Peleg, Israeli Consul for Public Diplomacy, Consulate General of Israel in New York
  *Herbert Block, Executive Director, American Zionist Movement
  *Dr. Esther Serok, Representative of the World Zionist Organization in North America
  *Ellen Hershkin, National President, Hadassah, The Women’s Zionist Organization of America
  *Rabbi Joseph Potasnik, Executive Vice President of the New York Board of Rabbis
 
Sarrae Crane, Executive Director of MERCAZ, served as the Chair of AZM’s Herzl in the Park program, bringing the spirit of Basel to New York.  Co-sponsors of the ceremony today with AZM were the World Zionist Organization, Consulate General of Israel in New York, Jewish Community Relations Council of New York, Queens Jewish Community Council, Queens Borough President Melinda Katz.

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The American Zionist Movement (AZM), including 25 national Jewish organizations, represents American Zionists in the World Zionist Organization and works across a broad ideological, political and religious spectrum linking the American Jewish community together in support of Israel.

 

August 17: AZM Denounces Richard Spencer Calling Himself a “White Zionist”

Press Release

August 17, 2017 –Today “alt-right” leader Richard Spencer said he is a “White Zionist” during a television interview broadcast in Israel.

In a statement by the American Zionist Movement (AZM), Richard D. Heideman, President, and Herbert Block, Executive Director, said:

“For Mr. Spencer to claim to be a Zionist is a gross perversion of what Zionism is. Zionism is a movement of unity and love which brought together the Jewish people worldwide to push for the creation of a democratic State of Israel in our ancestral homeland. The 1948 Declaration of Independence of Israel stated that the new nation, formed after decades of Zionist efforts, “will be based on freedom, justice and peace as envisaged by the prophets of Israel; it will ensure complete equality of social and political rights to all its inhabitants irrespective of religion, race or sex; it will guarantee freedom of religion, conscience, language, education and culture; it will safeguard the Holy Places of all religions”. These are the positive values which AZM and Zionists today continue to espouse and strive for, especially as this month we mark the 120th anniversary of the founding of modern Zionism when Theodor Herzl convened the Zionist Congress in August 1897 in Basel.

‘In the midst of what we have seen in Charlottesville, where the alt-right marched together with white supremacists and neo-Nazis, carrying the swastika which symbolizes the evil genocide of 6 million Jews in the Holocaust, it is a disgrace for anyone to claim a link between those hateful and racist protests and Zionism. As President Rivlin of Israel said yesterday: ‘The very idea that in our time we would see a Nazi flag – perhaps the most vicious symbol of anti-Semitism – paraded in the streets of the world’s greatest democracy, and Israel’s most cherished and greatest ally is almost beyond belief’.”

 

Contact: Herbert Block
212-318-6100 x6946

WZO BEIT HA’AM TISHA B’AV SUPPLEMENT

 

Beit Ha’am Supplement – Pray for the Wellbeing of Jerusalem (PDF)

Or online: http://beit-haam.com/mitve-kotel.pdf

 

Year of Zionist Anniversaries: Exodus Commemoration

Exodus 70 years

Exodus 70 years

70 years ago today – on July 18, 1947 – a seminal event in Zionist history occurred in the Port of Haifa, when the S.S. Exodus finally reached the shore of the land of Israel.  This ship, carrying 4,515 Holocaust survivors seeking refuge from Europe, had a harrowing week-long journey from France to bring new Jewish immigrants to Israel, then under the British Mandate for Palestine.  Along the treacherous sea voyage the boat was attacked by the British Navy and three passengers were killed and 147 injured.  After the Exodus ship arrived in Haifa its passengers were forced by the British to return to Europe in another horrible voyage.

News of the story of the S.S. Exodus reverberated throughout the world and helped turn public opinion in favor of the formation of a Jewish homeland in Israel.  It was just a few months later, on November 29, 1947 that the United Nations voted in favor of Partition, leading to the creation of the State of Israel in May 1948.  The late great journalist Ruth Gruber called the S.S. Exodus the “The Ship that Launched a Nation.”

The American Zionist Movement (AZM) is pleased to commemorate this historic S.S. Exodus anniversary, by sharing the materials below prepared by the Israel Forever Foundation (IFF), an AZM affiliate organization.  This outstanding compendium includes links to many articles, essays and photos on the S.S. Exodus, and a comprehensive “Journey to Statehood” informational booklet which can be downloaded here.

The American connection to the S.S. Exodus is significant, as it was an American vessel, originally sailing from Baltimore, which was purchased by American donors to transport refugees and its crew were American volunteers.  Today, in Haifa a memorial to the S.S. Exodus was dedicated, under the sponsorship of the Jewish American Society for Historic Preservation, in partnership with the Jewish Agency for Israel. AZM encourages all American Zionists to pause today to remember the significance of the S.S. Exodus and to share the IFF materials widely with your friends, family and colleagues.

Remember the Exodus: Support Zionism Today

 

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Shalom friends,
Seventy years ago, on July 18, 1947, outside territorial waters near the coast of British Mandate Palestine, the British navy rammed a ship carrying 4515 Holocaust survivors with dreams of returning to our ancient homeland. This ship is forever known as Exodus 1947, their story forever a part of our collective experience in our fight for freedom, independence and our Jewish State.

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DOWNLOAD YOUR FREE JOURNEY TO STATEHOOD INFORMATIONAL BOOKLET

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Exodus 1947: History in the making

The war with Germany was over, but for thousands of Holocaust survivors, the fight for survival was far from won. The Exodus 1947 left France in the morning of July 11 carrying 4,515 passengers who could never envision the fate that was about to unfold.

Read More

 

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The Exodus 1947: A global cry for Jewish justice

By Tamar Ben Tzvi

Global support for the plight of the Jews aboard the Exodus 1947 had a major influence on the Jewish connection to Israel and the move towards re-establishing an Independent State of Israel.

Read More

 

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Names, Memories And Legacies:

The Meaning Of Exodus

By Dr. Elana Yael Heideman

The value of the Exodus story isn’t in its romanticism. It is in the impact it had on Jews around the world in understanding the need for a Jewish state, the fulfillment of the ancient dream that would soon become reality.

Read More

 

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Children Of The Exodus

The lives of the children of the Exodus is aptly captured in the historical film created by UJA on their quest to trace what became of the children after they built their lives in Palestine.

Read More

 

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Teaching Exodus

It is the transmission of memory – of the human experience and the events surrounding it – that will carry the legacy of the Exodus into the future. Now is the time to connect the next generation with the story of the Exodus and its significance as a step toward statehood. Come explore our resources, testimonies, discussion questions, and art activities to bring to your community now or anytime throughout the year.

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BRING THE EXODUS EXHIBITION TO YOUR COMMUNITY

Just as we inherit the memories of the Shoah, so too, must we learn from and transmit the legacy of the Exodus as a part of their story. We must know the facts, and understand the circumstances. We must teach of the passion which drove the volunteers, passengers and fighters to endure endless struggles toward the fulfillment of our ancestral dream. We must inherit their determination and imbue tomorrow’s youth with a shared commitment toward the continuation of our nationalist vision – to protect our land, our history, our heritage, our memory, our peoplehood, our freedom in our Jewish sovereign state.

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LEARN MORE!

Exhibit it at your synagogue, community center, school, camp or library.

Now or anytime throughout the year!

Exodus 70 years

 

Donate to Support Zionism in America

 

Letter to Prime Minister Netanyahu 6/29/17

Click here to view pdf: AZM Letter to Prime Minister Netanyahu

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June 29, 2017

5 Tamuz 5777

 

H.E. Benjamin Netanyahu

Prime Minister of Israel

3 Kaplan Street

Jerusalem, Israel

 

Dear Prime Minister Netanyahu:

As you know, the American Zionist Movement (AZM) represents a broad and diverse spectrum of Zionist organizations in the United States from across the religious and political streams of the American Jewish community.  We are united in our support for Israel and the unity of the Jewish People connected to the State of Israel and Jerusalem, its capital.  In the past we have strongly rejected the statements of UNESCO and others who wrongly choose to revise history in rejecting the rights of Israel, and the Jewish people, to our ancestral homeland and in denying the Jewish connection to Jerusalem.   

We emphasize in our work that Israel has long stood for the principles of providing, assuring and protecting freedom of and access to the holy sites for peoples of all religions in Jerusalem and its Old City, whose quarters are precious and holy to the great religions of Judaism, Christianity and Islam, and the peoples of the world who share the Old City in the Jewish, Christian, Moslem, and Armenian Quarters. Indeed, for the Jewish community, the Western Wall, our “Kotel” – the holiest site remaining from our Temple, is more than a symbol, it is the centerpiece for Jewish communities throughout the diaspora and must be preserved in perpetuity and dignity for all Jewish people.

A full delegation of leadership from the American Zionist Movement and our organizations was in Jerusalem this week for meetings of the Jewish Agency for Israel.   They have shared with us their concerns as to the developments of this past week which have been elevated to near crisis level.  Indeed, we regret the decision of the Cabinet of the State of Israel on Sunday to suspend the prior agreement regarding expanded access to prayer areas at the Kotel for all denominations and practices within Judaism.  AZM is a member organization of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations and we note with support their letter on this matter which was sent to you yesterday.

In our view, Mr. Prime Minister, it is imperative that the Kotel remain a place that represents the unity of our Jewish nation and faith.  The unity of the Jewish people, in connection to the land of Israel, is a key element of the Zionist movement, since it was launched 120 years ago at the First Zionist Congress convened by Theodor Herzl.  

We believe, Mr. Prime Minister, that this is a time for leadership and unity within the Jewish community.  It is not a time for actions that lead to further divisiveness that conquers our spirit, destroys our will, and sends a message to our enemies of weakness and lack of respect for own people, who must be free to worship in their own way and in a manner respectful of others. 

Therefore, Mr. Prime Minister, we appreciate the steps you have immediately and subsequently announced to lay a path for the Government of Israel to assure freedom of prayer expression at the Kotel and expeditiously move forward on plans for greater access to worship areas for all streams of Judaism.

We stand ready to assist in addressing these issues of concern to you, the people of Israel and the Jewish people.  Our commitment is to an approach to be taken, through the unity of our wide coalition of American Zionists, so that all Jews and Zionists feel and remain connected to Israel and its capital Jerusalem as we commemorate 50 years of the reunification of Jerusalem and approach and honor the upcoming 70th anniversary of the founding of the State of Israel.

Sincerely,

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Richard D. Heideman                  Herbert Block

President                                       Executive Director

 

Zionist Membership Organizations: American Forum of Russian Speaking Jewry  •  Ameinu  •  American Zionist Youth Council  •  AMIT  •  ARZA (Association of Reform Zionists of America)  •  Aytzim  •  Bnai Zion  •  Hadassah – The Women’s Zionist Organization of America  •  Herut – N.A. •  Mercaz–Zionist Organization of Conservative Judaism •  NA’AMAT –  USA  •  Partners for Progressive Israel  •  Religious Zionists of America  •  Zionist Organization of America   Affiliated Organizations: Baltimore Zionist District  • B’nai B’rith International  •  Friends of the Israel Scouts  •  Israel Forever Foundation  •  Jewish National Fund   Zionist Youth Movements: B’nei Akiva  •  BBYO (B’nai B’rith Youth Organization)  •  Habonim – Dror  •  Hashomer Hatzair  •  NFTY (National Federation of Temple Youth) • USY (United Synagogue Youth)  •  Young Judaea

Celebrate Israel Parade NY 2017 – Photos and Video

Shimon Peres 1923 – 2016

14457474_1173735652672696_3807868112695001605_nIt is with great sadness that we mark the passing of Shimon Peres z”l.  A giant among men, Peres distinguished himself not only among his generation of Israeli heroes, but as a statesman and diplomat on the world stage.

Peres served in every major role in the Israeli government including Minister of Defense, Foreign Minister and Prime Minister. He was the recipient of a Nobel Peace Prize in 1994 in recognition of his role in the Oslo Accords.  In his last official role, as the President of the State of Israel,  Peres continued to innovate and to inspire all.

During his more than six decades of public service, his work was dedicated to the pursuit of peace and to a universal vision of justice and harmony.  His devotion to and efforts to realize the idea that Israel can truly serve as “a light unto the nations” will long remain an inspiration to Zionists, Jews, and citizens of the world.

Beit Ha’am – Israel Education Resources

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The Beit Ha’am – House of the Nation – program was developed by the Department for Diaspora Activities of the World Zionist Organization to encourage discussion on the subject of Zionist identity and attitudes to the State of Israel.

The program includes diverse traditional and modern texts on a range of subjects. Through encounter with these texts, we hope to encourage lively discussion of Zionist identity among Diaspora Jews in general, and the younger generation, in particular. The discussion will address what binds the Jewish people, wherever they may be, as well as what divides and separates us.

We will consider the meaning of Jewish political independence of the people dwelling in Zion and the reciprocal relationships between Jews living in Israel and those who live in the Diaspora. This represents an opportunity for everyone, irrespective of prior knowledge, to get to know and enhance their knowledge about the significance of Zionism in the 21st century, to engage in discussion, reflect on its substance and the extent of its relevance to our lives.

Below, you can find resources from the Beit Ha’am program. You may have to scroll down to the last page in order to find the beginning of the English booklets.

All links in purple are guides for educators and leaders.  The guides are tools to teach about Israel through different activities.

 

The establishment of the State of Israel

United Nations Vote for a Partition Plan – 1947

Why Not Uganda

 

 

The concept of Zionism

Defining Zionism Workshop

 

Israeli Leaders

Ben Gurion Leader’s Guide

Menachem Begin on Israeli issues

Yitzhak Rabin – Yitzhak Rabin and the peace process – Yitzhak Rabin Memorial Ceremony

About Leadership

 

 

About Israeli society

The Tent Cities: Israel Social Protest 2011 – PostersEducationHealthHousing

A Guide to discuss social issues in Israel

Operation Protective Edge

Identity Issues : Jewish and Zionist identity

Israeli Law: The Supreme Court, Israeli Laws

The Israeli Political System

Israeli Elections

 

Jewish Holidays

Hanukkah

Passover

Purim

Purim 2017

Rosh Hashana – The New Year

Shavuot

Tisha B’Av

Tu B’Shvat: Haggadah – Seder

Yom Ha’ Atmazut – Independence Day

Yom Ha’ Shoah – Holocaust Remembrance Day

Yom Ha’Zikaron – Memorial Day

Yom Yerushalayim – Jerusalem Day

 

 

Women in Israeli Society – FeminIsrael

Women in Israeli History

Women in Israeli Society

Arab Women in Israel

Ethiopian Women in Israel

Haredi Women in Israel

Marriage and Religion

Russian Women in Israel

Women in Israeli Society Leader’s Guide

Women in Politics

Women in the IDF

Women in the Job Market

Female Figures in Israeli History 

A Comprehensive list of Israeli female figures

Israeli Literature and Poetry

Poetry Program

Is it true, by Leah Goldberg

Beit Ha’am monthly anthologies

Month of Elul (last month of the Jewish calendar)

Month of Tishri

Beit Ha’am’s Tribute to Leonard Cohen

A Tribute to Leonard Cohen

 

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Join us at the Celebrate Israel Parade 2016

 

Please join AZM and march with us in the 2016 Celebrate Israel Parade

March with us and thousands of supporters of Israel up Fifth Avenue in NYC on Sunday, June 5, to stand up for and honor Israel.

This year’s theme is “Zionism: The Spirit of Israel”. Israel was built on the core values of Zionism and still proudly carries these values today. We are thrilled to be celebrating this beautiful country of ours during the Parade, along with other Zionists from all over the Tri-State area and other North American cities.

Please register HERE if you would like to march with us. The gathering spot, time and other details will be communicated as soon as we have them.

We hope you will join us this year for this wonderful event.

 

 

 

AZM- Herzl Beard Israel smaLL

 

In Memory of the Victims of Terror in Israel

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The American Zionist Movement mourns all the victims of terror and condemns those who perpetrate, condone or applaud such acts. In recent months people in Israel have suffered at the hands of individuals who have expressed their personal anger and outrage in the form of violence against innocent and unsuspecting victims.  These horrific events have been joined by equally unimaginable acts of terror in Europe, Africa, Lebanon and Turkey. AZM’s leadership offers it deepest condolences to the families of those mortally wounded and to the injured and maimed.  As we approach the Thanksgiving holiday, we pray for those souls who were tragically taken.  We call on the world community to condemn those who perpetrate hatred and incite violence, as we pledge to join together to restore balance and bring peace to the world.

 

 

Baruch Dayan Emet.

All victims of terror since 2000 can be found on the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs website.  Below are those murdered in the most recent series of incidents.

Alexander Levlovich Sept 13, 2015
Eitam Henkin Oct 1, 2015
Naama Henkin Oct 1, 2015
Aharon Banita-Bennett Oct 3, 2015
Nehemia Lavi​ Oct 3, 2015
Chaim Haviv Oct 13, 2015
Alon Govberg Oct 13, 2015
Yeshayahu Krishevsky Oct 13, 2015
Omri Levy Oct 18, 2015
Habtom Weldemicheal Zerhom Oct 18, 2015
Avraham Asher Hasno Oct 20, 2015
Rabbi Haim (Howie) Rothman Oct 24, 2015
Richard Lakin Oct 27, 2015
Benjamin Yakubovich Nov 8, 2015
Netanel Litman Nov 13, 2015
Ya’akov Litman Nov 13, 2015
Reuven Aviram Nov 19, 2015
Aharon Yesayev Nov 19, 2015
Yaakov Don Nov 19, 2015
Ezra Schwartz Nov 19, 2015
Shadi Arafa Nov 19, 2015
Hadar Buchris Nov 22, 2015
Ziv Mizrahi Nov 23, 2015
Ofer Ben Ari Dec 23, 2015
Reuven (Eduardo) Birmajer Dec 23, 2015
Gennady Kaufman Dec 30, 2015
Alon Bakal Jan 1, 2016
Shimon (Shimi) Ruimi Jan 1, 2016
Amin Shaaban Jan 1, 2016
Dafna Meir Jan 17, 2016
Shlomit Krigman Jan 25, 2016