World Zionist Congress: Thoughts from a Delegate

Rabbi Gerald Skolnik writing in The Jewish Week:

World Zionist Congress: There Has to be a Better Way

I am in Jerusalem, having just attended the 36th World Zionist Congress as a delegate of MERCAZ, the Zionist arm of the Conservative movement. Now that the Congress is, mercifully, over, I can safely say that if one really cares about Israel and loves her for all the right reasons, attending a Zionist Congress is just about the worst prescription you could write for your Zionist health, especially in these precarious times for Zionism around the world.

Now throw in the ever-present, just-beneath-the-surface animosity that all too often defines the relationships between the various religious denominations in America, and, of course, the not-always-beneath-the-surface seething animosity that characterizes religious-ultra religious-non-religious relations in Israel, and maybe you begin to get the idea of just how nasty this kind of congress can be. It is all well and good to think nostalgically of Herzl in Basel at the first Zionist Congress, but that was then, and this is now. Not the same.