27 Iyar, 5760
Jewish Chairman Sharply Attacked
Beilin's Repeated Assaults on National Institutions
Chairman of the Jewish Agency Sallai Meridor sharply attacked Minister of Justice, Yossi Beilin's repeated attacks against the national institutions: "There is no more just movement than the Zionist movement, a movement that established a state for a people that went through the greatest trauma in human history. The attacks against Zionism and the National Institutions is tantamount to spitting into the well of the Jewish people." Meridor spoke at the first Israeli Zionist Congress, which took place in Jerusalem, with the participation of some 1,100 Israeli delegates.
"The attackers are marginal," added Meridor: "Beilinists, post-Zionists, people exhausted by the continuous struggle to protect Jewish sovereignty as if their bodies are in Israel but their souls are in modern Babylon."
"It is important to emphasize that the attackers are a tiny minority of Israeli society. The majority bear aloft the banner of Zionism and love for the land such as the youth that volunteer for elite units in the Israel Defense Forces to defend the homeland. This tiny minority, however, that attacks Zionism, does unforgivable things. They are comparable to people sitting in a boat who drill a hole in it, and who yell that the boat is drowning. Some of them have a sense of guilt, as if Zionism was born in sin. We must free ourselves of ennui and alienation, from spitting into the Jewish well. We must march forward with justice, in order to lead the Zionist movement from success to victory," said Meridor.
JAFI's chairman emphasized that the response of Zionism to such attacks is continued aliyah and the continued Jewish character of the state, while preserving its democratic values: "This is the only way to cope with the demographic danger, whereby 80% of the Israeli population is Jewish today, with the forecast for the year 2020, if aliyah is moderate, no more than 73%." He emphasized that we must strengthen the Arab population through affirmative action, without damaging the Jewish character of the state.
Meridor summarized his remarks: "We will let the voices of the minority make noise, but the Zionist caravan, which includes the vast majority of the people, will go from success to victory."
More than 1,100 delegates took part in the first Israeli Zionist Congress that took place at the Binyanei Haooma International Convention Center in Jerusalem, including representatives of youth movements, members of Knesset, academics, and representatives of the Druse community.
The congress was initiated by the Zionist Council in Israel, in order to examine the goals of Zionism today, and to adapt them to current Jewish and Israeli reality. Speakers included Chief of Staff, Shaul Mofaz, ministers, members of Knesset, academics, mayors, members of the Jewish Agency Executive, rabbis and school principals.
A survey conducted by the Zionist Council in Israel before the opening of the Congress revealed that 81.4 percent of Israelis sees themselves as Zionists. Of these 49% identity themselves as very Zionist. This contrasts with the 17% who do not regard themselves as Zionist. Two percent of the Israelis have no opinion.
For further information contact: Michael Jankelowitz
Liaison to Foreign Press and Media, JAFI