Delegates to the Zionist Congress are elected in the largest democratic exercise in the Jewish world today. Empowered by electorates in Israel and throughout the Diaspora, once at the Congress, delegates partake in another democratic process that includes voting on resolutions and constitutional amendments.
These proposals are presented to the Congress by members of and delegates from the territorial Zionist Federations, the Zionist World Unions, Israel’s political parties, international Zionist organizations, the Zionist General Council, the Zionist Executive and the Congress Presidium. Elected delegates to the Congress also vote on matters of candidature and elections to the leadership of the World Zionist Organization.
Every country with a Zionist Federation (with the exception of the United States) elects a number of delegates to the Zionist Congress determined by the Zionist Executive in consideration of the size of the country’s Jewish population, the number of olim coming from that community, the degree of local Zionist activity, and the funds raised by that community for Israel.
The United States receives a fixed number of delegates determined by the constitution of the World Zionist Organization. For many years, the American Zionist Movement has enabled online voting for elections to the Zionist Congress. Ahead of the 38th World Zionist Congress, some 125,000 ballots were cast by member of the American Zionist Movement.
Israel does not hold elections to the Zionist Congress and its representation to the Congress is determined by the representation of the Zionist political parties in the last Knesset elected prior to the Congress.
Once elected, delegates to the Zionist Congress are charged with defining which resolutions and constitutional amendments are passed, thus defining the direction of Zionist policy for the next five years.