Rothman escorted out of World Zionist Congress after anti-reform protests

The World Zionist Congress has been rocked by arguments between the right and left surrounding the judicial reform.

 MK Simcha Rothman attends a committee meeting at the Knesset, January 17, 2023. (photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)
MK Simcha Rothman attends a committee meeting at the Knesset, January 17, 2023.

Another uproar erupted at the World Zionist Congress in Jerusalem on Friday morning after Constitution Law and Justice Committee chair Simcha Rothman arrived at the International Convention Center for an event on the sidelines of the Congress.

Dozens of delegates from the center-left parties left the event and protested in front of the hall, shouting "shame!" The protestors demonstrated outside the room where Rothman was until he finally managed to get out accompanied by police officers through one of the back doors.

After the uproar, WZO Vice Chairman Dr. Yizhar Hess stated "This week, Jews from Israel and around the world stood together and made their voices heard loud and clear in defense of Israel’s democracy. We won’t sit idly by as Simcha Rothman and his allies pursue an agenda that undermines Israel’s future as the Jewish and democratic home of every Jew, everywhere, from every denomination. Despite the right’s repeated attempts to prevent it, the World Zionist Congress will vote decisively to oppose the regime change legislation, to defend the Law of Return, and promote liberal values in Israel."

Uproar at the World Zionist Congress over judicial reform

On Thursday, a commotion broke out at the Congress concerning the judicial reform after a proposal was advanced by the left-center parties in the Congress to condemn the reform. After the right-wing parties tried to block the proposal by demanding votes by name, left-center representatives shouted "Shame!" at the chairman of the World Zionist Organization, Yaakov Hagoel, a Likud member.

The uproar was forgotten after the presidency of the Congress decided to postpone the votes on the 16 resolution proposals that were on the agenda, including the proposal to condemn the judicial reform that the Right tried to block. The presidency decided to hold all the votes digitally, in a few days or weeks, and to continue with the celebratory congress for the 75th Independence Day as planned.

International Convention Center ( ICC ) in Jerusalem  (credit: MICHAEL JACOBSON / WIKIMEDIA COMMONS)International Convention Center ( ICC ) in Jerusalem (credit: MICHAEL JACOBSON / WIKIMEDIA COMMONS)

The center-left parties in the Congress are advancing a number of resolutions that may embarrass the right-wing parties in the Congress and the government, such as anchoring LGBTQ+ equality and female representation in national institutions and anchoring the status of the Declaration of Independence.

The resolutions have received the support of the representation of most Jewish organizations in the Congress, and therefore according to the assessment, they will win a majority, certainly by digital vote. In the digital votes, the proposal of the Mizrahi faction (associated with religious Zionists) to change the grandchild clause in the Law of Return will also be raised, so that there will be a total of 17 votes, but according to assessments, it will not win a majority.