Jewish Students. Global Issues
WUJS Congress 2012 took place from December 30th to January 4th in Jerusalem. The congress included lectures, forums and focus groups on different issues affecting Jewish students and the world around them. Guest speakers included Vice Prime Minister Moshe Ya’alon, Lead Palestinian Negotiator Saeb Erekat and Egyptian Activist Maikel Nabil.
The election for our new Chairperson was held at the end of the General Meeting. During this session the leaders heard a range of annual updates from outgoing Chair Oliver Worth. After approving the Chair’s report and financial statements a number of constitutional amendments were voted upon and the expansion of the Union was debated.
The Republic of Macedonia was ratified as the 45th full member union and the Delegation of Jewish American Students, an elected body of U.S students from a range of organizations, was voted to hold Ordinary Member Organization status by an overwhelming majority. This was followed by the rejection of both Bnei Akiva Worldwide and Hillel Canada in what were close votes after passionate speeches both for and against.
Soon after these votes a statement was read out by the Steering Committee that Liron Politzer, the National Union of Israeli Students’ candidate, was pulling out of the race. This left one candidate, Chaya Esther Pomeranz, in the running. Chaya Esther presented her platform to the meeting and took a number of questions from the floor before the steering announced the vote. The dynamic of the race changed once Liron pulled out, with Chaya then requiring a two thirds majority rather than a simple majority to be elected Chairperson.
Each country took their turn to place their voting cards in the ballot box. Countries are given a differing amount of cards based on Jewish population and some chose not to place all their votes into the box.
Once the vote was counted it was announced that Chaya Esther had failed to secure a two thirds majority over the option to Re-Open Nominations and therefore was not elected WUJS Chairperson.
The Executive Committees, consisting of the heads of the unions of U.K. and Ireland, South Africa, Australasia, Israel, France and the European Union held an emergency meeting and decided to co-opt Oliver Worth to remain as Chairperson of WUJS until a suitable date can be set for another election.
The WUJS team are disappointed that neither candidate secured a solid majority. Both candidates were well within their rights to act the way they did and both adhered both to Constitution of the Union and to the rules set by the steering committee. It is a shame that neither candidate secured a solid mandate but as it is important that the Chairman is the international ambassador to Jewish Students it is felt that is better not to elect a Chairman at the present than elect a candidate that does not enjoy the full backing of a significant majority of the Unions.