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Zionist Congress: What is the Zionist Congress?

The Zionist Congress is the supreme institution and legislature of the World Zionist Organization (WZO).

The congress meets once every four years and formulates policy and elects and oversees the WZO's institutions. It has approximately 600 delegates, of which 38 percent are Israeli, 29 percent American and 33 percent from the rest of the world. Since 1951, delegates have been chosen by means of country-wide agreements. The Israeli delegation is also not elected directly, rather it is appointed according to the relative number of each Zionist party's Knesset members.

The Zionist Congress elects the Executive, which runs WZO affairs in Israel and in the Diaspora, and the Zionist General Council, which meets once a year and to which the Executive is subordinate.

The WZO was founded at the First Zionist Congress (1897) as part of the first approved Zionist program, known as the Basle Program.

Since the establishment of the State of Israel in 1948, the Zionist Congresses are now held in Jerusalem and the bulk of the deliberations revolve around Israel-Diaspora relations, the centrality of Israel for the Jewish people and immigration to Israel as a Zionist obligation.

Sources: Israeli Foreign Ministry