They are currently holding elections for the World Zionist Organization to form a new committee. This is an opportunity for Jews worldwide to influence and determine, for the next 5 years, the policies and spending priorities, of the almost $1 billion annual budget of Israel’s national organizations.
152 delegates will be voted in from United States based on people’s votes. These delegates will be elected to:
Decide leadership positions in key national Israel organizations
Create policy affecting, Shmiras Shabbos, Kashrus and tradition at the Kosel
Set standards of marriage, divorce and conversion
Decide policy and funding affecting Jewish education in Israel and across the world
Decide on the direction of the $5 billion budget (over 5 years)
In order to register to vote (and try to enable that much of this money can be given to mosdos that will be run under halacha and traditional mesorah) one needs to pay a small fee which goes to the World Zionist Organization.
Would one be able to use maaser money in order to register?
This would help many who would otherwise be hesitant to vote and can thus enable many to help a lot of money go the right places.
It seems that there are quite a number of gedolim that endorse (some publicly and a number of them privately) becoming a member in order to influence the outcome, because it can have a very large positive effect for torah and mitzvos in numerous ways. The cost of becoming a member is about 7 ½ dollars, (the price of a falafel), which really is an amount that we all can afford without having to come on to taking it from ma’aser money, and since it can positively help Klal Yisroel then it is something that we all should do even without using ma’aser money. Halachically though, giving to this cause would seem to be like giving tzedakah and using maser money for dvar mitzva, (a mitzva cause that is not a personal obligation, such as wearing tefillin). Essentially maser money is meant to be given to poor people or for the support of torah. There are times when one can give to a dvar mitzva from maser money.
- If the situation is such that the person would not give the money otherwise, i.e. he can’t afford it, etc. then there are opinions that the money can be used for a dvar mitzva.
- If the person specified when he started giving ma’aser that he should be able to use it for mitzvos (that are not his personal obligation), then he may also use maser money for it. (There are even opinions that this can be done prior to separating this money for ma’aser.)
- If a person is separating a fifth of his money for tzedakah, then all agree that the second tenth may be used for dvar mitzvah.
Rema Y:D 149-1, Maharam MIntz brought in Shach and Taz, Be’er Hagolah ibid, Pischei teshuva ibid -2 in the name of Chasam Sofer, Arugas Habosem Y:D 120, Minchas Yitzchok 8-82, Psakim U’teshuvos 149-30.