Elections are still exciting times for me – I haven’t yet lost hope that a decent public representative is somewhere out there waiting to be elected. But unless you’re a political hack who reaps financial benefit if your candidate is elected, elections in Israel have become something of a cynical ritual, e.g. hold your nose and vote for the candidate that will likely disappoint you the least.
So, its always refreshing and reinvigorating to meet folks who have a history of volunteerism, who care more about the electorate and the good of the public than their ego and bank account, and who want to try and put respect back into the role of an elected official.
Two cities in Israel are lucky to have such people on their ballots: Daniel Bell and The Tapuz Party in Rehovot, and Yaacov “Fifo” Ziberstein and the Bayit Party in Ramat HaSharon. Both Daniel and Fifo are seasoned social and environmental activists and both understand that socio-economic justice is crucial for an environmentally sustainable future. The parties’ platforms are just a pleasure to read. The Bayit Party already has a five year record to back up their stated principles (Tapuz is running for the first time this fall).
In Ramat HaSharon, the Bayit Party has been working for the past five years to make Ramat HaSharon a model of urban sustainability. With two representatives on city council, the party has been committed to clean government, transparent decision making, public involvement, quality education, and – of course – environmental quality.
The Tapuz party is new on the political scene in Rehovot. Daniel Bell (not only a smart, serious and principled guy – but a real mensch) and a list of professionals, social activists, environmentalists and plain good people offer a promising and hopeful alternative to the stagnent, old guard in the Rehovot municipality. Once again, the predominant themes are clean and transparent governance, environmental quality, public representation in government and education. A nice write-up in the local (Hebrew) press here.
Local voters in Ramat HaSharon and Rehovot – if you care about your cities – these parties will represent your interests like no others! Now back to agonizing over my choices in Haifa…