Below is a personal message from Professor Alon Tal of Ben Gurion University (and of the Keren Kayemeth L’Israel, and of the Arava Institute for Environmental Studies, and author of the History of Environment in Israel, and… #3 on the Israel Green Movement-Meimad list for Knesset). Read for inspiration why – now more than ever – Israel needs a political party that is forward thinking and works in the interest of all of its citizens. Comments are welcomed.
I am writing to you despite these trying days during the military operation in Gaza — in a political context. As the elections approach, I believe we need to begin to start thinking about “the day after” and what kind of a country we want to have in the land of Israel. I am running for Knesset as part of the Green Movement- Meimad and would like you to consider supporting our party.
On a personal level, for 25 years I have been involved in environmental protection – initially as founder of Adam Teva V’din, the Israel Union for Environmental Defense and in the subsequent years in a variety of other public interest and academic ventures. We have indeed made progress and the environmental community can justifiably point to several achievements. And yet, we continue to address “symptoms” and miss the heart of the problem. If we assess the situation according to results, then I believe it amounts to: “Too little; Too late”.
I see how the present environmental crisis in Israel continues to grow more severe. Children continue to be chronically ill from air pollution, our water resources are contaminated, coral reefs are disappearing in Eilat, and glorious landscapes are paved over and erased forever. The frustration is considerable when one considers the improved ecological reality in other countries while we have seen an exacerbation of conditions. I believe that as a member of Knesset, I will be able to change these trends and help extricate Israel from this environmental crisis.
On an ideological level, The Green Movement- Meimad believes that we have a moral obligation as a party to act to return the harmony between the Land of Israel and its residents. We cannot stand paralyzed when irreversible ecological damage takes place, especially when we know that it is possible to leave our children with a healthier country. Also in the social real: after years of government evading responsibility for the weaker sectors of Israeli society, we find ourselves in the midst of a severe social crisis that threatens the solidarity of the country itself. It is impossible to complacently accept life in the state of Israel, even if it was clean of environmental hazards, when hundreds of thousands of children are living with nutritional insecurity and the percentage of children living under the poverty line is the highest in the Western world. At the same time, it is impossible to live in a country with equal opportunities for its citizens if they ruin the natural resources of the future. As a member of Knesset I will work to change the reality in both spheres. I invite you to peruse our web-site with its many position papers, clips and English materials.
On a practical level, the list of candidates that are running on behalf of The Green Movement-Meimad is impressive indeed. MK Rabbi Michael Melchior has immerged as the most effective parliamentarian in the social/environmental realm of the past decade – acting as head of the environmental lobby in the Knesset for eight years now. My good friend, Eran Ben Yemini is the founder of the Green Course, the largest student organization in Israel and is probably Israel’s leading environmental activist. I have been elected as the third candidate on our list. My years as a legal and policy expert as well as an environmental advocate and researcher have prepared me well to be a Member of Knesset. At the end of the day, we know what needs to be done, and are ready to start tomorrow morning.
The elections are on their way. The polls predict a swelling of support among the Israeli public. But it is extremely hard to run a campaign in the shadow of the security situation in the south. Most of our efforts for the present are grass roots: personal appeals and references by citizens to their friends.
I would be very grateful if you consider supporting us – of course you are welcome to join the party — but most important, please pass on this note to friends with the recommendation to go onto our web-site. Then form your own impressions from our message. I am truly hopeful that you will agree that we stand to emerge as the new, party of hope of Israel with our vision of a just and healthier Jewish state.
This coming Sunday at 18:30 in the evening, at the Tel Aviv Exhibition Center (next to the university train station) we are convening our kick off campaign rally. There will be speeches and music and a lot of positive energy. It will surely be the largest “green” political rally in Israel’s history. Mostly I believe there will a great deal of hope. I would love to see you in attendance. Don’t hesitate to contact me if you have any questions.
Professor Alon Tal
For more from Alon, watch the interview below.