Last night approximately 2000 supporters of the Israel Green Movement-Meimad (תנועה הירוקה-מימד) converged on the Convention Center in Ramat Aviv to kick off the party’s election campaign (had I been there, it would have been 2001). Two Green Movement-Meimad colleagues were there and sent this in:
Green Movement-Meimad supporter Arieh O’Sullivan had this to say:
The buzz could be felt in the hallways of the Tel Aviv Fair Grounds. When you walked into the auditorium, dubbed “Purple Prime, the atmosphere became electric as over 1,200 supporters [2000 according to press coverage] of the Israel Green Movement – Meimad gathered to kick off election campaign.
The eclectic make up of the supporters was highly evident, with shaggy-haired men toting drums comfortably sharing the hall with observant Jews and high-fiving secular folks. Also evident were Arab women wearing traditional headscarves making it probably the only party where Arabs and orthodox Jews feel equally at home.
The crowd circled the main stage where the Green Movement – Meimad leadership gathered to present themselves. Center stage was a band made up of the leadership of the movement.
Cheers went up when IGM founder Eran Ben Yemini grabbed the microphone and began a dramatic and engaging speech. The rambunctious crowd repeatedly punctured Ben Yemini’s speech with applause. This trend would repeat itself as the movement presented the activists running for Knesset seats.
Alon Tal, who played saxophone earlier, told the crowd of his beginnings in North Carolina and his commitment to the environment.
By the time MK Rabbi Michael Melchior took the stage, the audience had been warmed up. There was no need because Melchior’s powerful oratory skills soon had everyone virtually on their feet ready to hit the streets to canvass voters.
Marie Orian – who will be joining us on the IGM English blog – adds this:
It was really a ‘different’ kind of political rally. One that left the convention hall with a practically spotless floor and trash free countertops, despite the attendance of over 1,200 supporters – (and I’ve seen what that place usually looks like after an event).
There was a warm and personal atmosphere throughout, and the rally formally ended with a heartfelt chorus of HaTikva, to signify the real hope we all share. Enthusiastic chatting sessions took place both before and after the main event in the auditorium. People were so courteous, and truly interested in listening to each other.
At the end, as the diverse crowd poured out of the convention hall, they all uttered the same words – “metzuyan” and “fantastic”! We have a lot of work to do to attain our goals, but I’m really jazzed about the possibility of making it a reality, as I know everyone else who attended must be.
The event was covered well by the Hebrew media, who portrayed a story of hope and idealism and refusal to reduce Israel’s public policy to only military issues. “I know the political system very well,” Melchior told the audience, “and the day after the elections everyone runs for a place in the Security and Foreign Affairs Committee… We will run for a place in the Education Committee, the Social Welfare Committee and the Environment Committee. And there we will be your representatives!”