Category Archives: Municipal elections

The IGM congratulates our friends who ran in municipal elections – off to a great start!

"City for All" now appearing in Tel Aviv City Hall

City for All: Now appearing in the Tel Aviv City Council

Dov Khenin is not the new mayor of Tel Aviv. However, his party – “City for All” (עיר לכולנו) will now be the strongest opposition bloc in the Tel Aviv Municipality in years. “City for All” received more than 20,000 votes to give them 5 seats in the city council. Dov, meanwhile, won 34% of the vote for mayor – totalling more than 46,000 votes. The Israel Green Movement looks forward to working with “City for All” to improve housing, education, political ethics and environment in Tel Aviv.

Avi Dabush - Our man in Ashkelon

Avi Dabush - Our man in Ashkelon

Meanwhile, in Ashkelon, the coalition of new immigrants from the former Soviet Union and IGM’s Avi Dabush brought in 2,300 votes – enough to put a party member into city council. Dabush and his colleagues ran an aggressive five-week campaign not only promoting their party, but collecting more than 1000 objections to the proposed new coal-fired power plant in Ashkelon at the same time.

"Barkat's Environmentalist" - Nomi Tzur (on the left)

Nomi Tzur (as featured in the Jerusalem Report a couple years ago, pictured on left)

In Jerusalem, the IGM supported party Yerushalmim, headed by Rachel Azaria who teamed with a second party (Hitorerut), won two seats in the city council. Moreover, environmental activist-icon Nomi Tzur – who was running on the number 3 spot of newly elected mayor Nir Barkat’s list – won a seat in the council as well. The Jerusalem Post reports on “Barkat’s top environmentalist” here. We look forward to the tremendous Green potential in Jerusalem!

In Rehovot, Daniel Bell’s Tapuz party unfortunately did not pass the threshold to get into city council, although it garnered more than 1000 votes in the city. True to form, Daniel and his colleagues have pledged to continue growing their grassroots movement, with the goal of assuring quality of life, education, environment and clean government in Rehovot.

Now – all eyes on the Knesset.

IGM elections and a visit from Danny the Red

Activist, Politician, Green

Daniel Cohn-Bendit: Activist, Politician, Green

Two important events in the next two weeks.

Tomorrow, 1 November at 17:30 in Tel Aviv, Daniel Cohn-Bendit (“Danny the Red”) will speak at the “Khalalit” Gallery, 70 Yarkon Street.  Bendit is a founder of the French Green Party and co-president of the group European Greens–European Free Alliance in the European Parliament.  Bendit will speak along with “City For All” candidate for Mayor of Tel Aviv, Dov Khenin about today’s most pressing environmental problems, politics and economics, globalization and the environment and more.  Israel Green Movement chairperson Eran Ben Yemini will moderate the discussion.

In two weeks, members of the Israel Green Movement will meet and decide on the future of the movement in light of the upcoming national elections.  They will also elect the official representatives of the movement.  The meeting is for members of the movement only – so join now and make a difference!  Join by downloading a membership form here.  Meeting details will be provided upon joining.

Some green political news from Israel

A couple quick links from the recent press in Israel.

Rachel Azaria – running for Jerusalem city council with the Hitorerut-Yerushalmim party – explains in a Ha’aretz Op-Ed why the winner of the race for mayor of Jerusalem will need a social-environmental party in city council to “keep him honest.”  She writes that in the context of two candidates with narrow political agendas:

“the second ballot – for city council – in the municipal election becomes all the more crucial, offering residents the opportunity to vote not solely on the basis of religious leanings, but according to the agenda presented by the various lists and the quality of the people running on those lists. Whoever becomes mayor will need to assemble a coalition, and voting for a list that reflects one’s values and concerns should help to guarantee that someone is keeping an eye on his actions and influencing policy.”

For the full op-ed, click here.

In other news, the Alon Tal gives a sneak peak to the Jerusalem Post of what’s going on in the Israel Green Movement, from running candidates in municipal election to the proclamation of a new political party at the national level.

“According to Tal, there are five elements that must characterize any green party:

• Transparency
• democratic norms
• professionalism
• a broad agenda, rather than a niche one
• leaders with proven records”

Indeed!  For the full article, click here.

The endorsement is in: Dov Khenin and “City for All” for the Tel Aviv Municipal Elections

"City for All" for Tel Aviv Municipal Elections

"City for All" for Tel Aviv Municipal Elections

It should come as no surprise that the Green Israel Movement is endorsing Dov Khenin and his party, City for All (עיר לכולנו) for the Tel Aviv Municipal elections.  Khenin’s social-environmental record – as a citizen and as a parliamentarian – is phenomenal.  A lawyer by profession, Khenin served as director of “Life and Environment,” the umbrella organization representing all of Israel’s environmental groups.  Soon after he was elected to Knesset with the Hadash party, he established a solid reputation as a successful legislator.  Along with Rabbi Michael Melchior, he also turned the Knesset Social-Environmental Lobby into a prominant voice for social justice and the environment within the legislative body.  City for All is committed to democratic representation in city council, and has detailed work plans for improving education, housing and transportation for all of Tel Aviv’s citizens.
Dov Khenin for Mayor of Tel Aviv

Dov Khenin for Mayor of Tel Aviv

In their endorsement of Don Khenin and City for All, Green Movement leaders Alon Tal and Eran Ben-Yemini write, “There is nothing more natural and obvious for us than to join in support of City for All and Dov Khenin in their campaign for the municipality of Tel Aviv… City for All offers a concrete guarantee for a different kind of politics: democratic, transparent, equal and progressive.  A party that will give real representation to diverse sectors and groups.  A party that will advance the issues that are of central importance to the city’s residents.”  For complete [Hebrew] details, visit their website here.

Jerusalem municipal elections – now featuring a social-environmental choice!

“Wake Up Jerusalemites!” or Hitoreru Yerushalmim is the social-environmental choice for the municipal elections in Jerusalem.  The party represents the merger of two progressive movements, bringing together two parties intent on changing the face of Jerusalem and reversing the trends of social and economic decline in the city.  Yerushalmim is a party of secular and religious Jews, headed by Rachel Azaria Fraenkel, committed to public participation in city planning, decreasing the amount of empty “second-home” apartments in the capital, equitable division of resources to all of the city’s schools, beautifying the city and investing in parks and public spaces, developing tourist infrastructure and assisting small businesses, attracting high-tech companies to the city, and improving public transport infrastructure and walking/biking paths.  Hitorerut shares a similar platform and adds the energy of a young Jerusalemites to the list.  For more on the parties (which, again, are now united) see the websites for Yerushalmim and Hitorerut.  For coverage of Yerushalmim in the Jerusalem Post, see here.  And, make sure you VOTE on 11 November!

More green hope – now in Ashkelon

Dabush has worked for years to prevent the construction of a third coal-fire plant in Ashkelon

Dabush has worked for years to prevent the construction of a third coal-fire plant in Ashkelon

Residents of Ashkelon have a great reason to go to the polls in the coming municipal elections: Avi Dabush.  Dabush – a native of Ashkelon – has such an impressive list of accomplishments, its hard to summarize properly.  And true to form of those involved in the Israel Green Movement, his accomplishments span from enacting progressive economic programs to preventing the expansion of coal power to setting up a school for children with Autism.  Dabush completed his undergraduate education at Ben Gurion University, and holds a graduate degree in organizational sociology.  He coordinates organizational support for environmental NGOs with the social justice organization “Shaltiel.”  He shares his views in a regular column on the YNET website (his latest – in Hebrew – on the politics of placing cell phone relay stations in residential areas is here).  He is running for city council on a ticket that combines new immigrants and native residents, social and environmental activists, young and senior residents.  Dabush is number two on the list led by current city council member Yuri Zamoshchik.  Here’s hoping for Ashkelon becoming a light of social, economic and environmental progress!

Green hope in the Israeli municipal elections

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…