Category Archives: Who is the IGM?

Meet Racheli Tidhar-Caner, co-chair of the Israel Green Movement

 

Racheli Tidhar-Caner was recently voted co-chair of the Israel Green Movement, alongside co-chair Alon Tal.

Co-Chairperson Racheli Tidhar-Caner

For those in the environmental movement, Racheli is a familiar face. Not only is she a founding member of the Israel Green Movement, she has participated (and led) many of Israel’s most prominent environmental campaigns. Chief among them are the campaigns to improve public transportation, protect Red Sea coral reefs from fish farms, preserve the Jerusalem Forests, improve air quality in Haifa Bay, protect the Nitzanim coast from development, and prevent construction of new coal-fired energy plants. Further, she has been active in promoting legislation in Knesset for recycling, clean air and coastline protection. Racheli volunteered, worked and was a member of the governing council of the student environmental organization, Green Course.

Racheli is trained as strategic advisor for social and environmental change, working with a broad variety of social and environmental organizations. She serves as chairwoman of Re’em Association, a volunteer organization advocating for anthroposophic (Waldorf) education in Rehovot, and is a project manager for the Shatil environmental justice program. She has consulted for women’s rights, educational, and accessibility organizations, and assists communities to increase public participation in local government. Her latest writing on strengthening the role of women in politics (in Hebrew) is available here.

Racheli holds a dual bachelor’s degree in geography and Hebrew literature from Ben Gurion University of the Negev and a Master’s degree in organizational behavior from the New York Polytechnic University (Israel branch). She is a graduate of the Arava Institute for Environmental Studies and was a member of the Moshav Movement’s Garin Oded. She is married to Niv, and mother to Ayelet, Neta and Omri.

Green Movement – the Next Generation

If you weren’t among the 180 party members voting on the new leadership list last week… Or if you haven’t been following the drama around the appointment of Israel’s new Chief of Staff… Or if you are unaware that there is – for the first time – a party in Israel that guarantees equal representation of men and women… Then you are not following the most optimistic signs of life in an otherwise dismal political scene in Israel.

Green Movement Members Vote

First and foremost, party members meeting last week approved a policy that the Israel Green Movement will be led by one female and one male leader.  The model, introduced by the German Green Party and approved overwhelmingly by the party membership, aims to facilitate the advancement of women into the political system.  The Green Movement doesn’t just talk about equal representation, we act.

The new leadership will be led by long-time Green Movement activist and leader Racheli Tidhar-Caner, alongside Professor Alon Tal.  The leadership team is rounded out with party founder Eran Ben Yemini, Professor and Tel Aviv city councilman Noah Efron, executive director of the Israel Energy Forum Yael Cohen-ParanAvi Dabush (Coordinator of Shatil’s Environmental Justice program), Sagit Porat (Paths To Sustainability Coalition Coordinator), Ahmed Amrani (Director General of the Office of the Mayor of Rahat), and Dr. Sarit Oked (community and environmental activist in Arad).

The movement meeting followed closely behind the decision of the Israeli government to retract the appointment of Major General Yoav Galant to the post of Chief of Staff.  Their decision was a direct result of the Green Movement petition to the Supreme Court questioning the ethical behavior of Galant and the faulty process by which he was vetted for the position.

Chairperson Alon Tal

Chairperson Racheli Tidhar-Kaner

And…. We’re back! With a guest summer blogger!

The IGM's summer blogger: Annabelle Eliashiv

The IGM's summer blogger: Annabelle Eliashiv

The Unofficial English-language blog of the Israel Green Movement is proud to be powering up the blog – just in time for its 3 July primaries.  Our guest blogger is Annabelle Eliashiv – undergraduate in political science at the University of Michigan and summer intern with the Israel Green Movement and the Israel Energy Forum.

She has already written three blog entries – condensed into one here below – reflecting her arrival in Israel and initial appraisal of the Israeli environmental scene.  We welcome Annabelle and thank her in advance for breathing life back into the IGM English language blog.  And now over to her:

Landing in Israel: Off the plane and into the local climate change debates

At the very start of summer, I landed in Israel. I anticipated Tel Aviv’s notorious weather to hit me immediately. But as the week passed, and I became more involved and aware of Israel’s environmental issues at hand, something stronger than the high eighties and 75-percent humidity grabbed my attention.

My first day, I attended a meeting that threw me right into the environmental debates and controversies in Israel. Throughout that week, I listened to and researched the status of environmental topics I had heard about in that meeting. Later in the week I had an opportunity to hear a report hosted by the Danish embassy “Rising Temperatures, Rising Climates.” It was particularly interesting to see and hear three organized presentations on Israel’s role in global warming and the water crisis. However, what I dare say was more interesting than the way global warming is anticipated to affect the Middle Eastern conflict, was listening to the comments after the report.

Danish embassy sponsors "rising temperatures, rising climate" conference in Israel

Danish embassy sponsors "rising temperatures, rising climate" conference in Israel

I sat in a room of fifty people, listening as professors and specialists raised questions, shared their opinions, and bluntly critiqued the report they had just heard. Through the long assertions of what will “actually” happen to Israel and statements of what “the real issue is,” I came to an enlightening, and refreshing, realization. There are people interested in the environment. There are people educated in environmental concerns. Of course, if you’re reading this, you have an interest degree of enthusiasm in the environment, but throughout this week in Israel, it has been hard to find the same interest in the general population.

Israel has, per capita, one of the most well-educated populations in the world, but the environmental sector of this education, it seems, is relatively new. Just because the election came and went does not mean that The Israel Green Movement- Meimad can stop working for support and popularity. The way I see it, it only means that now is the time to work harder. Start gaining support now. By reading this blog you’re agreeing to at least one thing: that you care. You care about the way this country turns out and its environment, so instead of being “just a reader”, become an advocate. Get involved. Educate the people who don’t know. Take part in making it so that next year not only does the Israel Green Movement- Meimad have a seat in the Knesset…make it a popular, well-respected and known seat. Who knows, maybe by then we’ll have enough votes to win 120 seats in the Knesset.

Learning from Savta – Energy use in a Haifa apartment

I spent the weekend with my grandmother. You might be thinking, “What does this have to do with the environment?” Well, over two days, I observed the way my grandmother lives in her apartment in Haifa and realized that she, a woman who never learned about greenhouse gases or global warming in high school, is doing more to conserve and protect the environment than, I think it would be safe to bet, a majority of the younger generations in Israel.

I walked into the greatly lit apartment and realized that not a single artificial light was on. Instead, the curtains were drawn back to reveal the beautiful valley below and allow the sun to light the room with her rays.  I know it might sounds pretty romanticized and dramatic, but I promise you, not a single light was on. We didn’t have to turn on a light until the sun had set, and even then, she only flipped the switch in the room we were sitting in.

Haifa - taking advantage of the sunlight and ocean breeze

Haifa - taking advantage of the sunlight and ocean breeze

My grandmother, of course, offered me food and drink. She put a kettle on the stove and warmed us some water for coffee and tea. After we had finished our drinks, and ate some cake, she poured the remaining cooled water into a watering pot that she slowly filled and used to water the plants in her apartment.

She then washed the dishes by hand and let them dry. We closed the curtains and blinds, and went to sleep. The next morning (before noon –the start of peak hours), she put in a full load of laundry. After the cycle was finished, she hung the laundry on a line outside her window, letting the wind and sun dry them.

We spent the rest of the weekend conserving energy (both mine and the environment’s). So maybe we can use this as yet another lesson learned from our grandparents…who really do know best.

What will Israel’s role in the Copenhagen Climate Conference be?

On June 9th, an Environmental Day was hosted in the Knesset. Here, many different organizations met to discuss their progress and efforts in environmental protection. Throughout the day, presentations were made as plans for the future were drawn out and graphs of previous mistakes and accomplishments were cast onto a screen through Powerpoint presentations. After hours spent recounting the past year’s work and trying to get a grasp on what Israel has to offer the world, the topic of the international conference on climate issues arose. What will Israel be presenting at the Copenhagen Climate Conference this coming December? When the Kyoto Protocol was put together in 1997 and the framework for internationally decreasing greenhouse gas emissions was organized, Israel was still considered a developing country. However, after years of vast technological advancements and continuous CO2 emissions, Israel proudly holds the title of a developed, and polluting, country with the rest of the Western world. Before giving yourself a pat on the back, consider the ramifications that come with this title. Israel is now, as it has been, a leader. And should also be a leader in the environmental world. Come December, Israel should be ready to present the world a plan for environmental advancements, protections, alternatives – not attend to listen for recommendations. Israel should be able to stand amongst her peers with something to offer the world.

MK Gilad Erdan, Minister of Environmental Protection

MK Gilad Erdan, Minister of Environmental Protection

The democracy that Israel offers her citizenry is one that guarantees each person a voice. The day at the Knesset showed just a portion of the many voices there really are. After hours of presentations, the Minister of Environmental Protection Gilad Erdan ended the discussion with a request for all the environmental committees, organizations, NGOs and groups to come together. To use one voice. One strong voice to solidify the need for Israel to pursue environmental advancements. But the question is, how do you combine the organizations concerned with protecting Israel’s nature and those focused on alternative energy developments? How can you summarize the appeals for the preservation of nature, just animal treatment, decreased water pollution, increased recycling, lessening the landfills of trash, better air quality in Israel and make a plan that’s ready to execute and change the environment? The Copenhagen Conference on climate change and CO2 emissions is a reminder that Israel is a part of the international community and fight against global warming. Similarly, the day at the Knesset was an opportunity for Israel to consider what the many parts have given and must give to our country that is, too, a community of her own.

Gershon Baskin’s efforts to secure Gilad Shalit’s release.

Bring Gilad Home

Bring Gilad Home

Today, while canvassing for the Green Movement-Meimad in Haifa, during the slow moments I would talk with the two high school students hired by Likud to promote their party.  The kids asked me to explain Likud’s platform, which I did.  Then they asked, what about Gilad Shalit.  I answered that on Gilad Shalit there is a consensus across the political spectrum – we all want him home as soon as possible.  Maybe there are disagreements regarding how much to “give up,” but everyone desparately wants him home.  I mentioned that one of our party members – Gershon Baskin – was involved in these efforts, but I didn’t know the details.  Today Gershon’s efforts are featured in a Haaretz article by Akiva Eldar.  We are proud to have Gershon with us and pray that his efforts and those of others pay off soon with the safe return of Gilad Shalit to his parents, family and country.

Yes, we can! The Green Movement-Meimad will pass the minimum threshold with your vote (ה), and those of some celebrity friends (see below)

Who is voting for the Green Movement – Meimad (תנועה הירוקה-מימד)?

Vote "ה" for התנועה הירוקה-מימד

Vote "ה" for התנועה הירוקה-מימד

According to a poll by “Ma’agar Mokhot”: 7% of Israelis will vote for the Green Movement-Meimad if they are confident the party will pass the minimum threshold.  This represents 8-9 seats in Knesset!  So don’t hesitate.  This will put Rabbi Michael Melchior, Eran Ben Yemini, Professor Alon Tal, Yonina Fallenberg, Iris Hahn, Dr. Hussein Tarabieh, Dr. Ariel Pikar and Yael Cohen-Paran (and maybe Leah Halperin)  into the next Knesset.

In mock elections at high schools across Israel, students found hope and vision in the Green Movement-Meimad:  7.1% from Ort High School in Holon; 5% from West Jezreel Valley High School; 21% (!) from Tschernokovski High School in Netanya; 4.4% from Mevo’ot Iron High School; 6% in Ostrovski High School in Raanana.

In mock elections at universities across Israel, students found a platform they can believe in with the Green Movement-Meimad: 12% and 16% (in two surveys) at Hebrew University; 4.2% at Ben Gurion University (5 mandates); 3.4% at Tel Aviv University; 2 mandates at the Interdisciplinary Center in Herzlia.

An increasing number of public figures (aside from our extensive list of academic endorsements [in Hebrew] here) are expressing their support for the Green Movement-Meimad, including:

Kobi Oz (singer, author, composer), who writes his endorsement here (in Hebrew). My loose translation:  “I’m voting for the Green Movement-Meimad so there will be someone to protect this land and fight those who are destroying it.  Ya’ala – I’ll give them my vote and then they’ll pass the minimum threshold and go right to the center of activity – exactly where they belong”

Ehud Banai (singer and composer) – “I vote for the kind of values the Green Movement-Meimad represents.  It’s crucial that they are in the next Knesset.”

Riki Blich (actress and comedian) – “I know these people and I know they will represent public interests loyally and steadfastly in Knesset”

Natan Zach (Poet, Israel Prize Laureate) – according to this Friday’s Yediot Ahronot, disillusioned with all the political parties, but choosing between Green Movement-Meimad and an uninspiring Meretz.

Shai Avivi (Actor, Comedian, original member of HaChamisha HaKamrit) – “I know the people in the party – they are professionals, fighters (in the political sense), and serious.

Rino Tzror (Journalist) – “Only the Green Movement-Meimad is worthy of attention.”

Avri Gilad (Radio and TV host) – announced today on his popular radio program that he is voting Green Movement-Meimad.

Jackie Levy (Radio and TV host, and journalist) – “Vote for the Green Movement-Meimad as the only party that represents the connection between Judaism, society and ecology.  This is not a trend, but the result of a crucial process within Israel society.”

Tzur Shizaf (Journalist, author and nature guide) – “If someone needs to keep [Avigdor] Leiberman in check, the Green Movement/Meimad will be there; If someone needs to stop the runaway privatization of everything in our country, the Green Movement/Meimad will be there; If someone has to battle in favor of education, the Green Movement/Meimad will be there.”

Shlomo Bar (Musician, composer) – “The Green Movement-Meimad gives me hope for a society without sectoralism, without people with no content, without politicians.  We have enough generals who have complicated our lives here.  We need statesmen like Rabbi Melchior and not more wily politicians.

Haaretz journalist Ari Shavit calls the Green Movement-Meimad “the party to watch” during the elections.  His colleague at Haaretz, journalist Shachar Ilan writes – “Whoever votes for for the Green Movement-Meimad will be getting the best Knesset member for their vote.  Rabbi Michael Melchior was one of the best parliamentarians in the outgoing Knesset.”

Jerusalem deputy mayor Naomi Tzur and Jerusalem city council member Rachel Azaria took out a quarter page ad in Friday’s newspaper encouraging Israelis to vote Green Movement-Meimad.

On line bloggers are enthusiastically endorsing the Green Movement-Meimad.  According to a poll of influencial Hebrew blogs, 37% endorsed the Green Movement-Meimad.  Similarly, an increasing number of English language blogs in Israel and among Jews abroad are endorsing the party:

Haim Watzman at Southjerusalem.com.

Yannai Kranzler at the Jewish Climate Initiative.

Anna at Daily Dose of Anna.

Rebecca at The Big Felafel.

Professor Gil Troy at Jerusalem Post Blogs.

David at Israel21C Blogs and Brian Blum at Israel21C Blogs.

Josh Weinberg at the Houmous Fool.

RickyB at The Church of Here and Now (Salon.com blogs)

Benji Lovitt at What War Zone?

And don’t forget the more than 30 party supporters who sent in their reasons for supporting the Green Movement-Meimad (see previous post below).  And see the reputable Green Prophet blog for their comprehensive review of all of the parties’ environmental platforms here.  And finally, for Hebrew readers, read an interview with Green Movement-Meimad candidate  Samuel Chayen in last Friday’s Makor Rishon here (downloads a PDF of the interview).

This Tuesday vote for education, environment, social democracy.  Vote ‘for’ rather than ‘against’.  Vote for what Israel could be!

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A personal message from Professor Alon Tal on the importance of the upcoming Israeli elections

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.

Greetings,

Alon Tal

Alon Tal

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.

Green Movement-Meimad Open Election Event

Green Movement-Meimad Open Election Event

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.

Sincerely,

Professor Alon Tal

For more from Alon, watch the interview below.


Green Movement – Meimad takes 10 mandates at Ort-Holon High School Model Elections

For years, model elections in Israeli high schools have provided a measure of the national election results that follow.  Foreshadowing good things to come, Rabbi Michael Melchior captures the hearts of Israeli high school students at Ort Holon with a plea for supporting education, social welfare and environment.  Green Movement – Meimad took home 10 mandates (7.1% of the total vote) – the 6th largest win, following Israel Beiteinu (yikes.), Likud, Strong Israel, Tzabar, and Labor.

Watch Melchior’s talk (in Hebrew) below.