#1 – Rabbi Michael Malchior
Since 1996, Rabbi Michael Malchior has chaired Meimad and has represented the party in the Knesset since 1999. A seventh generation “heir” to a prestigious line of Scandinavian Rabbis, after studying for the Rabbinate in Israel, he served as chief Rabbi of Norway. Upon returning to Israel,
Malchior held numerous positions in religious and charitable organization s until ultimately becoming one of Israel’s most respected members of Knesset. Since his entry into politics he has held the positions as Deputy Foreign Minister and Deputy Minister of Education. For the past eight years, Malchior has served as head of the Knesset’s “Environmental Lobby” where he spearheaded innumerable public and legislative initiatives. In the last Knesset he chaired the Knesset’s Education Committee. Rabbi Malchior also heads the Knesset coalition for Jewish-Arab coexistence. As Israel’s leading “green” parliamentarian, and Israel’s most thoughtful and effective politician on matters of education and coexistence, it is natural for Malchior to head the Green Movement-Meimad’s Knesset list.
#2 – Eran Ben Yemini
The Israel Green Movement is distinguished from other green political movements in that it was founded from the ground up: Grassroots environmental activists, not politicians in search of a cause, run the movement and determine its vision and platforms. Eran Ben Yemini – IGM founder along with Alon Tal – is a grassroots activist par excellance.
Ben Yemini is a veteran of many environmental campaigns over the past decade. He was the founding Director of Green Course – the Israeli students’ environmental NGO – which today is at the forefront of the environmental revolution in Israel at the grassroots level. Eran studied acting in London, and holds a BA in Physics from the Technion Institute of Technology. He is currently working on a doctorate in Science Philosophy at Bar-Ilan University.
Today Ben Yemini coordinates the Environmental Fellows Alumni and is a facilitator in the Fellows program at the Heschel Center for Environmental Learning and Leadership. He is also the coordinator of the undergraduate Environmental Studies program at The Kibbutzim College (Seminar Ha’Kibbutzim). Finally, he sits on the boards of the Israel Energy Forum and Green Course, where he assists in guiding the vision and activities of the organization.
IGM is excited to have Eran Ben Yemini leading the movement.
#3 – Professor Alon Tal
One of the most important qualities of the Israel Green Movement is that it draws together leaders and grassroots activists of Israel’s environmental community (along with leaders in the academic, business and cultural community) in an effort to change the priorities of Israeli government policy. These activists have proven experience in affecting change in Israel. The IGM leadership personifies this experience.
Alon Tal, along with Eran Ben Yemini, is the founder of the Israel Green Movement. Alon has had a phenomenally positive impact on the environmental movement in Israel since his arrival in the 1980s as a new immigrant from the United States. After completing his army service, Alon earned a degree in law at Hebrew University and then a Ph.D. in Public Health from Harvard. Returning to Israel, Alon began to teach environmental law in numerous academic institutions. Identifying a hole in the Israeli environmental movement, he established the Israel Union for Environmental Defense – an organization that uses law and policy to improve environmental condition in Israel, and today arguably one of the most important of environmental organizations.
Alon then concentrated his efforts in the south, establishing the Arava Institute for Environmental Studies – a teaching and research institute bringing together Israelis, Palestinians, Jordanians, North Americans and Europeans for a one-year intensive environmental studies program with a regional, Middle East focus. Hundreds of Arava Institute alumni are now in key positions in governments, NGOs, academic institutions and otherwise doing good for the world. (Full disclosure: I am a faculty member at the Arava Institute!). Today, Alon is a professor of environmental policy at Ben Gurion University of the Negev. In recognition of his past acheivements, he was awarded the 2005 Charles Bronfman Prize and this year was one of twelve recipients of Israel’s Ministry of Environmental Protection lifetime achievement awards.
We are proud to have Alon Tal leading this new effort and are confident that, like his past projects, it will bring about positive environmental-social change in Israel.
# 4 – Yonina Fallenberg
Yonina Fallenberg is a leading social activist in the Tel Aviv region. A founding member of Meimad, Fallenberg was third on the party list in the Knesset elections of 1999 and 2003. At the Tel Aviv Rape Crisis Center she is responsible for community awareness and treatment of sexual harassment issues in the religious sector. She teaches and leads batei midrash in a number of frameworks, including Elul, Zayit, and Oranim College. For the past twenty-five years, Fallenberg has been at the cutting edge of issues involving women in Judaism and established Israel’s first matriculation programs for theater in religious high schools. Trained as a theater director, Fallenberg served for three years as a member of Israel Theater Academy.
# 5 – Iris Hahn
As anyone familiar with the Israeli landscape knows, the pace of urban development in Israel is astounding. Open spaces, agricultural land and cultural landscapes face day-to-day prospects of being turned over to residential and infrastructure development.
Fortunately, we have public representatives on the National Planning Board who provide us with one line of defense for smart and environmentally sensitive planning and preservation of open spaces. Iris Hahn has been, for the past eight years, the representative of the environmental, non-governmental organizations on the National Planning Board. In this capacity, she has dealt with challenges to Israel’s national planning documents every month. During this time, she also volunteered as public representative in other national-level planning committees. We are proud that she bring this experience to the Green Movement and, potentially, to the Knesset.
Iris holds a master’s degree in urban and regional planning from the Technion, and is currently studying law at the Interdisciplinary Center in Herzliya. She has spent over 10 years as an environmental planner with the Society for the Protection of Nature in Israel, the past two as Head of Research at the Open Landscape Institute. During her tenure with the National Planning Board, she learned both how to say “no,” but also how to think creatively and offer environmentally sound alternatives for Israel’s growing population and land needs. She co-writes a newsletter to convey important planning decisions to the public.
In 2006, Iris was selected by The Marker as one of the most influential individuals in Israel protecting the environment, and in 2007, Ha’aretz noted her as one of the most influential (if quiet) individuals on the real estate market in Israel. She is also an avid organic gardener.
She joined the Green Movement in hopes of increasing her ability to influence land policy at the national level. She anticipates that Real Estate and public land will be one of the major issues facing the next Knesset, and hopes to be there to serve the public in safeguarding public property, species diversity and open spaces.
#6 – Dr. Hussein Tarabieh
For years the towns in the Beit Netufa Valley in the Galilee suffered from untreated sewage, harming the local environment and posing a health risk and nuisance to the local population. Dr. Hussein Tarabieh – a native of Sakhnin – put an end to that. Hussein is co-founder and director for 15 years of the Regional Center for Environmental Education and R&D (TAEQ) in the Beit Natufa Basin near Sakhnin. In his capacity as director he has brought numerous environmental programs to the Beit Natufa area, including environmental education, planning and solutions for sewage treatment, energy conservation, green building and Arab-Jewish cooperation in the region.
Hussein holds a master’s degree in Environmental Science from the Technion and a Ph.D. in Environmental Conflict Management from the Department of Geography at the University of Haifa. Among his long list of experiences, he represented the Israel Ministry of the Environment in peace talks with Jordan and he oversaw the creation of the offices of the Towns Authority in Sakhnin – a green building that has won several international awards.
As a Knesset member, Hussein would focus on environmental issues from the local to regional scale, strengthen environmental bureaus and agencies, close social, economic and environmental gaps between the Israeli Arab and Jewish communities, introduce environmental education into the formal school requirements, and continue – as he has for years – to work to bring together Jews and Arabs within Israel and regionally, towards peace, co-existence and mutual respect.
The IGM is proud to have Hussein – with his abundant professional experience and commitment to co-existence – as a candidate for the Green Movement Knesset list.
#7 – Dr. Ariel Picard – Dr. Ariel Picard is the Director of Shalom Hartman Institute’s Center for Education. Ariel has a doctorate in philosophy from Bar-Ilan University and conducts research in contemporary Jewish law.
He was ordained as a rabbi by the Israeli Chief Rabbinate and formerly served as the rabbi of Kibbutz Shluchot.
His book, The Philosophy of Rabbi Ovadia Yosef in an Age of Transition: Study of Halakhah and Cultural Criticism, was published in 2007 by Bar-Ilan University Press. More on Dr. Picard here.
#8 – Yael Cohen Paran
Yael has been involved in environmental activity for the past 11 years. As an undergraduate, during her first year of studies at Hebrew University, she was one of the students who established Green Course (Megama Yeruka). After graduating in 1998 (B.Sc., Physics), Yael began her graduate studies in physics at Ben-Gurion University. Yael was a research student at the Solar Energy Center in the Blaustein Institute for Desert Research in Sede Boker.
After a year of research she decided to change course in life and devote all her time to environmental activity. From 1999-2001, Yael led the watershed campaign to stop Road 6 (the Trans-Israel Highway), working at Green Course and the SPNI (Society for the Protection of Nature in Israel). Following that, from 2001-2002 Yael was the Campaign Coordinator for Green Course – running campaigns on both local and national levels. In 2002, Yael was appointed Executive Director of Green Course.
Yael is today the founding director of the Israel Energy Forum – a new initiative to achieve and implement sustainable energy policy in Israel. Yael has been awarded the IVN Social Entrepreneur Fellowship for the initiative. The Forum already involves leading energy experts alongside senior executives of business and industry who are collaborating to promote sustainable energy in Israel.
Yael has taken part in some of the largest international conferences dealing with environmental issues, including: the UN WSSD (World Summit on Sustainable Development) in Johannesburg in 2002, and two of the latest UNFCCC (UN Forum on Climate Change Convention) in Bali, 2007 and in Poznan, 2008.
#9 – Leah Halperin
Leah is an information technology expert. She was elected to the Ra’anana City Council in 2003 as a Meimad representative. For five years she was active in the opposition, as chairperson of city controllers commitee, chairperson of “Smart City” planning committee and member the education, ethics and tenders committees. She has been a Meimad party supporter since its establishment in 1988 and a member of the leadership for the last 8 years.
Leah recalls the murder of the late Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin (z”l) as a personal turning point, causing her to understand how deep is the gap between different groups if the Jewish nation in all and in Israel particularly. She understood that serious changes must take place to avoid the destruction of Israel and the Jewish nation all over the world.
Leah is married and mother to 3 adult boys.
#10 – Ofer Kot
#11 – Mel Bloch
#12 – Rami Livni
#13 – Elad Kaplan
#14 – Natalia Gutkowski
Natalia is a natural environmental leader. She has been involved in a variety of educational initiatives, where she inspires people of all ages and cultures towards action: youth and adults, Jews and Arabs, Israelis and foreigners, and of course her high-school students.
Natalia manages the environmental program of a school that went on to win one of only three prestigious prizes for environmental activities from the Minister of Education in 2008. In addition to working with Israelis, she has, for many years, led Jewish youth groups in the Diaspora.
Natalia graduated her BA in education with highest honors, and is now researching fair trade in Israel towards her MA at the Tel Aviv University Porter School of Environment.
Natalia is a member of the Palestinian- Israeli PRIME project for history teaching. She has spoken on behalf of the Arava Institute for Environmental Studies in front of Nobel Prize winners and world leaders, and is known for her charisma, devotion, modesty and record of achievements.
#15 – Eilon Shamir
#16 – Dr. Sarit Oked
Sarit was born and grew up in Rishon Le Zion, Israel. She moved to the Negev, about 20 years ago. Since then her life has been a mix of public service, entrepreneurial business activity and environmental activism.
She received a PhD in archeology and then served as executive director of the municipal Community Center in Arad. During her tenure at the Community Center she sparked the interest of Arad residents, who helped Sarit turn the center into a vibrant local of community activity catering to all the population sectors of the town.
After five successful years at the Arad Community Center, Sarit was requested to head the community center of the Bedouin town of Segev Shalom. She took on the challenge.
Last year, Sarit established a start up company, Tevaor, which specializes in skin therapy products from wild plants growing in the desert.
In the realm of environmental activism, during the past three years Sarit has led a public campaign against the establishment of a phosphate mining site at Sde Brir – right next door to the town of Arad. With very little funding, but with a lot of stamina and chutzpah, she and her colleagues managed to stave off the mining site, even though it was advocated by one of Israel’s Industrial giants, Israel Chemical Industries.
Sarit describes herself as possessing “a burning desire of influencing and improving the quality of life in the community where I live.” She still lives in Arad, where she is raising her family and represents the Israel Green Movement.
#17 – Benjamin Segal
Rabbi Benjamin Segal (B.A., M.A.) received his Rabbinical Ordination (Conservative) from the Jewish Theological Seminary of America. Following four years in the pulpit, aliyah in 1973.
For twenty years Rabbi Segal was director of the Ramah programs in Israel, educational Zionist activities for youth from abroad. In the 90s, he served as President of the Schechter Institute for Jewish Studies, the academic and rabbinic center of the Masorti stream in Israel. Subsequently, he became president of Melitz – The Centers for Zionist-Jewish Education.
Among his books are, “Returning: The Land of Israel as Focus in Jewish History” and “Song of Songs: a Woman in Love.’ He has also written numbers of articles in the fields of Bible, Education and Zionism.
Rabbi Segal is married to Judith and is father of five and grandfather of twelve. He lives in Jerusalem. He has been Chairman of the Directorate of the Meimad Party since February, 2003.
#18 – Samuel “Shmuel” Chayen
Samuel Chayen is one of the prominent activists of the Environmental Movement in Israel. He has served in a number of capacities in various organizations in the environmental movements in Israel, including Knesset lobbyist for “Life and Environment,” and director of the Israel Economic Forum for the Environment. Previous to this, he served as Knesset lobbyist for “Adam, Teva Ve’Din”, and as a scientist on their scientific staff dealing with pesticide management policy.
Samuel served as adviser to various Knesset members in the 17th Knesset, including Dr. Dov Khenin and Rabbi Michael Melchior, who went on to inaugurate the Environmental-Social lobby. Samuel was the director of the lobby for half a year until his complete withdrawal from public work in order to write his doctoral thesis.
His political experience extends also to the international field. He represented the Israeli environmental organizations twice in international negotiations Montreal Protocol (the treaty that deals with the use of materials that thin the ozone layer), in 1995 in Vienna and in 1999 in Beijing. Samuel dealt mainly with the phase-out of the pesticide Methyl Bromide. In the years 1994-1996 Samuel also served as Chairman of the Coordinating Forum of the Junior Academic Staff organizations of the universities and led the fight for improved pay and working conditions for members of the junior academic staff.
He is currently completing his PhD thesis at Bar Ilan University, which deals with the links between Judaism and Sustainability (environment, society and economics). In the year 2006 he was awarded the President’s Grant for outstanding doctoral candidates. Samuel has been awarded various other academic and public prizes, including the Shield of the Minister of the Environment (2005) for his activities in promoting communal environmental communication and raising awareness of the special connection that exists between Judaism and the environment, and the Pratt Prize (2004) for environmental communication, for his establishment of the Environment Forum on YNET.
You are invited to visit his personal website.