Tag Archives: Eran Ben Yemini

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

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Human Resources of the World, Unite!

Eran holds the credit card and identity card during the demonstration against land reform

Eran holds the credit card and identity card during the demonstration against land reform

I have to give Eran Ben Yemini credit for setting off this train of thought when, at the recent demonstration against land reform, he observed that Prime Minister Netanyahu and his government want to change us from citizens into consumers,  to determine our identities by our credit cards rather than our ID cards. I don’t think this a new phenomenon but rather part of trend that has been developing over the last 50 years. This is what makes the mad dash towards privatization so dangerous, that it is not new. The worship of market forces as the answer for all that ails us is a religion practiced by so many for so long that few even bother to question its’ basic tenets. You see, Mr. Netanyahu is not perpetuating a conspiracy nor is he a radical when he promotes his pro-business agenda. He is well within the mainstream. Slowly but surely we are being turned from individuals into human resources; human resources that spend the majority of their waking hours either working or consuming.

So where is all of this leading? Unfortunately I don’t think the following scenario is too far off. You get in your car in the morning and spend an hour in traffic jams going to work in Tel Aviv. You don’t live there but in Savyonei Kiryat Ono because that is the closest to Tel Aviv that someone with a normal salary can get an apartment. You spend your day making a newer version of something that already exists and works perfectly well. You have lunch in a chain restaurant that serves same standard mediocrity no matter where in Israel it is, standardized so that so that any employee can learn to prepare it in the minimum time with the minimum amount of training. You go back to the office to outsource some more of the work your company does to the other side of the world in order to save a couple of shekels, just in time to get back in the traffic jam home. On the way you stop where that nice orange grove once stood and they now raised another shopping mall, so similar to all the rest of them that you can’t tell whether you are in Eilat or Metula. You get home just in time to have missed putting your kids to bed, nuke some food, watch a rerun of a so-so reality show on public TV, order a new, improved GPS so that you don’t get lost in the traffic jams to work and go to sleep.

It makes me think of the Matrix when Neo wakes up to reality and realizes that he is being used as a battery. Privatization is turning us into human batteries, human resources. We are not teachers, doctors, programmers, cooks or police officers. We are being turned into education employees, health employees, software employees, food employees and security employees.

What am I doing to stop this from happening? First, I’ve changed my voting patterns. No more Meretz, no more Labour; they have too long a track record of doing nothing. Second. I’ve joined the Green Movement, my moral choice, no more strategic voting for me. Thirdly, I’ve realized that changing Israel for the better depends on me. Not through grand gestures but rather daily acts of optimism; by writing here, by talking to people at lunch, by changing the way I consume and eat and commute and raise my daughter. It is you and I and thousands of other human resources that will ensure that our lives are not determined by the invisible hand of market forces and mainstream blandness. Human resources of the world, unite!

Bram Spiero

100 supporters offer 100 reasons to vote “ה” – Green Movement-Meimad

Vote "ה" for התנועה הירוקה-מימד

Vote "ה" for התנועה הירוקה-מימד

For our readers – decided and undecided.  Vote on 10 February and make an informed decision.  The next government will set Israel’s agenda for the near and distant future. If you are decided, feel free to join the list with a comment!

Marc, 60, Informal educator, Central Galilee

As we’ve just seen in another election elsewhere, maybe there needs to be some place for vision, for saying out loud: “This is what we really want – not the least of all evils, not what we can get under the circumstances – but what we really believe in.” When you keep settling for mediocrity, you get mediocrity. If we want to raise the level of discourse, we have to look up.

Marie, 55, Marketing Communications Manager, Karmiel

Because politicians who score high on environmental issues also tend to push for better availability of health care, education, and programs to develop renewable energy that will allow us to create new, high quality jobs.

Orit, 56, Computer programmer, Haifa

Green Movement-Meimad talks about issues that concern each one of us, the future of this country and our future here. They don’t use the security cloud to hide the real problems, like providing citizens with a clean and healthy environment: air, water, earth, society, politics.

Bob, 50, Marketing Professor, Mevasseret Zion

Education, Transportation, Social Justice and the Environment in Israel are all very important to me and the Green Movement/Meimad are most focused on these issues.

n30053107768_79291Ayelet, 35, Social worker, Haifa

As a mother, living and raising children in Haifa, in Neve Sha’anan with its polluted air from the industry in Haifa bay, my responsibility is for the welfare of my children. I will vote to make sure my children breathe clean, healthy air.  I have no faith in the old parties who have promised for years and have not delivered, and I don’t believe that local politicians in Haifa will do anything about it.  My vote for the Green Movement-Meimad will bring about the real changes – it is a vote for everyone’s health and for the future generations.

Ruth, 58, translator/interpreter, Jerusalem

Vote “heh – ה” for a party that supports a  politics of social harmony, in a Jewish and green framework.

Amit, 31, NGO operations coordinator, Haifa

For the first time in my personal history – I feel hope for my and my children’s future.

Danny, 36, Osteopath, Jerusalem

HaTnuah Hayeruka-Meimad deal with the issues I face at every moment – the air that I breathe, the environment I live in, the welfare of the people I meet and the education of the future generation – and who better than Rav Melchior to be responsible for this?

Shai, 33, Transportation Engineer, Haifa

Because it’s the best pick around, I mean, HEY, what’s the question?

Shirley, 33, Graduate student, Tel Aviv

If you are aware of the environment around you, then you know that only the Green Movement – Meimad understands what needs to be done.

Simon, 53, Activist and Permaculturist, Haifa.

The mission statements of both the Green Movement and Meimad say it all. Why would I vote for anyone else?

Party chairman Rabbi Michael Melchior

Party chairman Rabbi Michael Melchior

Daniel, 40, Environmental policy researcher, Haifa

I want Israel to be a good place for my family and community – a country that has good education, health care and environment.  Rabbi Melchior, Eran Ben Yemini, Alon Tal and their list have proven experience in making Israel a good place to live.

Leiba Chaya, 38, Tour guide and environmental educator, Moshav Aderet

Because the leaders of the party are smart, talented, experienced, able to perceive the breadth and complexity of our country’s problems, and able to envision practical yet comprehensive solutions. And because they believe in Jewish culture/identity in the Jewish homeland without resorting to radical, dangerous ideologies. And because they will work to enable Israeli citizens to participate in the creation of their own future instead of imposing one from on high.

Shai, 33, Port crane operator, Haifa

As a port worker who’s been working for years under the threat of privatization, I’m glad to find a party who stand strongly on the side of workers, of people.

Kalia, 32, Post doctoral researcher (Biochemistry), Haifa

I will vote for Hatnua Hayeruka-Meimad becaue my priorities lie in education, social-democracy and environment; I think these are the most important things for Israel in order to develop and prosper.

Eilon, 42, Lecturer in Israel Studies, Jerusalem

It is the only party that has a deep and clear integration of Judaism, social-democratic priorities and ecological responsibility.  Until today, we are used to seeing Judaism as something that divides and separates the political map.  The Green Movement-Meimad turns Judaism into a unifying element, a foundation on which to build a society with social and ecological responsibility.  A party like this in Knesset will support the growing movement of Judaism and social justice, will represent the movement in Knesset, and will eventually replace the ideological vacuum represented by the larger parties.

Uri, 47, Senior lecturer (Ecology), Givat Ada

This party presents the ultimate team. They are honest, hard workers, professionals, and have the best credit in the country for protecting the environment.

Sigalit, 42, Informal educator, Galilee

I will vote for Meimad-Hayeruka because its candidates are hard-working, honest, idealistic people, with impressive records – each and every one!

Haim, writer, Jerusalem

Far from being a one-issue party, the Green Movement-Meimad offers a comprehensive program that addresses international affairs, economics, social services, and education as well as the environment. In the tradition of the Green movements of Europe, the environmental crisis serves as a paradigm for how to address the entire range of issues facing the country
Yonina, pensioner/academic, Haifa

So that on Shabbat, holidays, and weekends we will have beaches to walk on and waters to swim in, trails to hike, parks to visit, and natural flora and fauna to wonder at RATHER THAN spend our time in shopping malls, canyonim, and walking the pavement.

Nir, 31, Lawyer and Ph.D. student, Tel Aviv

Green Movement-Meimad Band

Green Movement-Meimad Band

The people who comprise our movement have proven their capacity to lead environmental initiatives and campaigns. I have been taught by prof. Alon Tal, 10 years ago as a young(er) student, and his enthusiasm and impact on my life is still apparent. I believe together with Eran Ben-Yemini and Rabbi Malchior, Iris Hann and everyone else, they will be able to lead a new green coalition, together with other MK’s.

Rina, 27, Graphic artist, Tel Aviv.

To provide a fresh, new approach to the government – putting people before politics.

Jonathan, 58, English teacher, Haifa.

We must do something, to start making the changes necessary for the survival of our planet.  So called “environmental awareness” of the major parties is a smoke screen.

Leah, Information technology expert, Ra’anana

Rabin’s murder caused me to understand how deep is the gap between different groups if the Jewish nation in all and in Israel particularly. I understood that changes must be done to avoid the destruction of Israel and the Jewish nation all over theworld.  I believe in all the Hatnua Hayeruka – Meimad beliefs’, and hope to continue and contribute to the society in all it’s needs.

Paul, Musician and Environmental Artist

I shall vote Green as I always do, but this time for this list.  I know Alon Tal’s work to be from the heart.  I would like some human to represent all the non-human life forms as well, I hope this is a start.  I do not see eye to eye with all the agenda of the party, however as I believe in the saying, “No matter who I vote for, the wrong party always gets in,” I see this is the best I am going to get for now.

Jack

A vote for Meimad- HaYeruka is a vote for clean politics, a better future and productive MKs who will care less about bashing each other and more about building a better future for all!

Zvi, 33, Chief Scientist in Start-Up Company, Haifa

In the past decades, the so called “left-wing” parties in Israel were so busy talking about peace and about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict that, they didn’t notice (or didn’t care) that Israel had become an ultra-capitalist country. The Social-Democratic moderate-left option was left as an orphan and unrepresented. I believe the formation of The Green Movement-Meimad is a great opportunity to create a new political party, similar to the European Green parties, which will focus both on environmental issues as well as on social issues.

On the campaign trail

On the campaign trail

Randy, 49, Couple & Family Therapist, Raanana
The main reason to vote “Heh” is because the leaders of this party have proven themselves as people with principles who want to make Israel a more enlightened society. Theirs is an essential voice in the Knesset and media, of mutual respect in the way we relate to one another, respect for various forms of Jewish practice and respect for the land, seas and all forms of life that we’re responsible for.

Dor, 34, Marine biologist and lecture, Kibbutz Ein Shemer

One day, say, in the year 2059, my grandchildren will wake up one lovely morning in their clean green democratic, free and advanced homeland of milk, honey and social justice, they may want to pay a visit to their 84 year old grand dad, so he can once again tell the tale of how bleak everything looked and how once no one cared, and then a group of brave men and women decided to change the system from within. May we all get the future we deserve.

Aviv, 21, student, Haifa

I support the Green Movement-Meimad because it stands for “clean” politics – in more ways than one!

Deborah, Jerusalem
In a 1999 pre-election survey, I was asked what was the most pressing question facing Israel. My stunned survey conductor told me no one else had answered “water.” Ten years later, water is still our most pressing question (as continuous government neglect and mismanagement have kept it so). This time, however, there is a voter solution to this question: I believe the Green Movement/Meimad has the combined knowledge and “do-it-ness” to change our horrible reality. That is why this party has my vote.

Sarit,27, student, Ramat Gan

Because we need sustainable and accessible public transportation, to decrease air pollution, the socio-economic gap & the waste of public open space.

David. Theater director. Pardes Hana.

Voting Hay for TYM ensures that 4-5 leading social-environmental activists, proffessionals and legislators will be in the Knesset working with us, the citizens, to create a safe, healthy, just and educated Israeli society.

Arieh, 47, journalist and olive farmer

Because I believe we need to save our open spaces and twist the arms of the government to make greener energy.

As the Knesset election campaign goes into the final stretch…

Three postings of interest as the campaign for Knesset #18 goes into its final two weeks:

1) The Jerusalem Post spotlights the Green Movement-Meimad with coverage of the campaign kickoff event two weeks ago:

“Change starts here,” No. 2 Eran Ben-Yemini declared, “But actually it began 10 to 15 years ago, when we established many of the biggest environmental organizations in Israel.”

Ben-Yemini founded Green Course, while fellow party member Prof. Alon Tal founded The Israel Union for Environmental Defense and the Arava Institute for Environmental Studies.

“When we started out, nobody even knew what ‘the environment’ was. Now we’ve turned it into one of the biggest items on the national agenda,” Ben-Yemini told the crowd.

Meimad head and No. 1 on the combined list Rabbi Michael Melchior stressed the need to prevent security from dominating all other issues.

“We cannot let the older parties use the security issue, no matter how important it is, to once again bury education, environment and social issues.

“When all of the other Knesset members race towards seats on the Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, the least important committee in the Knesset, we will be running towards the education, social affairs, finance and environment committees,” he thundered.

For the full article, click here.

2) In the Hebrew press, YNET exposes the author of a rogue website, which was trying to masquerade as the homepage of the Israel Green Movement last summer.  The site attempted to portray the Green Movement in an extremist light.  And who was behind the site?  Meital Revino, who just happens to be running for Knesset on the Green Party list (#20).  Note that this blog did its best NOT to engage in badmouthing the Green Party, but I thank YNET and journalist Ehud Kenan for exposing this. For Hebrew readers, the article is here. On our “About” page in the comments section on the bottom, I try to define the differences between the Green Movement-Meimad and the Green Party.

3) Finally, the television campaign began today.  Below is the Green Movement-Meimad’s first commercial – clearly aimed at helping the voters distinguish between the environmental party (us) and the faux greens (them).  Enjoy!


2000 supporters insist on putting social, environmental and education issues on top of the public agenda!

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:

Shuki Galili)

2000 gather for the Green Election Event (photos: Shuki Galili)

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.

Green Movement-Meimad Band

Green Movement-Meimad Band

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.

Party chairman Rabbi Michael Melchior

Party chairman Rabbi Michael Melchior

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.

Green Movement-Meimad candidate Yarden Shani speaking to the press

Green Movement-Meimad candidate Yarden Shani speaking to the press

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!”

For more from the Hebrew Press, see Walla, YNet and NRG.

Green Movement Meimad - Ramat Aviv, 2009

Green Movement Meimad - Ramat Aviv, 2009

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.


On our way to the Israel Green Movement primaries!

Invitation to the green celebration and primaries

Invitation to the green celebration and primaries

First and foremost: Green Movement Celebration and Primaries – all the public is invited for the celebration, members invited to vote.  So come to the Kibbutz Seminar Center in Ramat Aviv this Friday, at 8:45 through the afternoon to celebrate with us.  If you are a voting member, candidate profiles in Hebrew are here.  About 10 of the candidates are also profiled in English on our site.

Otherwise, so much to report – The Green Movement is involved in several environmental campaigns, two new writers have joined our blog, new Facebook groups – including one in English for locals and one for Israel Green Movement friends abroad, and several articles covering our press conference yesterday (one in English here and one in Hebrew here, with video coverage of Eran Ben Yemini and Alon Tal at the press conference).  But, alas, I have my day job to worry about and the primaries are coming up, so I can’t write more now.

When I get back, I’ll report on the results of the primaries and we’ll get many more items of interest up on the blog.  So, more soon and here’s to a greener, more economically and socially just Israel!

Our IGM candidates

Our IGM candidates