The Israeli public is thirsty for a new political reality, one appropriate to the 21st century. The established ideologies that lay at the foundation of Israel’s founding, and even more so the partisan arena that has shaped our political system over the years are no longer suited to the challenges of today: They have lost their power, their relevance, and their appeal…
Israeli politics suffers from chronic illnesses: the absence of long-term thinking and planning; the breakdown of solidarity and tolerance; polarization; aggressive power plays; sectarianism; and corruption. The Israeli political crisis is indeed the crisis of Israeli democracy.
MeJMaD: Medinah jehudith – Medinah demokratit
Too many Israelis have abandoned faith in their capacity to influence their lives, along with the belief that anything will change for the better. The challenge of the day is to create a new political reality, one that can grapple with the tasks ahead using differing outlooks in light of a differing set of priorities, and with a renewed ideological spirit: A politics of hope. A politics of social harmony. The Green Movement – Meimad offers Israeli society such an alternative.
A Natural Partnership
The Meimad Movement was founded in 1988 (5748) by Rabbi Yehuda Amital along with a group of Orthodox and traditional Israelis. The aim was to transform the face of religious Zionism and to serve as an alternative to the approach that has made the Torah of Israel synonymous with religious and political extremism. The Meimad Party, a Hebrew acronym for “Jewish State, Democratic State”, was founded in 1999 (5759) to bring Meimad’s ideology into the political arena and to represent the many people, both religious and non-religious, who believe that the State of Israel should be both Jewish and democratic. Meimad places social issues, which are vital to Israel’s future, at the top of the public agenda. Over time, Meimad’s membership has expanded to become far broader, with leading intellectuals, Arabs, Conservative and Reform Jewish leaders included in its 120 person council. While for almost a decade Meimad has been part of the Labor party’s Knesset delegation, in the upcoming election it is running as an independent alternative for Israel’s seeking a path of moderation – while yet zealous to mend the country’s tired spirit.
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.
The Green Movement, a more recent political initiative has been gathering momentum for only a year. Its leaders, however, have been involved in environmental / social activism for decades. Founded by Eran Benyamini and Alon Tal with hundreds of environmental and social organizers, the party brings together environmental and social activists, academic experts and a broad spectrum of leaders from Israel’s civil society. The Green Movement was established as an authentic “green” political organization, based on the recognition that Israel, like most countries in the West was destined to have a Green Party as party of the permanent political mosaic in the Knesset. Yet, an authentic green movement cannot be merely a “niche” party but must promote a broad political agenda; beyond its clear stance on environmental issues it needs to offer practical solutions on Israel’s considerable social and diplomatic challenges. Moreover, the Green Movement holds that such a green nparty must be a model of transparency, democratic norms and professionalism led by individuals with experience and a proven record of integrity and achievement.