Where is the Israeli Al Gore?

487570_10100178490116245_1953285538_nAny opinion expressed in this article is that of the author and does not reflect the opinions of Gather the Jews.

Something I’ve been wondering while trying to follow the upcoming Israeli election: where is the discussion of energy and environmental issues? Is there no politician focused on this arena? Are the Israelis lacking an ‘Ozone Man‘?

I began my investigation by checking out the Likud party – the party currently in power, who is also expected to at least retain the Prime Minister position. The bulk of Likud’s platform is dedicated to Israel’s security, with some ideas for economic and social concerns at the bottom of the list. If the current front-runner for the Prime Minister position, along with the bulk of seats in the Knesset, doesn’t mention anything about the environment or energy – can it really be a priority for any of the parties?

Next, I tried to cast a wide net to see where the other major parties stand. The Jerusalem Post has a handy quiz to help you figure out which party is most in line with your values. It’s worth noting that not one of the 30 questions asked relates in any way to the environment. There are a few questions regarding social and economic concerns in the society. Ultimately, it seems that the environment isn’t anyone’s radar.

Professor Adi Wolfson, of the Shamoon College of Engineering Green Processes Center recently explained the silence to the fact that there are no disagreements. The idea being if everyone agrees, what is there to discuss? Professor Wolfson further reckons another, and perhaps more important reason it’s not discussed: because voters don’t really care. Whether the public doesn’t care because too much of their energy is spent on security concerns or due to a culture that just doesn’t place value on these ideas, we can hopefully explore at a later time.

Much to my delight, I eventually found that there is one party that explicitly promotes the need for an environmental blueprint for Israel – Tzippi Livni’s Hatunah party. Ms. Livini had previously helped to start the Kadima party in 2005, but left it last year. Her new party joined forces with the Green Movement Party and, unsurprisingly, its platform focuses on the environment.

While it can be expected that the Green Movement would advocate sustainability, Ms. Livni’s motivation seems to be from a more traditional political perspective: how her platform will create jobs, improve constituent quality of life, and strengthen Israel’s energy independence. These don’t need to be niche values only taken up by one party. Anyone serious about the welfare of the State of Israel and its people have no excuse not to include these points in their own party’s platform.

Samantha Hulkower, former Jewish Girl of the Week, is on sabbatical from DC in Israel. Her blog, Derech Eretz Israel, discusses environmental issues in Israel. Like her page on facebook to stay in the know. Comments and ideas for topics you’d like to see Samantha research are welcomed!

4 replies
  1. Jeremy Yonteff
    Jeremy Yonteff says:

    Israeli Al Gore? How disgusting?!?! And particularly days after he sold his television network to Al Jazeera. Incidentally israel has no shortage of leftists and there is an arab party which may be a better match for gore in light of recent events, Fortunately for the jewish people both the left and the arab parties are on the fast train to political irrelevance. Only an American leftist would have the chutzpah to suggest that environmental concerns should be relevant in israeli elections with Israel in the trouble its in with the ramifications of an Islamic Puppet in the white house.

  2. Samantha
    Samantha says:

    Thanks for the comment, Jeremy. I think few people would call me a leftist! I was citing Al Gore as a political figure well known on both sides of the aisle, and in the across administrations, as being passionate about environmental issues. I hyperlinked to an article that alluded to George HW Bush derisively calling him ‘ozone man’ for his efforts to stop the depletion of the ozone layer. Environmental issues should be non-partisan. Being energy independent is a matter of national security for Israel, and there is no excuse for politicians not to be having this discussion.

    • Jeremy Yonteff
      Jeremy Yonteff says:

      AL Gore is a propagandist, and his brand of environmentalism is hardly common sense conservationalism. If you think he is someone who is respected on both sides “of the aisle” maybe you haven’t spent much time with people on the other side. Your assertion that environmentalism leads to energy independence is a specious argument, in fact the opposite is true. The only nations with energy independence are those who make use of, rather than restrict use of natural resources, namely natural gas, oil, and coal as well as nuclear power.


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