Now that the US looks set for a radical change in environmental policy, Israelis are mobilizing to try to bring the "Yes we can!" spirit to the Middle East. Environmental awareness has grown here exponentially over the past year or two, and the political map is starting to reflect the change in public opinion. A wave of new local green parties and candidates has appeared ahead of this Tuesday's (Nov. 11) local elections, and a new movement composed of veteran environmental activists is taking shape ahead of parliamentary elections in February. The most exciting development in local green politics is undoubtedly the rise of a new movement in Tel Aviv called A City for All. Composed of activists from across the political spectrum, A City for All represents an attempt to transcend the limits of party politics in order to build an urban coalition with a coherent social and environmental message.
The movement's candidate for Mayor of Tel Aviv is Dr. Dov Khenin, one of Israel's most energetic lawmakers and a veteran environmental activist. In this video interview, Khenin discusses his plans for building a greener Tel Aviv, with greater social justice and more transparent local democracy. In Tuesday's election, Khenin will be running against incumbent Mayor Ron Huldai.
Both Khenin and A City for All are newcomers to the local political scene. A City for All was created less than a year ago through a series of public meetings and forums, and Khenin announced his candidacy for mayor less than three months ago. Since then, however, A City for All's volunteers have been canvassing the city, and Khenin has been spending much of his time talking to the press and addressing citizens at informal parlor meetings.
While the local blogosphere has come out overwhelmingly in support of Khenin, many in the press have voiced reservations about him due to his membership in Hadash, a Jewish-Arab Communist political party. Opinion polls give incumbent Ron Huldai the advantage in Tuesday's vote, but support for Khenin overwhelmingly dominates the streets.