English Speakers Grab Bigger Role in Israel Politics — Halting Hebrew and All

Americans and Brits Run for Office Across Holy Land

By Ben Sales

Published October 02, 2013.
  • Print
  • Share Share
  • Single Page

(page 3 of 3)

Parallel to Javor’s campaign, a Tel Aviv movement called Kol Oleh — which means both “rising voice” and “immigrant’s voice” — aims to get out the vote among the city’s Anglos. The group is hosting candidates’ forums in English leading up to Election Day, and over the summer hosted parlor meetings to discuss municipal issues with local Anglos.

“Decisions were being made and it seemed like the population had no connection to things going on around them,” said Guy Seemann, the head of Kol Oleh. “Kol Oleh wanted to start with the elections as a benchmark to get involved in civil society.”

But Jerusalem Deputy Mayor Naomi Tzur, a native of England whose slate boasts a handful of Anglos, says English-speaking immigrants must learn Hebrew rather than relying on English-language services.

“Wherever they go in the world, they’re so confident that their language is known by everybody,” said Tzur, who moved to Israel in 1966. “They remain in a colony of their own and there are very few who break out of that cocoon.

“You can’t have just enough Hebrew to go shopping or talk to your neighbor about a leak in the roof. You need to be really fluent.”

As newcomers to their slates, many of the Anglo candidates have a slim chance of winning seats in their respective councils. But Leventhal says that any Anglo political activism will help advance the community no matter the result.

“Americans come from a culture of community, concern and respect,” he said. “They’re not going to want to come to a city that doesn’t provide quality of life.”


The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.





Find us on Facebook!
  • According to Israeli professor Mordechai Kedar, “the only thing that can deter terrorists, like those who kidnapped the children and killed them, is the knowledge that their sister or their mother will be raped."
  • Why does ultra-Orthodox group Agudath Israel of America receive its largest donation from the majority owners of Walmart? Find out here: http://jd.fo/q4XfI
  • Woody Allen on the situation in #Gaza: It's “a terrible, tragic thing. Innocent lives are lost left and right, and it’s a horrible situation that eventually has to right itself.”
  • "Mark your calendars: It was on Sunday, July 20, that the momentum turned against Israel." J.J. Goldberg's latest analysis on Israel's ground operation in Gaza:
  • What do you think?
  • "To everyone who is reading this article and saying, “Yes, but… Hamas,” I would ask you to just stop with the “buts.” Take a single moment and allow yourself to feel this tremendous loss. Lay down your arms and grieve for the children of Gaza."
  • Professor Dan Markel, 41 years old, was found shot and killed in his Tallahassee home on Friday. Jay Michaelson can't explain the death, just grieve for it.
  • Employees complained that the food they received to end the daily fast during the holy month of Ramadan was not enough (no non-kosher food is allowed in the plant). The next day, they were dismissed.
  • Why are peace activists getting beat up in Tel Aviv? http://jd.fo/s4YsG
  • Backstreet's...not back.
  • Before there was 'Homeland,' there was 'Prisoners of War.' And before there was Claire Danes, there was Adi Ezroni. Share this with 'Homeland' fans!
  • BREAKING: Was an Israeli soldier just kidnapped in Gaza? Hamas' military wing says yes.
  • What's a "telegenically dead" Palestinian?
  • 13 Israeli soldiers die in Gaza — the deadliest day for the IDF in decades. So much for 'precision' strikes and easy exit strategies.
  • What do a Southern staple like okra and an Israeli favorite like tahini have in common? New Orleans chef Alon Shaya brings sabra tastes to the Big Easy.
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.