Upcoming Tel Aviv Elections: Why Olim Should Care

Photo Credit: Davidi Vardi
Wikimedia Creative Commons

This February 27th, Tel Aviv is facing one of its most crucial elections for Olim in the past few decades – we must make our voices heard!

Following October 7th, Tel Aviv is facing one of its most important city council elections in decades. While there are several choices for Mayor, one fact remains clear: Olim have the ability to make major political changes and increase our status in Israel’s cultural and hi-tech capital. This is why I am running for Tel Aviv City Council and why Olim must make their voices heard. Olim who live in Tel Aviv have first-hand experience of what needs to be improved in the city and the plans we have will not only make Tel Aviv better at integrating Olim but also improve systems and programs for young people.

The day I made Aliyah has always been one of my proudest. After college, I moved to Tel Aviv for a more Jewish life and started working in hi-tech. In 2019, I co-founded Kerem House, an Israeli organization connecting young adult Olim with event spaces to create community activity and volunteer programs. While our community then was much smaller than it is today (it now encompasses 30,000 English-speaking Olim, in addition to Olim from other countries), and was much less organized, I believe that there is still so much more we can do to progress, and joining the city council will give me a way to expand non-profit and volunteer programs will benefit the entire city.

This is why I’m running for city council with the Mamanim Party (headed by Deputy Mayor Haim Goren). Our list has Olim from France and Italy as well as four Anglo candidates, myself, Rabbi Shlomo Chayen, Jason Kipp, and Isaac Fouladi. All of us are committed to bringing the rights and needs of Olim front and center, from those fresh off the plane and those who moved here years ago.

In order to increase our ability to keep, attract, and retain Anglos and other immigrants in Israel, our mission is to work with the City of Tel Aviv to strengthen Olim activities by gaining more support for Olim spaces and English-speaking municipal events. We also want to push for better digital access to municipal benefits and city-related information. We will also strive to help bring Olim more job opportunities, which will provide them stability and security so they, too, can build their own Tel Aviv dreams.

Since the beginning of the Israel-Gaza War, Israelis around the country have enthusiastically pledged their time and resources to organic, grassroots volunteering efforts. Olim in Tel Aviv, Jerusalem, and around the country have been leading the way in organizing food donations, farming, cooking for soldiers, packing up needed supplies, and walking dogs for soldiers in reserves. Since the war began, thousands of nationals and internationals have reached out for volunteer opportunities and more want to participate every day, the city should offer options for those who want to make Tel Aviv better to do so in a more organized and safe way.

We in Tel Aviv are lucky to have plethora of organizations like Kerem House that do incredible work such as Chabad on the Coast, JLIC, JTLV, Yakar Tel Aviv, Tel Aviv International Synagogue (TAIS), Tribe Tel Aviv, the Brownstone, the Israel Innovation Fund, Tel Aviv International Salon and others who regularly coordinates events for the community and volunteer activities for displaced families and the IDF. Imagine the impact we could all make with better integration with the city. I feel it’s possible and that is something we see as one of our central goals.

It is hard to talk about dreams and not mention those who put their dreams on pause as they have been called to reserve duty in the Israel Defense Forces (IDF). In Tel Aviv, veterans who are Olim make up a notable part of the community. Their absence is still noticed, as so many of them were called to reserves following the October 7th attacks. Their seats often remain empty at work and at Shul. I have heard of these struggles firsthand. Many business owners and employees in important roles are IDF reservists who are still serving in Gaza and on the northern border. They are unable to work. Because of this, entrepreneurs are losing business. Veterans who are Olim will especially need more business opportunities and local support and awareness of the programs and possibilities that already exist.

Many Olim have also immigrated to Israel at an age where their military service is no longer required. They often come from the United States, United Kingdom, Canada, South Africa, and Australia, and often work at international companies in Tel Aviv. Sometimes, their Hebrew skills are weaker than others. Those of us who are Olim on the city council believe that it is important to strengthen them and provide those who need access to city information and municipal benefits online so that the growing wave of immigrants that are arriving have the best chance of succeeding with their new lives as our neighbors in Israel.

This is why Olim should care about the upcoming election in Tel Aviv. Our numbers are growing during the war and are expected to boom afterward. We want to be in a position to help make the transition smooth and seamless for those who don’t speak Hebrew or understand the system. I believe that the Oleh community has the numbers to make a major impact in this election and bring a real change to our status in the city. Turning out to vote on February 27 will not only make Tel Aviv a much friendlier city for Olim when the next municipal election takes place and will also make our lives a lot better much sooner.

“Mamanim: In Support of Olim and Young Adults” (גב)
About the Author
Daniel Gindis is the Founder & CEO of Kerem House (one of Tel Aviv's largest community events organization) and is Running for Tel Aviv City Council with The Mamanim Party - גב (headed by Haim Goren).
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