The Green Party Wants Israel to Know: Ecology Is Just as Important as Iran

Since running for the first time in 1999, the Green Party has been through five campaigns, nearly passing the electoral threshold in 2006.

Sefi Krupsky
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Israel's Green Party in Tel Aviv during the 2013 elections.Credit: No credit
Sefi Krupsky

Until the last minute, it wasn’t clear that the Green Party would contest next month’s election. The rise in the electoral threshold, coupled with the public focus on the largest parties, made its members wonder whether launching another campaign was worth it. But once they decided to run, party chairman Amir Meltzer and his colleagues decided to focus on the environment.

Under the provocative slogan “They don’t give a f---,” the party hopes to remind voters that environmental issues are no less important than Iran’s nuclear program, and perhaps even more so.

Meltzer said that initially, the party had been mulling various innocuous slogans about the environment and sustainability. The turning point came when he asked one media outlet to give his party coverage and was advised in response to streak across the beach in Tel Aviv. “Did you also ask [Yesh Atid chairman Yair] Lapid to run naked?” he retorted.

“That’s when we decided that if they want aggression, they’ll get aggression,” Meltzer said.

Meltzer, a lawyer and a former deputy mayor of Metula, founded the Green Party in the 1990s, together with his predecessor as chairman, Peer Visner, whom he replaced before the 2013 election. Visner, as he did last time, will help the campaign behind the scenes.

Since running for the first time in 1999, the Green Party has been through five campaigns. The closest it ever came to entering the Knesset was in 2006, when it won 47,595 votes, or 1.5 percent of the total. But since the electoral threshold then was 2 percent, it wasn’t enough.