Jonathan Javor likes to spend his Friday mornings in the Carmel market. Some
people like to unwind on the beach, but between the smells of freshly baked
bread, cheeses and produce and the sounds of salespeople shouting, it’s the
perfect place for him to recharge his batteries after a long week.
best meat guy is the one that the old ladies are going to. Wherever the grandmas
go, is where you go. That’s my best tip,” he said with a grin, drinking espresso
at a Tel Aviv café Monday afternoon.
Five years after moving to the White
City from London, Javor, 31, has plenty of tips on where to buy meat and fruit,
and now which mayor to vote for, after incumbent Tel Aviv Mayor Ron Huldai put
Javor on the “Tel Aviv 1” party’s list for city council.
has done a lot to make sure that when new immigrants come to Tel Aviv they stay
here, get jobs and learn Hebrew. He very much supports and has been a driving
force in building the oleh community,” Javor said.
The Tel Aviv municipal
race isn’t Javor’s first foray into politics. Earlier this year he worked in
then-vice premier Silvan Shalom’s office as an aide for then-Kadima MK Otniel
Schneller and on the Likud’s English-language Knesset campaign. At the same
time, he volunteered in community organizing with the TLV Internationals group, which sponsors English-language events for Western
immigrants in the city.
TLV Internationals led Javor to meet with Huldai, who he found helpful and open
to his ideas. After the municipality cooperated with TLV Internationals
on several events, including monthly subsidized, subtitled screenings of Israeli
movies for immigrants and a workshop in English on how to understand and
negotiate rental contracts, Huldai asked Javor to run on his city council
“Huldai wants Western immigrants, as a community, to be more
involved in what happens in Tel Aviv. At the end of the day, he decided that
having an oleh on his list can best serve that, so his list can represent all
the communities in Tel Aviv,” Javor explained.
At the same time, Javor is
ninth on the Tel Aviv 1 list, even though Huldai’s party only received five out
of 31 city council seats in the last election. Javor, however, isn’t bothered by
his low placement on the list.
“It’s in the best interest of the
community that someone run on the list, even if they aren’t in the fifth or
sixth spot. This isn’t about whether I get into city council or not, it’s about
what’s good for Western olim,” he said. “We want to strengthen our community,
take what’s already there and make it bigger, better and give more people
opportunities. We need information out there in English, Spanish, French,
Italian, so that whoever comes to Tel Aviv stays and finds a home and a good
job. We want to help the community integrate.”
When asked whether
special services in immigrants’ native languages isolate them from Israelis,
Javor responded that the opposite is true.
“If an Anglo immigrant gets
information in English, he or she will then have the tools to know what’s
happening and be better equipped to deal with life here, so it definitely helps
them integrate,” he stated.
Javor’s major goal is to highlight the
importance of immigrants’ involvement in the White City.
“If we forget
about aliya, we forget about Israel. Israel is based on aliya! Tel Aviv exists
because 66 families, all new immigrants, built their homes on the shore and
built a city,” he said. “I love Tel Aviv. This is my home; I feel like I belong
here. It’s my city, and it’s everyone’s city.”