Progressive political non-profit aims to disrupt upcoming local elections

July 25, 2018 15:49
2 minute read.
Top line (Left to Right): Tal Elovits, Ido Stossel - Bottom line (Left to Right): Efrat David Sasson

Top line (Left to Right): Tal Elovits, Ido Stossel - Bottom line (Left to Right): Efrat David Sasson, Boaz Gur, Omer Sechter, Rotem Yadlin, Inbar Hochberg. (photo credit: YUVAL WIEZN)

A new movement called Mekomi is aiming to use the October 30 municipal elections to help local government better serve the people of Israel.

Mekomi is registered as a political party for technical reasons, but its young founders and co-secretaries-general, Tal Elovits and Ido Stossel, consider it more of a start-up.

“We are a non-profit initiative that looks at local authorities as the key to changing government in Israel,” Elovits said in an interview Wednesday.

“Mayors and city council members have power but lack knowledge of how to use it. We believe Mekomi is a platform for building bottom up a better society and a better Israel.”

There are 257 local and regional authorities in Israel.

Mayors and their top deputies receive salaries, but regular city council members are volunteers, and Elovits said they are not taught how to govern. For instance, after they are elected, they must immediately pass a municipal budget, without knowing what to look for in a budget.

Unlike in the national government, where elections are held every two to four years, local governments last five years. It is nearly impossible to topple them, unless they are dissolved due to corruption.

This enables them to enact five-year-plans and be more effective than national governments that have less stability.

“This playground is not being targeted by any force that sees the importance in municipalities,” Elovits said.

“They aren’t paid or taught.

Lacking knowledge, time, and funds weakens municipalities.

We came to the understanding that there must be a network on the basis of shared ideology to help local governments leverage their power and give them tools to enable them to perform better.”

Mekomi has a liberal agenda on core values that have nothing to do with international issues: Fair education, supporting pluralism in the public sphere, using communities to support communities, social justice, environment, city planning transparency, transportation, culture, and finance capability.

The movement represents candidates for city councils in Tel Aviv, Haifa, Yokneam, Ra’anana, Rosh Ha’ayin and Netanya.

Four underdogs are running for mayor, including Tirat Hacarmel council member Efrat David Sasson, who is running against incumbent Arye Tal from Likud; Adi Sternberg, who is running against Ramle mayor Moshe Avidar; former minister Meir Sheetrit, who is running against incumbent Zvi Gov-Ari in Yavne; and Rotem Yadlin, daughter of former IDF OC Intelligence Amos Yadlin, who is running against Peter Weiss in the Gezer Council.

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