New Tel Aviv party seeks to unite immigrants and native Israelis

Ichud TLV also seeks to build bridges between secular and religious Israelis.

From left to right: Chaim Silber, Gaby Daniel and Marina Smolyanov (photo credit: SIMCHA BITAN)
From left to right: Chaim Silber, Gaby Daniel and Marina Smolyanov
(photo credit: SIMCHA BITAN)
A new party running in the upcoming Tel Aviv municipal elections, seeks to build bridges between different communities that make up the city’s fabric, including new immigrants and native Israelis, and secular and religious residents.
The party is named “Ichud TLV,” meaning “unity Tel Aviv,” and is led by native Israeli Gaby Daniel, together with Ukrainian immigrant Marina Smolyanov and US immigrant Chaim Silber.
Daniel, 30, was born in Tel Aviv, moved to the US as an infant and returned to Israel at the age of eight. He grew up in an ultra-Orthodox household, became secular and today considers himself to be part of the religious-Zionist community. His background both as somebody who had to adjust to life in Israel as a child, and as somebody who has experienced secular and religious life and landed somewhere in between, are key to his inspiration to connect communities in Tel Aviv.
“Our party is focused on connections,” Daniel told the The Jerusalem Post on Sunday. “The idea is to take the new immigrants out of their bubble – out of all the events that they do just with each other – and turn them into Israelis.” Daniel cited language, culture and social life as key aspects in this.
The party addresses this effort with, for instance, a program for native Israelis in Tel Aviv to “adopt” an immigrant, to help them navigate various aspects of life in Israel.
The party also strives to help make bureaucracy easier for new immigrants and to create a community center specifically for olim (Jewish immigrants to Israel.)
Another key connection the party seeks to make is between religious, traditional and secular Tel Avivians.
It was in Tel Aviv that Daniel learned that a balance of secular and religious life is possible.
“I host many Friday night dinners and I know that afterwards other people continue to the bars, and in this way we can all live together,” he said.
Daniel asserts that today there are municipal parties that represent either secular residents or Orthodox residents, but not all those in between. Ichud TLV seeks to be the go-to party for the traditional, modern Orthodox, and religious-Zionist communities in Tel Aviv.
Their platform includes increased budgeting for cultural and community activities, particularly at synagogues that demonstrate that they have regular organized activities. It also seeks to open more religious-Zionist educational institutions in the city center as well as summer camps for that sector.
Young people are a prime target for the party, whose candidates are all in their late twenties or early thirties.
A large part of their platform is dedicated to community management, aiming to improve and expand access to community centers, and to enable young people to study or socialize together. The party also seeks to bring together residents of Tel Aviv’s individual neighborhoods through the use of social media, as well as dedicate an area of City Hall as a “neighborhood forum,” where representatives of different neighborhoods may present any pressing issues their residents are encountering. The party also seeks to encourage and facilitate ongoing dialogue between the various segments of Tel Aviv’s young residents.
“We believe in true cooperation and connection between the secular, traditional and religious sectors of our city, as well as between the communities of new immigrants and long-time residents,” the party states. “For us, the biblical commandment to ‘treat others as you would like to be treated’ isn’t just a slogan – it’s a way of life. It facilitates true understanding, based on the desire to live side-by-side in cooperation. This is done by embracing individuality, on the one hand, while accepting those who are different on the other.”