Blue and White MK Alon Tal will host a virtual town hall forum in English on Zoom on Sunday evening on matters of religion and state.
Tal, who was born in North Carolina, said that as an American Israeli, an important part of his job as a parliamentarian is to maintain a steady connection with his constituents.
Because Israel does not have a geographical representational system, he said that he sees all of the English speaking community in Israel and around the Jewish world as communities he represents in the Knesset.
This open discussion offers an opportunity to consult with the public, share his impressions and help to formulate his priorities in the area of religious pluralism for the coming year, Tal said.
“Many supporters of Israel have high expectations of the new government to adopt policies that are more tolerant and supportive of different streams of Judaism,” he said. “After all, our prime minister [Naftali Bennett] had his bar mitzvah in a Conservative synagogue. Notwithstanding the sentiment, the devil is in the details and progress as of yet, quite frankly, has been disappointing.”
Tal will introduce the team to lead the newly-established “English speaking bureau” in his Knesset offices.
Headed by Tel Aviv engineer Teddy Fischer and American environmentalist Rachel Binstock, who has recently come to Jerusalem on the prestigious Dorot Fellows program, the bureau will try to answer the questions that English speakers have about environmental policy issues and other challenges in Israel. In special cases, it will help people in the Anglo community solve problems in their interactions with government agencies.
A veteran environmentalist, Tal is presently promoting a series of legislative initiatives, which are encountering varying degrees of pushback from different government ministries. His bill to monitor biodiversity has already passed the first reading and will be reviewed in a hearing at the Interior and Environment Committee on Tuesday morning.
Another bill sponsored by Tal that will come to a vote on Sunday at the Ministerial Committee on Legislation aims to better organize government funding for environmental groups.