‘Captain Sunshine’ mulling presidential run

Solar energy pioneer Yosef Abramowitz considers running for Israel's next president.

Peres listens to Yosef Abramowitz as wife Susan and her sister comedian Sarah Silverman look on. (photo credit: Courtesy)
Peres listens to Yosef Abramowitz as wife Susan and her sister comedian Sarah Silverman look on.
(photo credit: Courtesy)
Israeli-American solar energy pioneer Yosef Abramowitz is considering throwing his hat in the crowded ring of presidential candidates in the election expected to be held in May, he revealed Sunday in an interview with IBA English News.
If he chooses to run, Abramowitz would join a field that includes Likud MK Reuven Rivlin, Labor MK Binyamin Ben- Eliezer, Nobel Laureate Dan Shechtman, and possibly ministers Silvan Shalom and Uzi Landau, former Knesset Speaker Dalia Itzik, MK Meir Sheetrit, and former Supreme Court justice Dalia Dorner.
“If the Knesset decides that they don’t want the brand equity of the presidency to be an aging politician, but instead to be Israeli innovation to change the world, inspiring the next generation, and bringing massive investment to the Israeli economy, they know who to call,” Abramowitz told anchor Erin Viner on the show.
He said afterward that he believes he currently has the world’s best job: building solar fields in Israel and around the world. He said his efforts, including a solar field he is building in Rwanda, serve to enhance Israel’s international standing.
But Abramowitz said friends have been pressuring him to run because of his eloquence in English, understanding of world Jewry’s concerns, experience fighting anti-Israel boycotts, the growing role of Anglos contribution to Israeli society, and the importance of preventing the presidency from falling to a “mediocre politician elected in backroom deals.”
Abramowitz said he would prefer that Jewish Agency chairman Natan Sharansky run for president, but it is considered unlikely that Sharansky will field his candidacy.
He noted the importance of the presidency over the seven year term ahead in which Israel may face serious international challenges. Although he has run for the Knesset in the past, Abramowitz would present himself as an outsider who can help Israel at such a critical time.
“I don’t see myself as a politician,” he said. “I’m a change-maker. My Zionism is not of the Right or the Left but of the pioneering spirit of the Arava, Jerusalem, hi-tech, and social justice.”
Abramowitz, 49, made aliya with his wife and five children from Massachusetts in 2006 and soon after co-founded Arava Power Company at Kibbutz Ketura.
Dubbed “Captain Sunshine” by his colleagues, Abramowitz has inaugurated a 4.95-megawatt, solar field on Kibbutz Ketura. CNN recently named Abramowitz one of six global “Green Pioneers.”
His wife, Susan Silverman, is a Reform rabbi and the sister of comedian Sarah Silverman. Abramowitz said his wife would be “the best first lady” and would inspire the Jewish world.
“I still say I’m not running, but if 20 MKs from five parties decide what I can offer is important, I’d speak to my family and investors,” he said. “Otherwise I’m perfectly happy saving the world with solar power without adding complications to my life.”