Huldai puts Anglo oleh on council list

Originally from UK, Jonathan Javor, aide to former MK Otniel Schneller hopes to cement Western immigrants’ place in politics.

JONATHAN JAVOR with Tel Aviv Mayor Ron Huldai 370 (photo credit: Tal Duek)
JONATHAN JAVOR with Tel Aviv Mayor Ron Huldai 370
(photo credit: Tal Duek)
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.
“The 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.
“Mayor Huldai 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 list.
“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.”