Sunday night was glorious–the kick off of the Knesset campaign for the Green Movement-Meimad. Over a thousand people, in a Young Judaea-like circle so the center of activity was in the center of a huge auditorium. The crowd was diverse, energized. The inter-weaving of the environmental and the Jewish values was natural, appreciated, revolutionary for Israel. Melchior, who heads the joint list, has served as chair of the Knesset environmental and social lobby for a decade, passing the key peices of green legislation. He also has a Jewish heart. “A state that spends six times as much on the education of a Jewish child as on an Arab child, is not a Jewish state,” he stated provocatively and with the approval of the crowd. “A state that continues to pollute its air is not a Jewish state…” and so on. The uniting of these two streams within Israeli society is the most exciting and revolutionary development in Jewish life today, with potential reverberations across world Jewry, especially if we get into the Knesset this time. From there, I rushed to Ben Gurion and am now in DC for the festivities.
Today was the Jewish community’s official inauguration gala, with David Axelrod (Obama’s top political strategist), actress Debra Winger, UJC head Joe Kanfer, Elie Wiesel and others. Senator (I hope) Al Franken also attended, along with 750 other influential Jews. Great to see so many friends. Tomorrow is the historic day, followed by the Balls. Anyone also attending the Mid-Atlantic Ball, please call me 617 899 3282.
Dear Peoplehooders, Friends & Family, Following the campaign kick off on Sunday evening in Tel Aviv for the Green Movement-Meimad Knesset campaign, I’ll be zipping in for the DC celebrations and hope to see people at two events:
**at the Jewish Community Inaugural Reception on Monday
** and the Presidential Inaugural Mid-Atlantic Ball on Tuesday.
My U.S. cell is 1 617 899 3282; since I’m not sure about Internet access, email both my emails at YosefA@aol.com and Yosef@AravaPower.com
Apologies in advance that I am unlikely to have much time during this trip outside of these events and a handful of key meetings with potential investors for the Arava Power Company. NYC on Thursday, Boston on Friday. Finally, a President dedicated to renewable energy.
The economic cabinet of the Government just decided to declare the Arava and Negev a special renewable energy zone, accelerating all our efforts. This, after 2.5 years of activism, is a gratifying win. And a valuable one. Those interested in information about investing in the Arava Power Company, please be in touch with me at Yosef@AravaPower.com. My cell is 011 972 54 692 2008. There will be press tomorrow on this historic decision. Here comes the sun!
A key concern of environmentalists in Israel about solar energy is the plans the government has for the open desert spaces. The Ashelim bid covers between 4-6000 dunam, a huge area. And if the government plans on one of these solar areas in open spaces each year, there is a fear for not only the natural view, but the eco-systems. Gili Sofer, a fellow Green Movement-Meimad party member and Knesset candidate, runs an important environmental blog in Hebrew, Sviva.
The Arava Power Company plans solar fields within the existing boundaries of kibbutzim and other established zoned areas and will not use open desert areas. In fact, the first field at Ketura will be within the Kibbutz’s industrial zone. Gili posted this news on his website today and correctly distinguished our eco-friendly strategy from the large industrial strategy. Click here to read the article, as well as the link that he wrote back in May when Al Gore was visiting Israel. (It’s in Hebrew).
I found a similar concern this evening at the Arava Institute, where I sometimes guest lecture. Read more
Ehud Zion Waldocks’s Jpost story on the Public Utility Authority’s granting of first solar licenses in Israel, to the Arava Power Company and to Edig.
Israel issues first solar licenses
The first licenses to build photovoltaic (PV) and thermal solar-energy plants have been granted, the Public Utility Authority announced Wednesday.
The Arava Power Company received the first PV license in Israeli history on Tuesday Read more
We are very proud to announce that the first license for the production of solar energy in the history of the State of Israel was awarded today to the Arava Power Company, for a 4.9 MW field at Kibbutz Ketura. This is an important step for the Arava Power Company yet a great leap forward for the State of Israel. Those interested in exploring a possible investment in a second private placement round should be in touch with me during the next 3-4 days at Yosef@AravaPower.com.
Some press coverage:
Globes Hebrew: http://digital.globes.co.il/Repository/ml.asp?Ref=R0hOLzIwMDkvMDEvMDcjQXIwMTgwMg==&Mode=Gif&Locale=hebrew-skin
Globes English: http://www.globes.co.il/serveen/globes/docview.asp?did=1000414408&fid=942
Maariv: Coming Shortly
Jerusalem Post: http://www.jpost.com/servlet/Satellite?pagename=JPost%2FJPArticle%2FShowFull&cid=1231167306808
It’s quiet here in Sderot, the epicenter of the civilian tagets of Hamas mortar and missiles. It’s quiet now. Earlier, when I was out in the field on solar energy business nearby, you could hear not only the planes overhead but every once in a while, the BOOM, BOOM. “Don’t worry,” my driver said. “It’s from our side.”
Israel just announced a humantiarian cease fire from 1-4pm, starting just now. I went to the bank here, since the lines are shorter than in eilat today, for obvious reasons. My driver used to be with the airforce, knows what to do if the sirens go off with the 15 or 30 second warning. The town is largely empty, with lots of army and reporters.