As Environment Minister Gilad Erdan (Likud) was sworn in last Thursday, he was welcomed by a SHATIL initiative: articles by leading environmental activists laying out their hopes, agendas and advice. The initiative was a collaboration between SHATIL and the Hebrew language website, Hasviva (the Environment).
Among the 17 environmental leaders were MK's Ophir Pines Paz and Dov Khanin; Dr. Shmuel Brenner, former director of the Environment Ministry; Yossi Sarid, former environment minister; university professors; heads of Haredi, Arab and other environmental organizations; and SHATIL's own Avi Dabush, director of SHATIL’s Environmental Justice Project. Dabush represented the project at the swearing-in ceremony.
Dabush's article, entitled "First among the Portfolios," began: "Congratulations on your appointment to the role of minister in a government office of the highest importance, but the least considered in the State of Israel…Act as though your portfolio is the most important…Open your heart and your door to civil society organizations. Israeli environmental organizations and activists represent an ideological, community, professional and value laden spirit. Bring all these to your work…"
The initiative is just the beginning of SHATIL and the environmental organizations' attempts to advocate for real environmental change with the new government.