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Yotam Avizohar, Director, Israel Bicycle Association

When he started to work in public planning, architect Yotam Avizohar came face-to-face with the fact that planners in Israel do not take the public into consideration, despite all the pronouncements to the contrary. A lifelong nature lover, he began to volunteer at the Israel Bicycle Association and later coordinated planning projects for the association.

“I didn’t have the training or the tools for the work I was doing,” says Yotam, who now directs the association. “From Shatil I’ve learned community organizing, how to work with the media and with a board of directors, how to lobby, how to build coalitions, how to draw up a budget – everything I need to know for my work. In Shatil courses, I also connect with other activists. Shatil helped us grow from a local Tel Aviv organization to a national one with a country-wide agenda.”

With guidance from Shatil, Yotam’s organization recently convinced Israel Railways to allow passengers to bring bicycles onto trains. Israel Bicycle Association has also lobbyed for legislation which would encourage people to use their bicycles for transportation – by creating bike lanes and by providing economic incentives for people who ride to work. “Bicycles are a healthy, affordable, and environmentally and socially sound alternative to cars. We are concerned not only with bicycles but also with the the creation of a vibrant civil society. Shatil is leading the way.”

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$250 million to Israeli social change groups since 1979.