web analytics
January 27, 2015 / 7 Shevat, 5775
 
At a Glance
InDepth
Sponsored Post


Brooklyn-Born Candidate Running for Efrat City Council Seat

Avraham Ben-Tzvi believes the Eitam hill, Efrat’s only remaining land reserve, must be developed urgently, or the town will lose it for good.
American oleh Avraham Ben-Tzvi (r.) with Yossi Hess (l.) and Dovi Shefler (c.) campaigning for Efrat town council.

American oleh Avraham Ben-Tzvi (r.) with Yossi Hess (l.) and Dovi Shefler (c.) campaigning for Efrat town council.
Photo Credit: Jewish Press Online

JewishPress.com  met with Avraham Ben-Tzvi, an American-born resident of Efrat running for the Efrat Municipal Council in the upcoming municipal elections this month.

The Jewish Press: Hello Avraham, tell us a little about yourself

Avraham Ben-Tzvi: Well, I was born and raised in Brooklyn, NY where my parents still live. By the way, they are avid Jewish Press readers, as were my grandparents of blessed memory, who always had the weekly copy in their home. I went to school k-12 at Yeshiva Torah Vodaas in Brooklyn. Following High School I studied at Yeshiva University and spent a year in Israel at Yeshivat Kerem B’Yavneh. In 1994 I made Aliya and worked in banking and then business development for Israeli hi-tech companies, and I have been living with my family in Efrat in Gush Etzion since 2003. A number of years back, I studied law in Israel and have since been working as a corporate and commercial lawyer.

JP: What attracted you to Efrat?

Ben-Tzvi: Naomi, my wife, and I were looking for an affordable place to live located in the Jerusalem area, where we would be able to give our children a good education as well as be part of a religious community – yet still have access to many types of services that would be found in larger cities. Efrat, which is the central town in the Gush Etzion region, fit the bill perfectly. We found a wonderful, new and growing community in the Zayit hill neighborhood in Efrat, where construction began around the year 1999. Today the neighborhood is home to many hundreds of families with children who attend the Efrat schools.

JP: How does voting work in a town like Efrat?

Ben-Tzvi: In Israel, local municipalities like Efrat have elections every five years. The voters elect a mayor on one ticket, and a slate of candidates for the municipal council. Those can be, and often are two separate and distinct choices.

One of the candidates for mayor of Efrat, Dovi Schefler, a current Efrat council member, asked me to join his list for the town council election. Everything he said made sense to me and I realized that he is the person who can take Efrat forward and turn it into the capital city of Gush Etzion, which it was intended to be. So I responded affirmatively. I haven’t stopped since.

JP: What’s your role on Shefler’s list?

Ben-Tzvi: The plan after the election is that I will be tasked with handling matters related to new immigrants, as well as dealing with environmental issues, such as development of open spaces and green areas. I hope to institute town sponsored community gardens, to be run by a community committee, as well as garden allotments developed by the town and made available to rent to people who live in apartments without a garden. There is much available open land which will likely never be built on, and can be used for these purposes. I also see these and other types of open spaces as part and parcel of proper town planning. It’s not just about pouring concrete…

JP: Speaking of environmental issues, I understand you’re known to have been involved in fighting to force the local construction companies to comply with noise and safety regulations, and that’s been an issue that’s been ignored.

Ben-Tzvi: There’s that, and I plan to continue to make progress on enforcing safety and noise regulations on building sites in Efrat for the good of the residents.

JP: Why would you run for elected office in a volunteer capacity?

Ben-Tzvi: The reality is that while the Knesset elections and national politics get the most attention in the Israeli and international press, what affects and interests the average resident the most on a daily basis is tied into local politics – their children’s education, clean sidewalks, shade in the parks (or even having parks altogether), social welfare services, housing development, recreational activities—including swimming pools and athletic fields—are just some of the basic, day to day things that impact us at the local level.

While I had previously volunteered on various town committees and community activities, after Dovi Shefler asked me to join his campaign, I thought about it and realized that the most effective way to really bring about positive change would be to sit at the main table – on the council. That’s where the real action is.

One of the valuable things I learned from my teachers and co-workers since studying law in Israel, is that knowledge of the law brings a skill set that can be used to help people in all sorts of situations. The Israeli lawyers I work with, despite our heavy workloads, are all very active with various pro-bono and community volunteer activities, and in this context it is only natural for me to want to give back to the great community that has given me and my family so much.

JP: Tell us about new housing in Efrat.

Ben-Tzvi: In Yehuda and Shomron, the local municipality plays a very important role in promoting new development. As housing in Yesha is a politically charged issue, very often if a mayor is proactive and pushes forward new housing solutions – and works together with various bodies involved in settlement activities such as the Yesha Council and Amana, the development arm of the council – his town will grow. On the other hand, if this is not a top priority for the mayor, the town will stagnate. In recent years, many children of Efrat residents who got married had to leave to other locations, since there was no suitable housing for them here. The town actually didn’t even have sufficient housing for tens of new immigrant families from the US, the UK, France and other western countries, who wanted to settle in Efrat. There simply wasn’t and isn’t available housing.

About the Author:


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

No Responses to “Brooklyn-Born Candidate Running for Efrat City Council Seat”

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
Israeli soldiers praying as IDF forces seen reinforcing presence in the Golan Heights Northern Israel.
Two Missiles Explode in Golan Heights; IDF Returns Fire
Latest Indepth Stories
.Voting in the Likud Primaries

Since the passing of the Governance bill legislation on March 11, 2014, new alignments have become to appear in Israeli politics.

The Striped Hyaena

Israel has some wild places left; places to reflect and think, to get lost, to try to find ourselves

British Flag

The British government assured Anglo-Jewry that it is attacking the rising levels of anti-Semitism.

Golan map

Obama’s Syrian policy failures created the current situation in the Golan Heights.

Our journey begins by attempting to see things differently, only then can we be open to change.

Despite Western ‘Conventional Wisdom&PC,’ the Arab/Israeli conflict was never about the Palestinians

Confrontation & accountability, proven techniques, might also help dealing with religious terrorists

In fact, wherever you see soldiers in Paris today, you pretty much know you’re near Jewish site

Inspired by the Perek Shira pasuk for “small non-kosher animals” we named the bunny “Rebbetzin Tova”

The abuse following publication proved a cautionary tale: no one followed in Peters’s footsteps

Plainly, there is no guiding hand dictating choices across the board.

How many sites that tell you to check your politics at the door have 10,000 likes?

In this particular case, the issue was whether the Arkansas prison system could prohibit, for security reasons, a devout Muslim’s maintaining a beard of a certain length as a matter of religious practice.

While we recognize the Republican Jewish Coalition is hardly a non-partisan outfit, a snippet from a statement the group released is worthy of note:

More Articles from Jewish Press Staff Reporter
Drone Intercept Along Syrian Border 1

The IDF shot down a Syrian fighter jet that infiltrated Israeli air space, using a Patriot missile.

Temple Mount Contraband

Whether on or off the Temple Mount, the police just seem to love to arrest Rabbi Yehuda Glick.

The Israel Tax Authority has reached agreement with the U.S. to coordinate info between the IRS and Israeli banks.

Avraham Ben-Tzvi believes the Eitam hill, Efrat’s only remaining land reserve, must be developed urgently, or the town will lose it for good.

“They have two choices, to live in dignity or die with honor.”

Late last night The Jewish Press attended a phone briefing with IDF Spokesperson Lt. Col. Avital Leibovich. This is a transcript of the conference, with some of the figures updated.

A clip from NBC showing Olympic gymnast Aly Raisman’s parents’ reaction to her uneven bar routine has garnered close to 100,000 hits on You Tube.

The State Dept. press director Patrick Ventrell said, “We’ve seen the reports … but we do not accept the legitimacy of continued Israeli settlement activity.”

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/interviews-and-profiles/brooklyn-born-candidate-running-for-efrat-city-council-seat/2013/10/06/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: