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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on April 7th, 2017
by Pincas Jawetz (pj@sustainabilitank.info)

Michael Melchior is an internationally renowned Jewish leader, thinker and activist. He is a former Minister of Social and Diaspora Affairs, a former Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs and a former member of Knesset for Meimad.

Born: January 31, 1954 in Copenhagen and was ordained as an Orthodox Rabbi at Yeshivat Hakotel of Jerusalem in 1980. His father was Rabbi Brent Melchior, Chief Rabbi of Denmark.

what that omits is: He is the Rabbi of a vibrant community in Talpiyot, Jerusalem (Beit Boyer). In 1986, he immigrated to Israel and settled down with his family in Jerusalem, while still holding the title of Chief Rabbi of Norway.

He descends from a line of seven generations of rabbis in Denmark, Melchior was born in Copenhagen, Denmark

In Israel, Michael Melchior entered politics with the religious Meimad party in 1995. When rabbi Yehuda Amital was appointed minister without portfolio after the assassination of prime minister Yitzhak Rabin in November, 1995, Melchior served as Amital’s assistant. Melchior was selected chairman of the managing committee of the Meimad party in early 1996.

In the 1999 elections, Meimad ran as part of the One Israel alliance with the Labor Party and Gesher. Melchior won a seat, and was appointed Minister of Social and Diaspora Affairs on 5 August 1999, a post he held until Ariel Sharon became Prime Minister in 2001. Melchior was re-elected to the Knesset as a member of the joint list in 2003 and 2006 as Meimad continued its alliance with the Labor Party.

In 2008 Meimad broke away from the alliance and ran in partnership with the Green Movement in the 2009 elections, but failed to win a seat. On December 14 2012, on his Facebook page he said that he will quit Knesset elections.

It is this last paragraph from his biography that caused our interest in Rabbi Michael Melchior. The full story is that Peer Visner, a deputy Mayor of Tel Aviv, was running the Green Party. Visner strongly opposed a 2006 resolution by the United States Green Party calling for divestment from Israel. Visner wrote, “We are very disappointed that our sister party in the US did not consult with the Israel Green Party before passing this resolution.
We hope that this breach in trust between our entities will be remedied with an apology and appropriate action by the US Greens. Visner was no scientist, nor an ethicist – he was just a businessman that saw the advantage of Green business. That showed to be his weakness in
eyes of attackers that thought of dreams of ethics – both on the science end and surprisingly
for the Israeli tough – hands on – politics. Michael Melchior brought from overseas a few million dollars with which he helped a few scientists from the University in Beer Sheba and they formed a second Green Party – this is the one his biography alludes to.

To make things even worse – a third green party came into existence – the Green Leaf Party Marijuana – that basically was a Marijuana advocacy and people were snowed by all this green.

In short – it was the Melchior money, and the start of a personal court case, that sank Visner and the broken Greens. In fairness, I must confess that I spoke at the time with the professors to ask them to close te gap with Visner so they have a joint list. To no avail.
So they lost he 3-4 mandates they were entitled to when you add up the split votes.
That was the margin that would have kept Netanyahu out in the cold.

Melchior did not really give up from his ethics campaign. We find other pearls on his cape:

Some of these: “in September 2012, Melchior claimed that extremist Islamic leaders including the leaders of Hamas are ready for peaceful co-existence with Israel, and he added that he has “yet to meet with somebody who is not willing to make peace” with the Jewish state of Israel, placing the onus for lack of peace with extremist Islamic movements on Israel.

A Center for Conflict Resolution by Agreement which Rabbi Melchior serves as its Chairman. The center serves as a professional address for establishing understandings and agreements between individuals, organizations, groups and communities. The center believes in every person’s abilities to resolve conflicts and to operate in cooperation with the aid of tools from the realm of mediation. Mosaica supports the activities of 33 mediation and dialogue centers across the country with the aim of making the activities accessible to an array of communities in Israel. Thus individuals, groups and communities can contribute to a cohesive and respectful Israeli society.

Another initiative of Rabbi Melchior is Kulanu that seeks to strengthen the Jewish character of the State of Israel, enhance democracy and foster unity through its diverse projects. Kulanu is best known for its Chagim BaKehilla (literally: holidays in the community) program, which provides religious services for secular Jews for many of the Jewish holidays. Kulanu worked with Teva Ivri to launch the Shmita Yisraelit program. Programs: • Chagim BaKehilla • Shmita Yisraeli (in coordination with Teva Ivri) • Meitarim: Inclusive Jewish Educational Network • Yom Kippur Shel Kulanu • B’Yachad: For a Shared Jewish Democratic Society

In 2010, Melchior involved himself in economic issues. he co-founded the Israel Civic Action Forum which promotes higher taxation on income from the extraction of natural resources, and the use of the tax income for higher government spending to increase government spending on welfare, education and health.

Surely – none of those are bad ideas. We could have honored Rabbi Melchior more had he shown up in his hometown when the whole Green World was there in 2009 at the COPENHAGEN Conference of the Parties dealing with CLIMATE CHANGE. To us this was a sign that all that attack on the Greens of Israel was just a paid for destruction move – or call it what you want. is success was then beyond his hopes. If he wanted attention – he surely got it.

Today, April 7, 2017 – with the Middle East upheaval, and Israel alking elections, Rabbi Melchior was listed to speak on – “Did we really Came Out From Egypt?” I am sure he has
prepared again cutting words. But for what purpose? I could not find out because at the
Brodt Jewish Culture Center at 22 Zeitlin Street, Tel Aviv, Ms. Aygneska Kapuchinska refused to honor my Journalism ID and asked me to provide my credit card in order buy a ticket
for 50 Shekel. I preferred to write this up without the benefit of his pearls.
He may think I am an agnostic – to which I will answer – yes butareal Green one.

Having been in Israel for 5 weeks – I do indeed predict rain and also that shortly many creatures will show up after these 10 years of leadership drought.

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