Naomi Tsur, deputy mayor of Jerusalem, leading the Ometz Lev party
|Deputy Mayor of Jerusalem|
|Born||8 September 1948|
|Political party||Ometz Lev|
|Children||4 children, 9 grandchildren|
Naomi Tsur (Hebrew: נעמי צור; born 8 September 1948) is an Israeli environmentalist, politician and former deputy mayor of Jerusalem. As deputy mayor, Naomi Tsur was responsible for strategic planning, environmental protection, sustainability and historic conservation. She is the head of the new Ometz Lev Jerusalem party, that ran for the city council of Jerusalem in October 2013.
Before her term as deputy mayor she was the head of the Society for the Protection of Nature in Israel in Jerusalem and coordinator of the Sustainable Jerusalem organization. In this time, Tsur fought many public environmental and social battles. The most significant was her fight to prevent urban sprawl into the Jerusalem Hills. The urban sprawl meant adding 20,000 housing units, using a western Jerusalem beltway inside the green Jerusalem hills. After taking up office in the city hall, she led Jerusalem’s recycling revolution, and integrated urban nature into planning major projects of significant public areas, such as the Gazelle Valley Urban Nature Park and the Railway Park.
- Tsur was born in 1948 and raised in Bristol. Her father, Joseph, was a professor of Medicine at the Jerusalem's Hebrew University and one of the founders of the medical center at Ein Karem. Naomi Tsur started as linguist, and in 1997, together with Arie Comey published a Hebrew-English, English-Hebrew Dictionary.
- In 1973 Tsur earned a Bachelor of Arts in archeology and classics from the Hebrew University. In 1975 she continued her education completing part of a Master of Arts in comparative linguistics from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. In addition, between 1982 and 1995 Tsur was a research fellow at the Hebrew University.
- Tsur is married to musician and composer Haim Tsur, who worked for many years at the Voice of Israel, and is the mother of four accomplished children. Her daughter Michal Tsur was named by The Inc as one of the "10 Women to Watch in Tech in 2013." Michal Tsur is also the co-founder of Kaltura and Cyota.
In 1987–95 Tsur served as chairperson of the National Religious Sector of the Jerusalem District Parents’ Committee and was appointed an honorary director of the Jerusalem Council for Children and Youth. In 1995-1996 she worked as an assistant coin curator at the Rockefeller Museum in Jerusalem. In 1996 Tsur began her 12-year tenure as head of the Society for the Protection of Nature in Israel in Jerusalem, during which she formed the Sustainable Jerusalem organization, a coalition of 60 organizations and committees around the city. In the framework of this position, she initiated the a project to detect the true land reserves in Jerusalem, whose results were among the factors that led to the cancellation of the Safdi Plan for construction in West Jerusalem.
In 1997 Tsur compiled a comprehensive English-Hebrew dictionary published by Achiasaf Publishing House.
In addition she gained approval for the first urban nature park in Israel, the Gazelle Valley, the construction of the Rail-road Park and the protection of the wild flower preservation at Neve Yaakov.
These were achieved by inviting surrounding neighborhoods to be stakeholders in the planning process. It is important to note that Gazelle Valley is currently undergoing the first phase of development with fencing and drainage preparation to create a series of lakes from north to south of the park. The Gazelle Valley covers approximately 250 acres and is the first an urban nature park of its kind in Israel, and is credited greatly upgrading the neighborhoods around the park including Givat Mordechai, Bayit Va'Gan and Ramat Beit Hakerem.
In 2007 Tsur was appointed director of SPNI branches and Urban Community Centers.
In 2009. she embarked upon the idea to establish a global network bringing together pilgrimage cities and religious communities in order to improve the conduct of host cities to ensure a green and sustainable experience. The global Green Pilgrimage Network was launched in Assisi in Italy at the end of 2011, and Tsur was appointed to be ambassador of the network.
Tsur stands at the helm of the Green Pilgrim Jerusalem team. Describing the 2013 First International Jerusalem Symposium on Green and Accessible Pilgrimage  Tsur stated: "The idea is at once both grand and simple, since while there is nothing new in pilgrimage, the idea of a global pilgrim partnership is an entirely new concept, which sets goals for urban sustainability and economic growth on the one hand, and for interfaith dialogue on the other."
Community involvement and leadership
Tsur speaks frequently at International Conferences focused on the Environment and Civil Society in Israel. She represented Sustainable Jerusalem at the World Summit on sustainable development at Johannesburg, South Africa. In 2003 she also represented the Sustainable Jerusalem, leading the delegation, at the International Healthy City Conference in Belfast. Tsur also led the delegation at the ICLEI conference in Cape Town in Spring of 2006.
Deputy mayor 2008–2013
In 2008 Tsur was appointed deputy mayor, receiving the Planning and Environmental Portfolios in the elected Jerusalem Council. Since taking up the position of deputy mayor, Tsur has demanded transparency and public inclusion in the planning process of Jerusalem. As deputy mayor she has accomplished restoring the Street of the Prophets (Haneveim) . She has also been active in building the railway park, the planned circuit of bike paths for Jerusalem. Tsur has also led in trebled recycling, dialogue with the Palestinians on sewage issues, affordable housing regulations and the removal of private cars from the old city. Under her leadership 10,000 trees were planted inside the city on Tu Bi’Shvat.
- New User Friendly English Hebrew English Dictionary. Arie Comey and Naomi Tsur. Achiasaf Publishing House. 2000. ISBN 978-1857332445.
- ‘Green’ thoughts on Jerusalem Day, May, 2013.
"Today we celebrate Jerusalem Day, our capital city’s special holiday. I believe it is worth pausing and reassessing the value we place on this unique day, marking as it does the reunification of Jerusalem, the point in time when we stopped being an intimate and cozy urban unit and became instead a metropolitan hub. Now, 46 years later, not only has an entire generation grown up that has never known the city divided, but also the time has surely come to embrace a worthy vision for our beloved capital, of a green and sustainable city with an equitable public domain."
- Green Pilgrimage: Re-framing an ancient obligation, March, 2013.
"Reviving the spirit of Jewish pilgrimage on the one hand, and planning the City of Jerusalem with a view to having the capacity to welcome millions of visitors on the other, is surely a worthy goal, and one that could inject some much needed adrenalin into the relationship between the Jewish community in Israel and that of the Diaspora. However, I believe that an essential ingredient in this proposed recipe for re-framing our Jewish world is the prerequisite of underpinning our conduct with Jewish guidelines of sustainability, responsibility and mutual respect, whether as citizens of Jerusalem or as pilgrims on their way to the most important spiritual destination in the world."
- Israel's transportation policy: contradictory, February, 2013.
"The famous car expenses built in to our salary slip are the government’s way of feeding us with a largish chunk of salary that does not contribute to our pensions. This tempts most people to buy a car, even if they don’t intend to use it on a regular basis. One of the results of this unfortunate strategy is that when we retire, our pension constitutes 70% of the basic salary we earned, but a much smaller percentage of our total salary (including car costs and other benefits) before retirement. In addition, the import of cars is a very good source of tax income for the government, and it would seem that the sale of petrol generates yet more income."
- Talking rubbish..., December, 2012.
"In a consumer society, where the economy can only grow if we consume more, both reduction in consumption and reuse of products and materials are perceived as enemies of economic prosperity. Yet in a world of climate change and fear of a global overdraft as a result of excessive use of water and other resources essential to life, what we need in fact is to consume less, by avoiding excessive spending and unnecessary waste."
- Affordable urban housing, December, 2012.
"Their goal is based on an urban ideology, and ultimately the solutions to their problems lie in the potential capacity of Israel’s cities to supply their needs. A major challenge, for example, is the need for national legislation to establish the mechanism whereby young couples can qualify for affordable housing in cities."