Prominent Israeli Activist to Speak on Danforth Campus

Etai Pinkas, a leading Israeli activist, will speak at two programs on Monday, November 14. The first event, entitled “From Water Recycling to Urban Green Spaces: A Talk with Israeli Environmental Leader Etai Pinkas,” will take place at 4p in the Women’s Building Formal Lounge and will be followed by a light reception at 5p. The talk is co-sponsored by WashU Hillel, Student Union, the Office of Sustainability, Hillel International, and Jewish United Fund’s Israel Education Center. At 7:30p, Pinkas will deliver a keynote entitled, “Marriage Equality & LGBTQ* Issues in Israel,” in Umrath Lounge. The keynote is co-sponsored by WashU Hillel, Nice Jewish Queers, WashU Students for Israel, Hillel International, and Jewish United Fund’s Israel Education Center. Both events are free and open to the public.

Named one of the “100 most influential people in Israel,” Pinkas is the driving force behind a recently approved project to cap Tel Aviv’s main freeway, the Ayalon Highway, with a green space for recreational activities, bike and walking trails, and cafes. This project will transform the most congested infrastructure zone in the Middle East into a massive green space and vibrant urban center.

Pinkas is known for advancing projects that have previously been put on hold, such as progress toward establishing an Israel Sewage Expressway and upgrading sewage infrastructures throughout the Gush Dan region. In 2008, Pinkas was awarded the highest accolade in Israel’s environmental community — the “Green Globe” — for his work transforming the Dan Region Association of Towns into a 100% recyclable organization during his tenure as Chair.

Pinkas also served as Chairman of the national LGBT association in Israel and advises the Mayor of Tel Aviv on LGBTQ* affairs. He and his partner have challenged the legal system in Israel to recognize same-sex marriages and provide equal accessibility to the surrogacy process in Israel for same-sex couples. Both of these issues have reached the Israeli Supreme Court through his appeals.

For more information, contact Jackie Levey, Executive Director, Hillel at Washington University, at jackie@washuhillel.org.