• Four incoming Knesset members, Stav Shaffir of Labor, Tamar Zandberg of Meretz, Shuli Moalem-Refaeli of HaBayit HaYehudi, and MK Aliza Lavie of Yesh Atid, answer questions posed by tv newsman Arad Nir

    Dave Bender
  • Incoming Knesset Member Stav Shaffir of the Labor Party

    Dave Bender
  • Incoming Knesset Member Tamar Zandberg of the Meretz Party

    Dave Bender
  • Incoming Knesset member Shuli Moalem-Refaeli of the HaBayit HaYehudi Party

    Dave Bender
  • Incoming Knesset member Aliza Lavie of the Yesh Atid Party

    Dave Bender
  • Re-elected Chairman of the Executive of The Jewish Agency, Natan Sharansky at the Board of Governors meeting

    Dave Bender
Inside the Jewish Agency

New Knesset members reflect diversity, change

A record number of women are now sitting in the Israeli Knesset

JERUSALEM, ISRAEL - Members of The Jewish Agency's Board of Governors on Sunday witnessed first-hand both the unity and diversity within the new Israeli government, as a quartet of four incoming Members of Knesset (MKs) answered disarming questions posed by Arad Nir, International Commentator and Foreign Editor for Israel's Channel 2 News.

Focused on the fact that the panel was composed entirely of female Knesset members, MK Stav Shaffir of Labor, MK Tamar Zandberg of Meretz, MK Shuli Moalem-Refaeli of HaBayit HaYehudi, and MK Aliza Lavie of Yesh Atid, Nir highlighting that with January's elections, a record-number of women are now represented in parliament.

MK Shaffir, however, parried that although progress has been made, 27 women out of 120 members of parliament is not yet something to be proud of.

All the panelists, however, did emphasize that the Israeli public had voted for a “change.” For each party, this change represents something different – whether it is a focus of what is going on inside Israel's borders, the resumtion of peace negotiations with the Palestinians, or bolstering the public's trust for parliamentarians. MK Lavie underlined what she called the “diversity” among the panelists' attitudes - reflecting the parliament as as whole.

"We came here to make a change,” said Lavie. “We can do this if we learn to work together," adding that, "Since we came there has been a change," and concluding that she hoped to see "another Israel; a better Israel for ourselves and our children."

MK Zandberg, however added a sobering proviso that, "Change is all over the agenda. If the Israeli government does not take up the challenge, it will be weak, and it will fail, and we will find ourselves at another election."

When Nir asked the panelists what they might say to US President Barak Obama on his upcoming visit to Israel, MK Shaffir directed the discussion to the international Jewish community. She said it was important to project into the future and ensure that Israel's is a future with a strong Jewish identity.

"We are a part of the same community," she said, turning to the members of the Board of Governors. "Israel is important to all of us, and we really need you—more than we need Obama."

MK Zandberg said she would congratulate the US president for his achievements within his own society, stressing that it was every Israeli's responsibility to effect the changes they want to see implemented in their own society.

17 Feb 2013 / 7 Adar 5773 0
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Margot Saffer is an olah chadasha writing from Jerusalem, Margot holds degrees in English, Media, and Psychology (cum laude), and a MPhil in Life-Writing. Her poetry, prose, journalism, and academic work have been published in three languages, on four continents. Her interests are social activism, giving voice to minority populations, and personal profiles.