Merav Michaeli 370.
(photo credit: Courtesy Knesset)
The best thing that the American president can do with regard to resolving the
Israeli-Palestinian conflict is nothing, Labor MK Merav Michaeli told members of
the Foreign Press Association at the King David Hotel in Jerusalem on
Neither side wishes to be pressured, explained Knesset newcomer
Michaeli, a former journalist and feminist activist who threw her cap into the
political arena last October.
“Israelis need to want an agreement,” said
“Every time Israel is pushed by the Americans or the Europeans,
there is an Israeli ‘sick dynamic’ that says the whole world is against us and
only wants what is best for the Palestinians.”
Every round of
negotiations that achieves nothing is harmful, remarked Michaeli, adding that
every time there is an alleged offer by Israel that is rejected by the
Palestinians, the level of trust and the level of hope go down.
better not to start another round of hopelessness,” she said.
who believes in the land-for-peace formula, made it clear that her vision for an
agreement includes exchanges in Jerusalem.
“If you’re not willing to
compromise on Jerusalem, you don’t want to compromise at all,” she
The Labor MK stated that despite objections from certain right-wing
political quarters, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu was interested in resuming
negotiations with the Palestinians.
“Netanyahu knows that without
negotiations you can’t maintain the status quo,” she said. “What he wants is
negotiations that don’t go anywhere and don’t change reality as we know
Michaeli expressed her belief that pressure will not solve the
question of haredi enlistment either.
“Coercion is not the way to bring
about change,” she said, arguing that any such pressure will “cause them to
segregate against attacks from the outside and to protect their
She also defended the haredim against what she referred to as
constant slurs which paint them as idlers living off others.
them do work,” she said.
Not afraid to criticize the Left as well as the
Right, Michaeli argued that in order to be a leader in Israel, you have to
“Fear is a very bad guideline,” she said, without
“Israel is not the victim it conceives itself to be. It is
the strong side in this neighborhood these days,” added Michaeli.
lambasted Netanyahu for creating an aura of fear with regard to Iran, and was
equally critical of the Left for using other fear tactics to get the people to
sit up and take notice.
Despite the fact that the haredi parties are not
in the current government coalition, Michaeli warned, little would change in
matters of religion and state under national-religious leadership, which is no
less rigid than the haredim despite their smiles and smaller, colored
“There will [still] be no civil marriages,” she declared.