Israel Beiteinu MK Anastasia Michaeli has revealed the identity of the person who first got her involved in politics: Yair Lapid.

In an exclusive interview published in Wednesday’s edition of The Jerusalem Report, Michaeli, who had been banned from the Knesset for a month after throwing a glass of water at MK Ghaleb Majadele (Labor), explains that Lapid approached her well before the 2006 election and invited her to join the now-defunct Shinui Party headed by his father, Tommy Lapid.

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Michaeli says she rebuffed his overtures and opted to join Kadima before moving on to her current home at Israel Beiteinu, with which she won a Knesset seat in 2009. She also reveals that even when she was campaigning for Kadima in 2006, she was already an admirer of Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman, her current party chief.

She has refused to speak to the media since her Knesset ban in early January.

News of his approaching Michaeli – unknown until now – will likely increase scrutiny of the past activities of Lapid, until recently a popular TV talk-show host and newspaper columnist.

Lapid had claimed he was uninvolved in political activity until his announcement two weeks ago that he would run at the head of a new party in the next general election.

The Michaeli story marks the debut of British-born Matthew Kalman as the new editor-in-chief of the Jerusalem Report.

Kalman, 50, has been a foreign correspondent based in Jerusalem since 1998, reporting for such titles as Time, Newsweek, The San Francisco Chronicle, The Boston Globe and USA Today. Kalman is also a sought-after media lecturer and the co-director of the documentary comedy Circumcise Me: The Comedy of Yisrael Campbell. His reporting on Israeli education and innovation has been featured in the Chronicle of Higher Education, as well as MIT’s Technology Review. Before coming to Jerusalem, Kalman was the founding editor of New Moon magazine in London.

“I am delighted to be joining the talented team at the Jerusalem Report, a magazine I have admired ever since it was founded in 1990, and I was its first London correspondent,” Kalman said.

“I aim to bring a different style and new ideas to help the magazine meet the challenges faced by a print publication in the digital age,” he said. “We will introduce sharper writing and a more modern design by Art Director Michal Cohen, that I am confident will please our current readers, attract new ones and bring back some of those we have lost over the years.”

In addition to the interview with Michaeli, the new issue sees the return of Leslie Susser as diplomatic editor, with a column on the Lapid phenomenon, and a feature story by Ziv Hellman, economic editor, on the Dead Sea crisis.

“The magazine will feature world-class reporting by top writers and analysis from the finest commentators around,” Kalman said. “We are planning new sections on hi-tech, travel, food and fashion to complement our outstanding coverage of diplomacy, security and economic issues. We will also be expanding the books and arts sections.”

Kalman was appointed at the beginning of January to take over from Eetta Prince-Gibson, who departed after five years at the helm of the magazine.

The Jerusalem Report is published by the Jerusalem Post Group, but remains editorially independent. It was founded by Hirsh Goodman in 1990. Its former editor David Horovitz went on to become editor of The Jerusalem Post until his departure last year.

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