Meet the MK: Michal Biran
Third in a series on the 48 new members of the 19th Knesset: Labor’s Michal Biran says budget must be more transparent, calls for regulation in housing market.
Labor MK Michal Biran Photo: Shelly.org.il
Incoming MK Michal Biran, a former assistant to Labor leader Shelly Yacimovich,
is one of several young social activists on the party’s Knesset slate. She
shared her goals and ideas on a break from organizing a protest to keep her
party out of Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s coalition.
Hometown: Tel Aviv
Family status: Single
before becoming an MK: Lecturer and doctoral student in political science at Tel
Aviv University; before that, assistant to now-Labor leader Shelly Yacimovich
Why did you decide to enter politics? I decided to enter politics one day after
the last election. I realized that as a Zionist, a social democrat and a
pragmatist, my only choice was Labor, so I rolled up sleeves and started to get
experience and work on changing Labor from the inside.
What are the first
three bills you plan to propose?
They’re already written and [have appeared] on
my Facebook page since the Labor primary. The first is to make the budget
more transparent, and give MKs a month to learn it and prepare for votes on it.
The second bill is to provide better conditions for outsourcing employees, and
give them conditions comparable to government workers, as a way to give
businesses less of an incentive to outsource. The third is a public,
nonprofit pension fund.
What was the most interesting experience on the
The night before the election, I participated in a parlor
meeting late at night. I found myself with [Meretz candidate] Mossi Raz, [The
Tzipi Livni Party candidate] Yoel Hasson and [incoming Bayit Yehudi MK] Ayelet
Shaked. It was so close to the election that you could feel the excitement in
the air. There was a special atmosphere that I can’t really
This Knesset has a record high of women and religious people.
How do you think this will affect the way it functions and the kinds of changes
I hope the high amount of women will be a change for the better, but
being a woman is not enough. I hope to find that more people will be willing to
fight for the interests of citizens of Israel and not just for the rich. As far
as religious people are concerned, I’m secular, so it doesn’t excite me in
particular. It doesn’t bother me if someone is religious or not, I care what
their ideology is. I’m glad [the] Strong Israel [party] didn’t pass the election
Do you think haredim and Arabs should do military or national
service, and if so, how should the state enforce it?
I think everyone needs to
serve, but I disagree with the campaign for equality in the burden.
think it is exclusionary and negativistic and won’t bring real solutions. I
think the government needs to give scholarships [to haredim and Arabs] so they
can find employment, which will increase the feeling of solidarity with society,
so they will want to enlist in military or civilian service.
support a religious-Zionist chief candidate, such as Rabbi David Stav, for the
I haven’t given this much thought, so I don’t have an
What can be done to lower the cost of housing in Israel?
needs to be regulated, not lawless. Every building authorization given must
include a percentage of apartments for rent, and there should be laws not
allowing landlords to raise rent above a certain percentage each year without
Also, contractors who received permission to build and
don’t do so in order to increase prices should lose their permit after a few
What do you think can be cut in the budget, which must be passed
within 45 days of the government’s swearing-in?
The easiest thing to cut is the
number of ministers and benefits to tycoons. We cannot cut funding for
education, welfare and health.
What is your position on talks with the
Palestinian Authority and a possible Palestinian state?
It is clear to all that
there will be a Palestinian state. The question is when and how it will
happen. The best situation is for it to be two-sided, not a fact on the
ground after unilateral [Palestinian] action, so we can defend Israel’s
interests in a better way.
Do you support the adoption of the Edmund Levy
Report, which recommends the state approve unauthorized Jewish settlements in
the West Bank?
I have nothing to say. I think it’s biased.