Meet the MK: David Tsur
David Tsur, No. 6 on The Tzipi Livni Party list, is one of two new incoming MKs from his party, but is no stranger to issues of public and personal security after over 30 years with the IDF and police.
Incoming MK David Tsur Photo: Courtesy The Tzipi Livni Party
Name: David Tsur
Tzipi Livni Party
Resides in: Givatayim
Family status: Widower, 3
Birthplace: Turkey, made aliya in 1965
Profession before becoming an
MK: Israel Police Tel Aviv District Commander 2004 – 2008, Border Police
Commander 2004 – 2008
Why did you decide to enter politics?
That’s a tough
question. I spent 30 years in public service, and left five years ago to work in
the private sector.
I opened a consulting company on large sporting
events, like the Olympics and the World Cup, and was a strategic adviser to
states fighting terror and serious crime. I’ve known Tzipi Livni since 1990,
when she was a lawyer doing pro bono work for an organization that had to do
with the YAMAM, and I was YAMAM commander. We have been in touch since then, and
she asked me to join her because of our similar worldview on diplomatic and
socioeconomic issues. If it wasn’t for her, I wouldn’t have considered entering
politics, but I also suppose I wanted it in some way.
What are the first
three bills you plan to propose?
I don’t have prepared bills that I can propose,
but there are topics that interest me. I’m connected to social issues, like
kibbutzim and moshavim in the Negev, and personal security, which is what I
dealt with in my career. I want to cut bureaucracy that creates bottlenecks and
stops businesses from opening and developing. Getting permits is a long, tiring
story for citizens and local authorities. Of course, what I can do depends what
position I’m in [in the Knesset].
What was the most interesting
experience on the campaign trail?
Meeting people on the ground, like on the
party’s week-long bus tour of Israel. I saw a lot of admiration for me, as
someone coming in from outside of politics, from security. I wasn’t seen as an
average politician. I saw excitement and was very surprised by the level of
involvement and volunteerism.
When I was in the private sector, I wasn’t
aware of the level of desire people had to be involved in public life. It felt
good to see that people cared.
This Knesset has a record high number of
women and religious people.
How do you think this will affect the way it
functions and the kinds of changes it brings?
I’m a very liberal person, and I
always thought that to attempt to catalog people by gender or kippa is a
mistake. In my eyes, that should not have meaning. People should be [in the
Knesset] because of their talents, abilities and ideology; that’s it.
fact that there are many women in the Knesset will bring improvements in the
status of women. I don’t see any reason for gaps in salary that still exist
despite laws against it. There should be gender equality in everything. I hate
the exclusion of women, a dark trend that I don’t understand. I hope the knitted
kippot [religious Zionists] in the Knesset don’t think that way.
the Knesset’s 48 new members will bring a change in its public image. Every
other person that knows me asked why I would want to “get dirty” in the Knesset,
but I don’t think public service should be seen as dirty.
Do you think
haredim and Arabs should do military or national service, and if so, how should
the state enforce it?
Definitely yes. I think it’s for their own good, and for
the good of the state. I don’t believe there will be full equality in the
burden, because even within the secular population, not everyone is carrying it
the same way.
For those who do serve, only 10-15 percent do reserve duty
after their two or three years in the army.
We don’t need [haredi
soldiers] charging up hills [in combat service], but we want them to be part of
the national partnership, and gradually make it into the workforce. I also think
we don’t need to put people in jail if they refuse to serve. We need to come to
understandings, because we are dealing with people. Now that the election and
the propaganda are over, we need to get down to details. This is a strong time
to make change. The people spoke, and this is one of the central topics on
voters’ agenda. Even the haredi parties understand this situation can’t
I think it’s a bigger threat than external ones.
person who put this issue on the agenda is former OC Human Resources Maj.-Gen
Elazar Stern (res.) Elazer Stern, No. 4 on our list.
He composed the plan
that [Yesh Atid leader] Yair Lapid adopted.
Do you support a
religious-Zionist chief candidate, such as Rabbi David Stav, for the chief
Yes. In my opinion, we need whoever, at the end of the day, will be a
bridge that can connect people to Judaism but understand needs in a secular
pluralist society. He needs to make marriage and conversion easier, and allow
same-sex marriage, but still preserve Judaism. We should stop the paternalism on
family life, but do what we can to bring people closer [to Judaism].
can be done to lower the cost of housing in Israel?
This is a very complicated
issue, but in general, we need to stop profiteering from the land and make it
more available to entrepreneurs so the supply is larger.
has been trying to increase its income from land, while businessmen have to
spend more to use it, and that cost is passed on to the people. It will be worth
it to build if there is regulation making land cheaper and requiring 14-15% of
apartments to be public, affordable housing. The criteria to live in public
housing should be ability to make a living, not number of children or how many
years a couple was married or other tricks that we need to get rid of.
need to start in the periphery.
In my eyes, the city in which I grew up,
Ashkelon, is not the periphery. If there is good public transportation, it will
bring down prices, and we can convince young couples to live there.
also think populating the Negev and Galilee is a national mission.
the problems can’t be solved when there's a big deficit, so [politicians] need
to stop sloganeering.
The deficit needs to be covered first, otherwise a
big drop in housing prices could bring an economic crash, like in
What do you think can be cut in the budget, which must be passed
within 45 days of the government’s swearing-in?
I’m not an expert in all areas of
the budget. I know the defense budget needs to be cut, and we need to make
Checks can’t be written if they’re not covered, which is
what happened with the last government’s promises of free dental care and
education from age three. Now there’s a huge deficit.
I’m against taxes
on the middle class and the poor. We should have progressive taxes and not VAT
on fruit and water, where everyone pays the same amount. We also need general
cuts in government offices, but with a balance to avoid unemployment, so it
doesn’t bring a recession.
We can still increase the
Inflation is bad, but it’s easier to control than high
unemployment. On the macro level, our economy is good, and that is a credit to
the last government.
The most important thing in my opinion the best
thing that can happen to our economy is handshake between the prime minister and
PA President Mahmoud Abbas. Peace will bring more than any economic model, and
will increase investments.
What is your position on talks with the
Palestinian Authority and a possible Palestinian state?
We cannot abandon
diplomacy or be silent about it. The election campaign is over, and now we need
to deal with the real problems. [The Tzipi Livni Party] will raise this flag no
matter how many seats we have. We need to sit in a room and put someone [who has
won] a high level of trust [from the Palestinian Authority]. The diplomatic
process Livni led in the time of former prime minister Ehud Olmert reached a
very high level, and may have been completed if the government hadn’t fallen
There’s a crisis of trust on both sides. The government has good
reason not to trust the PA after a long settlement freeze that led to
Still, when we negotiate, they don’t shoot and the world doesn’t
try to take the lead on talks.
In the last four years, what happened is
something we didn’t want, the internationalization of the process. We’re an
independent country strong enough to make our own decisions, but we still
haven’t done that.
We can hold onto a dream that I believed in for a long
time, of the entire Land of Israel, but there are dreams and there’s the reality
we need to reach in the end. Livni offers two states for two nations, settlement
blocs, a united Jerusalem, Israeli forces on the Jordan River and border