MK Aliza Lavie (Yesh Atid), well-known for her bestselling Jewish Woman’s Prayer
Book, brings her special brand of Jewish feminism to the 19th Knesset.
the morning of her swearing-in last week, Lavie distributed copies of the prayer
said by the prophetess Deborah, in the Book of Judges, to all 27 female MKs. She
explained that women traditionally recite the prayer upon assuming positions of
“Over 3,000 years ago, in the days of Deborah the prophetess,
it was a strange phenomenon to see a female public leader, and in Jewish
history, few women held public positions over time,” Lavie said.
there is a record number of women in the Knesset, and we cannot ignore the
positive trend. My prayer is that together with female MKs, we will faithfully
represent Israeli women and act together to promote their status in
Name: Aliza Lavie
Party: Yesh Atid
Family status: Married with four children and one granddaughter
before becoming an MK: Lecturer at the Bar-Ilan University School of
Communications. Researcher, author, columnist and social activist on
Why did you decide to enter politics?
I joined politics
because I realized that there are problems in Israeli society that cannot be
ignored anymore. There are topics that we have tried to repress instead of
solving, and today we are eating their rotten fruit, while the situation
continues to worsen.
On the day my granddaughter was born, I realized
that we are leaving heavy problems for our children to deal with and pay
What are the first three bills you plan to propose?
women in the committee to appoint judges to religious courts; redefining the
Western Wall’s status under the law; making it accessible to the entire public;
and transparency in the state budget.
What was the most interesting
experience on the campaign trail?
Meeting young people that are my children’s
age and learning how Israel appears in their eyes. Unlike the stereotypes and
insults people say about the younger generation, I saw that they were not
prepared to accept the reality in Israel as a decree of fate, and they
volunteered to make a change. People say the young generation is overly
individualistic and societal values do not interest it, but I have met young
people with values and motivation that stopped their studies and contributed
their time and energy to promote what they believe is good for the country, even
if they weren’t being paid.
This Knesset has a record number of women and
religious people. How do you think this will affect the way it functions and the
kind of change it brings?
The 19th Knesset is the most varied one, and that will
change the discourse and decisions that are made. Marginalized groups realized
that they needed to take part in the political game.
As a religious woman
who advocates for religious people’s inclusion in all parts of Israeli society
and for women in leadership roles, when I see the makeup of the current Knesset,
I believe that we are on the right path – but there is still a lot of work. In
general, I believe that the more heterogeneous a group of decision makers, the
better its decisions are, and the more they reflect the entire
Do you think haredim and Arabs should do military or national
service, and if so, how should the state enforce it?
Everyone must carry the
I don’t see [service] as a burden; rather, it is a
privilege to contribute to Israeli society. Every citizen of the State of Israel
must contribute his part. As someone who sees the Torah as important, it is sad
for me to find that many use Torah studies as an excuse to get out of
Do you support a religious-Zionist chief candidate, such as
Rabbi David Stav, for the chief rabbinate?
Haredi parties control the Chief
Rabbinate and Jewish institutions of the state and make the general public sick
We need to bring Judaism back to Israelis, and only a Zionist
rabbi who is connected to the entire society should be chosen. Rabbi Stav is a
worthy candidate, and I would be happy to see him as chief rabbi.
can be done to lower the cost of housing in Israel?
First of all, the Israel
Land Authority’s monopoly must be canceled, and the dam of bureaucracy must be
There is nothing wrong with giving half a dunam to soldiers
finishing army service, or to young couples. There isn’t a lack of land; there’s
a problem with planning and defective public administration in the
What do you think can be cut from the budget, which must be passed
within 45 days of the government’s swearing in?
I think the defense budget can
be cut, and I also hope that more women will be involved in defense issues, and
in how the budget is utilized.
What is your position on talks with the
Palestinian Authority and a possible Palestinian state?
Most of the public
realizes that the only solution is two states for two peoples.
Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said it. We need to go back to the negotiating table
and start a dialogue.