During the campaign, Kadima sent then-MK Ronnie Bar- On to persuade people in
its election commercials to vote for the party. Part of the strategy was to
guilt people into voting for the party by comparing the record of Kadima leader
Shaul Mofaz to unknown candidates in rival parties.
One of the
comparisons Bar- On made was with Labor secretary- general Hilik Bar. The
commercial attacking Bar was unwise and backfired. Anyone who compared Mofaz to
Bar would see that the Kadima leader led his party to the edge of political
oblivion, while Bar was instrumental in building Labor from a party that was
seen as having no future to the voice of young socioeconomically- minded voters
around the country.
Now Bar is a new and vibrant MK, while Bar-On can
only watch the Knesset on television.
Bar is expected to be one of the
new Knesset’s top voices on socioeconomic issues. If he succeeds in building his
own career like he built Labor, he could have a bright future
Name: Hilik Bar
Hometown: Born in Safed,
moved to Jerusalem to attend high school and fell in love with the city.
Returned after the army to study at the Hebrew University, lives in the Baka
Family status: Married to Edit, son Harel, 2.5
before becoming an MK: Secretary-general of Labor and Jerusalem city council
member. Held tourism and foreign relations portfolios in
Why did you decide to enter politics?
Because I wanted to
help people in poor neighborhoods in the periphery like the one where I grew up.
I saw in high school when I went to my friend’s houses how cities in the Center
of the country have theaters, community centers, afterschool programs, etc. I
wanted to change the fact that Israel was like two states. I also wanted to
explain Israel’s positions abroad and advance an end to the Middle East
What are the first three bills you plan to propose?
still a secret, but they will be about helping the periphery and involving the
public in parliamentary work in the Knesset.
What was the most
interesting experience on the campaign trail?
Seeing people understand that
there is a Right and Left on socioeconomic issues in this country, and not just
on the diplomatic issue. People saw that even though they were right-wing on
diplomatic issues, on socioeconomic issues they were very Left. It translated
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?
The many women and young people will bring a new spirit to
the Knesset with legislative innovation and a focus on issues that were
There is a new generation that cares about the state and that is
making its voice heard. I have no problem with there being more religious MKs,
as long as their actual power is proportionate to what they have in the Knesset
and the state. I don’t want them to be able to blackmail for more than they
Do you think haredim and Arabs should perform military or
national service, and if so, how should the state enforce it?
should do army or national service and Arabs national service. It should be
enforced by agreement and understanding as much as possible.
make every effort for that. But if not, just like we were forced to serve, so
should they [be forced to serve].
Do you support a religious- Zionist
chief candidate, such as Rabbi David Stav, for the chief rabbinate?
I have not
studied this issue enough yet. What can be done to lower the cost of
housing in Israel? First of all, contractors who get land from the state must be
obligated to devote a certain percentage (20-30 percent) to affordable housing
for poor and young people. The state should subsidize a percentage of the
apartments for public housing.
There should be more building of homes for
What do you think can be cut in the budget, which must be passed
within 45 days of the government’s swearing in?
There must be reforms in the
defense budget. That ministry gets a lot more than is proper.
priorities must be changed: more for welfare, health and education, less for
defense and foreign affairs.
What is your position on talks with the
Palestinian Authority and a possible Palestinian state?
There should be
immediate, unconditional talks with the Palestinians. I am for two states for
two peoples with land swaps. I am against dividing Jerusalem and making
concessions in the city. I am against allowing a single Arab refugee back, but
they should be compensated.
There were prime ministers who tried and
failed but [Prime Minister Binyamin] Netanyahu did not even try.
we fail again, it is worth trying to separate from the Palestinians. There
should also be a regional approach so we can attempt to make peace with the
entire Arab world.
Do you support the adoption of the Edmund Levy Report,
which recommends the state approve unauthorized Jewish settlements in the West
No. I am not an extremist against settlements but illegal outposts take
money away from the welfare of the people as a whole.