New Canadian-born MK vows to fight for Israel unapologetically

Haskel said she intends to use her native English to help Israel's public diplomacy.

By GIL STERN STERN HOFFMAN
September 1, 2015 22:32
2 minute read.
MK Sharren Haskel (Likud)

MK Sharren Haskel (Likud). (photo credit: FACEBOOK)

Likud MK Sharren Haskel may have been born in Toronto but when it comes to fights in the Knesset and the international battle for Israel’s image, unlike the stereotype Canadian, she will be unwilling to say “I’m sorry.”

Haskel, who made aliya with her family when she was a baby, will be sworn in to the Knesset on Wednesday afternoon in place of Danny Danon, who was appointed ambassador to the United Nations. She already officially became an MK on Thursday, when Danon’s appointment was approved, but Haskel had to wait to be sworn in until the Knesset convened in a special session during its extended summer recess.

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When The Jerusalem Post asked how her Canadian politeness would affect her ability to succeed in a rough place of work like the Knesset, Haskel stressed that she only lived a year in Canada, though she did live for a few years in Australia, where she earned her veterinary degree.

“I think it was my three years serving in the Border Police that made me fit Israeli society,” she said, referring to the force’s reputation for its member’s bad tempers. “Nevertheless, maybe being cool-headed, even metaphorically, will enable me to cool off the most fiery disputes in the Knesset.”

Haskel said she intends to use her native English to help Israel’s public diplomacy.

She will be the second native English speaker in the current Knesset, joining former ambassador to the United States MK Michael Oren (Kulanu).

“As someone who was born abroad and lived overseas for a number of years, I am aware of the huge impact of world opinion on our lives here,” she said. “I intend to take advantage of the platform the Knesset provides to make my young, unapologetic voice heard. I will display my pride in being Israeli and my values to help the ongoing fight for Israel’s image abroad.”

Haskel said that as an MK she would fight for women’s rights and a competitive economy and against monopolies and the environmental damage caused by the Palestinian Authority.

One of her first bills would expand laws outlawing prostitution to include those receiving the service among those committing a criminal offense, she said.

“The time has come to deal courageously with this phenomenon and come out against those who continue to enable prostitution to persist with their money and their bodies,” she said.

Now that Haskel is an MK, the next name on the Likud candidates list is Amir Ohana, who would be the first openly gay MK in the Likud. Ohana and his partner adopted twins last week in the United States.

The parties in the coalition intend to implement the so-called Norwegian law by next month. The legislation enables a minister or deputy minister from each coalition party to quit the Knesset in order to allow the next candidate on the party’s list to enter the parliament. If the party leaves the coalition, the minister returns to the Knesset in place of his replacement.

It remained unclear Tuesday night which Likud minister would quit the Knesset to enable Ohana to enter.


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