Meet the MK: Shuli Muallem

First in a series on new members of 19th Knesset: Bayit Yehudi’s Shuli Muallem wants to lead the battle for equality in burden of national service.

Bayit Yehudi's SHULI MUALLEM 370 (photo credit: Bayit Yehudi)
Bayit Yehudi's SHULI MUALLEM 370
(photo credit: Bayit Yehudi)
The Jerusalem Post will interview many of the 48 new incoming MKs in the coming weeks, asking each of them the same questions. First is Shuli Muallem, who learned Thursday morning that she would be a new MK because her party received additional votes from IDF soldiers.
Name: Shuli Muallem
Party: Bayit Yehudi, 12th on list
Age: 47
Hometown: Neveh Daniel
Family status: Married, 7 children
Profession before becoming MK: Nurse, but in recent years served as chairwoman of IDF Widows and Orphans Organization
Why did you decide to enter politics?
I believe it is very important to be active for the State of Israel and the people of Israel. Whoever has the talents and the humility must try to do something meaningful. It’s a great thing to be able to influence the Israeli public, and I think it is very important to be involved.
What are the first three bills you plan to propose?
I haven’t thought about bills, but there are three topics that I want to focus on. First, I want to be one of the leaders in the process of bringing equality in the burden of service. Second, I want to minimize the gaps between the periphery and the Center, and finally, I want to deal with Jewish identity.
What was the most interesting experience on the campaign trail?
It was very interesting to meet different kinds of people, thousands from all parts of Israeli society – Jewish and Druse, women and men, young and old. I enjoyed hearing them and their hopefulness, and to see people that care about our country.
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 fact that there are many women is a blessing; it’s great. Women lead changes for the better. I also think that many people want the discourse [in the Knesset] to be driven by values, which is excellent.
Do you think haredim and Arabs should do military or national service, and if so, how should the state enforce it?
Certainly. All citizens must serve. We, as a state, need to create more possibilities to do so, but everyone must be equal in their service.
Everyone should serve in the optimal place for the country, for society and for him or her self.
Do you support a religious-Zionist candidate, such as Rabbi David Stav, for the Chief Rabbinate?
Of course. The Bayit Yehudi thinks it is an important mission to bring back the light to the Chief Rabbinate.
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Someone who is socially involved, served in the army, must stand at the head of the rabbinate.
The chief rabbi plays so many roles for so many parts of society, and he needs to be involved in all of them.
What can be done to lower the cost of housing in Israel?
The Bayit Yehudi has a great, excellent plan, which I hope we can implement. First of all, lands must be unfrozen so there can be more construction, and more homes should be built in the periphery.
What do you think can be cut in the budget, which must be passed within 45 days of the government’s swearing in?
I think we need to look for things that can be cut that don’t hurt core activities [of ministries], like duplicates and extraneous expenses.
The cuts should not be in services to citizens. The last thing that should happen is for cuts to harm the middle and weaker classes; those people already live with great difficulties.
What is your position on talks with the Palestinian Authority and a possible Palestinian state?
I oppose a Palestinian state, and think that only Israel can be in the Land of Israel. I don’t have a problem with talks; it depends on their starting point.
Do you support the adoption of the Edmond Levy Report, which recommends the state approve unauthorized Jewish settlements in the West Bank?
Certainly.The report is one of the most important things to happen under the last government. I hope, with God’s help, that this will lead to the authorization of more settlements.