Michaeli: We can't afford to be skeptical about peace

Labor MK known for feminist views calls out haredi-free government for denying WoW right to pray at "everyone's national treasure."

Merav michaeli speaks with man 370 (photo credit: LAHAV HARKOV)
Merav michaeli speaks with man 370
(photo credit: LAHAV HARKOV)
Regardless of personal opinions about Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, Israelis must not be skeptical about peace talks, MK Merav Michaeli said at an event in Tel Aviv for her supporters Sunday.
Speaking in an unusual setting for a political event, a beachfront bar and lounge, with a sign for “Tel Aviv Surfing Academy” behind her and the sound of crashing waves in the background, Michaeli, the second-ranking woman in Labor, told her party’s MKs, members and other supporters invited via her Facebook page not to lose hope for peace.
“Maybe Prime Minister Netanyahu entered negotiations for the wrong reasons. Maybe he himself doesn’t really know what he wants to happen there. We can’t allow ourselves to be skeptical. We, who know that peace with our neighbors is our number one interest, should not be too cynical and say ‘nothing will come of this,’” Michaeli stated.
“We have to support these negotiations, even if we aren’t conducting them – and we, of course, would do a much better job – and we have to want them to succeed,” the Labor MK added. “Peace and justice with our Palestinian neighbors are the key to peace and justice amongst ourselves.”
Michaeli, who became known for her feminist stances as a print, television and radio journalist, criticized the government for its stance on Women of the Wall, saying that despite leaving haredi parties in the opposition, it is “trampling women’s right to pray according to their custom at the Western Wall,” which she called “everyone’s national treasure.”
“This government is just another example of secular men who line up with haredi men when it comes to women’s rights,” she added.
“The Western Wall belongs to all of us!” Still, Michaeli called for her supporters not to lose hope despite what she called an unjust and disappointing government, paraphrasing Dr.
Martin Luther King Jr. on the 50th anniversary of his “I Have a Dream” speech saying she dreams of a more just and equal society.
“In this fight for justice, we cannot give in to hatred and bitterness. We cannot waste our energies on antagonism and violence, and we cannot despair,” she stated.
The Labor MK turned to her supporters and said, “Gloria Steinem, a great American feminist, said long ago that a woman can be either a feminist or a masochist. I say to you: You can be social activists or masochists. If you’re here, it must show that you left masochism to other people.”
Nearly all of Labor’s MKs, including opposition leader Shelly Yacimovich, as well as presumed leadership candidate MK Isaac Herzog were in attendance, drinking bubbly white wine and soft drinks and schmoozing with Michaeli's supporters.
Before Michaeli spoke, MK Binyamin Ben-Eliezer (Labor) introduced her as one of the MKs who accomplished the most in her thus-far short tenure as a lawmaker, pointing out that she has built relationships with politicians across the political spectrum.
“[Michaeli] has a great future ahead of her,” Ben-Eliezer predicted.