Meet the New MK: Idan Roll, Blue and White

I was a social activist my whole life in different areas, working with special-needs children, with underprivileged populations and with [Diaspora communities] with the Jewish Agency.

Blue and White MK Idan Roll (photo credit: Courtesy)
Blue and White MK Idan Roll
(photo credit: Courtesy)
Name: Idan Roll
Party: Blue and White
Age: 35
Hometown: Tel Aviv
Family status: 1 child, with his partner
Profession before becoming an MK: Business development manager, model and TV host, head of Yesh Atid’s LGBT group

Why did you decide to enter politics?
I was a social activist my whole life in different areas, working with special-needs children, with underprivileged populations and with [Diaspora communities] with the Jewish Agency. When we [Roll and his partner, singer Harel Skaat] began planning our future family, I understood that I must enter the political arena, because that is where our rights our determined. I realized that I understand what my community needs and I have the motivation to bring about change.
What are the first bills you plan to propose?

Increased penalties for hate crimes against LGBT people. There are repeated incidents of violence against the gay community, of which I am a member, and they must be dealt with. In addition, I want to promote mandatory classes on tolerance and on accepting the other in our public school system.
What was the most interesting experience on the campaign trail?
As part of the campaign, I visited a lot of schools and met youth from around the country. I was happy to see that they have clear democratic and liberal views. I am calm about the future generation of voters.
This election has been notable for especially negative campaigning. What do you hope to do to bring people together
after these divisive months?

These elections were full of slander, which I find unfortunate. The citizens of Israel deserve an election with clear redlines. Now that it is over, the government must remember that its job is to serve the entire public and be concerned with those who did not vote it in, as well. I will protect the democratic system with all my might, including an independent judiciary, free press and strengthening law enforcement, to ensure that the voice of the weak can always be heard.
What is your position on US President Donald Trump’s expected peace plan and on a possible Palestinian state?

Peace is something to which we must always aspire, but every diplomatic plan having to do with Israel… must fully and uncompromisingly protect our security and national interests.

What should the government’s response be to growing global antisemitism?
The prime minister should appoint a full-time foreign minister and rehabilitate the Foreign Ministry, which was split between six different ministries. Jewish communities in the world justifiably expect the government of Israel to take this issue very seriously. “Never again” is not just a saying: we must translate it into action, every day and every hour.
Do you support maintaining the status quo on religion and state – including issues like marriage, public transportation on Shabbat, kashrut, the Western Wall and others?
We must continue making sure the status quo is suited to the developing character of Israeli society. I support civil partnerships, equal rights for the gay community, recognition of Reform and Orthodox conversion, the Western Wall compromise and limited public transportation on Shabbat, among other positions.
How do you think the government should address the matter of haredi (ultra-Orthodox) enlistment in the IDF?

I think all citizens of a country must contribute their part. It is just and it is what keeps us a united society, and not just a collection of individuals… Therefore, I think that the haredim must contribute in one of the following [two] ways: Serving in the IDF or national service. It is the government’s responsibility to make sure haredim are integrated without religious coercion or women being excluded from the public sphere.
What can be done to lower the cost of living?
One of the significant factors in the cost of living for young couples is the lack of public education before age three. Promoting a law that regulates education from birth to age three will reduce the cost of living by about NIS 30,000 per family.
Is there something else people should know about you?
As a major in reserves, I was one of the founders of “green intelligence,” a special track for enlisting haredim into the Intelligence Corps. As part of the course, I interviewed hundreds of haredim from all different streams and commanded dozens of them. They learned a profession in computers and were able to be integrated in the civilian market or continue in a military career.