Meet the new MK: Michal Shir of Likud

"We are an ancient nation in a young state and this is the time to protect our home and develop it for the citizens," Michal Shir said, "to create a better life."

Michal Shir, Likud MK  (photo credit: Courtesy)
Michal Shir, Likud MK
(photo credit: Courtesy)
Name:  Michal Shir
Party: Likud
Age: 39
Hometown: Tel Aviv
Family status: Married +2
Profession before becoming an MK: Founder of the Israeli Center for Political Training (ICPT), and before that, a political adviser
Why did you decide to enter politics? I have been a political activist in the Likud from age 14. After that, I worked in many positions, including with [Prime Minister] Benjamin Netanyahu and [minister] Gideon Sa’ar. The main reason was to protect the state. We are an ancient nation in a young state and this is the time to protect our home and develop it for the citizens, to create a better life.
What are the first bills you plan to propose? I want to deal with the matter of applying sovereignty to Judea and Samaria, small and medium business’ problems and helping victims of sexual assault.
What was the most interesting experience on the campaign trail? It was most interesting to get to meet the wide variety in the population, whether in towns in the periphery, Tel Aviv [where she was elected as regional representative on the Likud list] or Judea and Samaria and hear the questions and problems of the varied population of the State of Israel.
This election has been notable for especially negative campaigning. What do you hope to do to bring people together after these divisive months? We are one people. A lot of opinions are represented by the different parties, but our real power is in our unity. I want to see a more unifying discourse from all sides in the Knesset.

What is your position on US President Donald Trump’s expected peace plan and on a possible Palestinian state?
When Trump presents his plan, I’ll be able to respond to it. I do not deal in speculations.
What should the government’s response be to growing global antisemitism? Unfortunately, there was always antisemitism. Anti-Israel sentiment is antisemitism in disguise. The best answer is, first of all, to maintain a strong Jewish state in the Land of Israel. The current picture is very worrying. The new antisemitism comes from radical Islam in Europe. The previous and current government led by Netanyahu is making great diplomatic efforts to eradicate the phenomenon, and with the help of good ties in powerful points in the international arena, we have had successes. But antisemitism is not a rational thing, and unfortunately, we have seen it throughout Jewish history.
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 are a country with a variety of faiths and we are still learning how to live together respectfully. The status quo is very important in keeping the delicate fabric of Israeli society. There are things that can be change, but it must be done wisely and sensitively and not provocatively or sharply.

How do you think the government should address the matter of haredi enlistment in the IDF?
In my opinion, a law will not make the change. The change most be gradual and social. We saw in the past that enlistment laws of different kinds did not bring about enlistment in practicality. Centers for haredi integration were opened and we should continue working towards a social change.
What can be done to lower the cost of living? We should continue in a free market policy and encourage competition.
What will you do to help 400,000 Anglo Israelis? I would be happy to learn about the subject in-depth to know what can be done to help the English-speaking immigrant population. There is much to be done, not just to encourage Aliyah but to create a good life here in Israel.
Is there something else people should know about you? I am coming from a real love for the Land of Israel and the people of Israel. I ran in this election while pregnant and giving birth out of a sense of commitment to make a change.