Meet the new MK: Shlomo Karhi of Likud

The link between the social and the economic areas is one of my fields of expertise and I want to bring it into the public arena.

Shlomo Karhi of Likud (photo credit: MAARIV)
Shlomo Karhi of Likud
(photo credit: MAARIV)
Name:  Shlomo Karhi
Party: Likud
Age: 37


Family status:
Married, father of six

Profession before becoming an MK:
Lecturer in the Department of Management, Bar-Ilan University

Why did you decide to enter politics?
As the eldest son of a family with 17 brothers and sisters, and a resident of the southern periphery of the State of Israel, I meet with families and young people who despite working hard and trying their very best, simply cannot make ends meet. I would like to provide them with better opportunities and level the playing field. Coming from the periphery myself, I am genuinely familiar with these issues and intend to raise the socioeconomic banner within the Likud.
What are the first bills you plan to propose?
The link between the social and the economic areas is one of my fields of expertise, and I want to bring it into the public arena. A recent example of the latter is the bill I initiated jointly with MK Yoav Kisch to do away with mortgage prepayment penalty.
The bill, approved by the Knesset Economics Committee for second and third readings, will open the mortgage market for competition, and will provide young couples and apartment buyers with an opportunity to improve their loan terms without paying a fine of tens of thousands of shekels. I intend to expand the bill so that it applies retroactively, and plan to lead it in the next Knesset until it is finally approved. Drafting a bill is a daunting and complicated process; the ability to present a law that brings together different realms requires familiarity with the world of economics and with the needs of society – a slot I would like to fill.
What was the most interesting experience on the campaign trail?
Without doubt, the encounter with young people in dozens of panels across the country – their intriguing questions, their thirst to know, to recognize and to influence. This involvement of young people in the way the country is run is very inspiring, and has given me the feeling that despite the existing differences in opinion and our disagreements, most of us still strive to live in good companionship together for the benefit 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?
One of the goals of the campaign is to sharpen the differences between the camps. This, of course, does not mean that it is permissible to make serious accusations against one another, such as accusing one of treason and so forth. However, now that it’s all over, I think both sides have to act with mutual respect... and act for the public good.
What is your position on US President Donald Trump’s expected peace plan and on a possible Palestinian state? 
I think that to date, Trump has proved himself to be a true friend of the State of Israel and of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, so there is no need to be concerned. However, this is still a purely theoretical question because the other side is not willing to recognize Israel’s right to exist.
What should the government’s response be to growing global antisemitism?
“A little of the light repels much of the darkness,” [said Rabbi Avraham Yitzhak Hacohen Kook]. I believe that it is necessary to increase Zionist activity, encourage aliyah, and continue to develop the excellent foreign relations that have been created with many countries in recent years as part of the Israeli public diplomacy effort around the world.
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?
I believe in maintaining the status quo regarding the State of Israel as a Jewish and democratic state.

How do you think the government should address the matter of haredi [ultra-Orthodox] enlistment in the IDF?
As a member of an ultra-Orthodox family and as someone who served in the IDF in the Nahal Haredi in the Netzah Yehuda battalion, I think that reality has proved that by means of dialogue, and creating the right conditions for the recruitment of haredim, there is definitely room for that. And indeed, [the haredi] recruitment rate has been rising steadily. At the same time, when Yair Lapid tried to use coercive and forced measures, he destroyed so much that many of us had built beforehand. According to our sages: “Our feet stood at your gates Jerusalem.” Who caused our feet to stand in the war? The gates of Jerusalem that dealt with the Torah. We must find the proper combination between the important value of Torah Research Division in the service of the State of Israel and the current security needs.

What can be done to lower the cost of living?
Housing payments constitute the most significant factor in the cost of living. In this regard, two levels must be addressed. One is the cost of housing payments to banks, which constitute 50% of the housing price and which have increased in the past decade, following various interest rates and commissions. The second is the prices of the apartments themselves, and here one should consider selling land at a reduced price to young couples. It should be noted that already in the 1950s, the poor already acted in a similar way and provided an adequate response to the housing problem.

What will you do to help 400,000 Anglo Israelis?
I will need to explore this matter further. I would be happy to be involved and assist as much as possible.
Is there something else people should know about you?
It is important to remember that even if there are, naturally, differences of opinion and disagreements, I am here to serve the entire public. I would like to see myself as a family man, and a sensitive people-loving individual who hates oppression and tries to please God and people.