Meet the New MK: Likud’s Boker wants to improve emergency services

Nava Boker’s husband, who was the Hadera Police chief, was killed in the 2010 Mount Carmel forest fire.

Likud MK Nava Boker (photo credit: FACEBOOK)
Likud MK Nava Boker
(photo credit: FACEBOOK)
Name: Nava Boker
Party: Likud
Age: 44
Hometown: Hadera
Family status: Widow with two children
Profession before becoming an MK: Journalist for 20 years for local newspapers and Channel 1, as Welfare Reporter, PR professional.
Boker’s husband, who was the Hadera Police chief, was killed in the 2010 Mount Carmel forest fire and she founded the Lior Boker Foundation in his name in 2012 to improve firefighting training and supplies. Boker led the public battle to found the Israel Fire and Rescue Authority, and the government invested NIS 1.3b in emergency services following the Carmel fire.
Why did you decide to enter politics?
To promote emergency preparedness and save lives, I spent a lot of time in the Knesset, knocking on MKs’ and ministers’ doors. I helped found the Caucus for Emergency Services, but after six months, the government fell apart. I realized that it would be easier to push these issues from the inside, where I can submit a bill myself without having to chase people to do it for me. I already feel the difference; I get hundreds of emails and proposals on all kinds of topics and problems.
We haven’t officially started working, but I’ve been working the whole time. [The Knesset’s Passover recess ends on Monday.]
What are the first three bills you plan to propose?
Today [Wednesday], I proposed my first bill, which was very exciting for me. It calls to have one, joint emergency hotline for police, firefighters and MDA [Magen David Adom]. The hotline will get all the calls and send people to the right entity that is supposed to take care of them. People get confused and don’t remember the different numbers, and important time is lost. This can save lives. Ten years ago, my husband fainted at home and I found him in a pool of blood.
I was so stressed that I accidentally called the firefighters and only after did I call MDA. Every minute counts in saving a life. I hope this bill will pass as quickly as possible.
Last week, on Remembrance Day [for the Fallen of Israel’s Wars], I received many messages from members of bereaved families who want to separate the day from Independence Day. There are 60,000 families who have trouble celebrating our country’s independence because they had a very emotional day. Separating the holidays by one day shouldn’t be a problem.
What was the most interesting experience on the campaign trail?
Election Day was on Lior’s birthday, and every year we go to the monument [for those who died in the fire] and lay flowers. My father said to me that Lior would get a birthday gift [and Boker, 25th on the Likud candidates list, would be elected to the Knesset]. The results were a big surprise on a personal and emotional level. It was very symbolic.
This Knesset has a record high number of women and Israeli Arabs. How do you think this will affect the way it functions and the kinds of changes it brings? [Boker was elected to the slot for a new woman in the Likud primary.]
I’m very happy that the number of women went up. We are over 50 percent of the population, but not many of us are in management and command positions, and it’s not because we are less talented.
What is your position on talks with the Palestinian Authority and a possible Palestinian state?
I think at the moment we don’t have a partner for peace.
Unfortunately, Prime Minister Netanyahu has to continue the way he has until now, facing the PA and the world with determination and responsibility, because we have no other choice. We saw what happened when we gave [the Palestinians] territory – we got terrorist attacks, kidnappings and other horrible actions.
What impact do you think the tension in US-Israel relations will have on us in the next few years?
I don’t think the impact will be very big. The US was always Israel’s friend and it will remain that way. Disputes are legitimate, they existed in the past, and relations stayed fine, and that will happen now, too.
What should the government’s response be to growing global anti-Semitism?
The main response should be good public diplomacy to change Israel’s image. Unfortunately, some Jews cause anti-Semitism [by making anti-Israel statements]. We need to silence them. Maybe we should pass laws that people who harm Israel or act against it should be fined or punished. There are so many Arab countries surrounding us, and we only have one Israel. We have to protect it.
What can be done to lower the cost of housing?
I’m not an expert on housing, but I thought moving IDF bases from the Center to the Negev could help. There were supposed to be 100,000 new homes built where the bases were. Unfortunately [Yesh Atid chairman Yair] Lapid stopped the project. Now that he’s not finance minister anymore, I hope the project will move forward.
What should the government do to lower the poverty rate?
I’m for raising minimum wage to NIS 30 [an hour]. I think it’s very important, but we also have to check how it will influence other parts of the economy. I don’t want to jump into things and make declarations; I’m careful and have to investigate more.
Is there something else people should know about you?
Quality of life is important, but before that, we have to make sure we can live and have a country, because we are in existential danger from the Iran deal [with world powers]...
Now everyone realizes the prime minister’s warnings were right and we have to make sure Iran doesn’t have the tools to destroy us. We have to emphasize national security, all the while dealing with social issues.
We just had an ugly, unpleasant election full of defamatory statements. This is the time to say: Enough. Let’s make life a little bit better here.