An Inside Look into Israel: 5 Interesting and Influential Israelis in Politics
Have you ever visited Israel? Perhaps on a Birthright Israel trip ? As a tourist, you probably know about Israel’s Prime Minister (Binyamin Netanyahu) and maybe even the country’s President (Reuven Rivlin). Here is a list of five other interesting and influential Israelis making their mark in the country’s political sphere:
1. Ayelet Shaked
This former military sergeant, wife and mother of two is a woman to watch! Currently the Israeli government’s Justice Minister, Shaked has lobbied to promote gender and ethnic equality in the IDF and on the job, as well as for the rights of new immigrants. Unafraid to speak her mind and lay down the law, Shaked is a champion of Zionism and a beacon of light in a complex political tunnel.
2. Pnina Tamano-Shata
After immigrating to Israel from Ethiopia as a toddler and succeeding in passing the Israeli Bar, the Yesh Atid Knesset member became an advocate for the rights of Ethiopians living in Israel - and has yet to waver in the face of discrimination, at times leading heated debates in the Knesset plenum, later to go viral online. An advocate for all victims of racism, inequality and opposition, including teachers, children and residents of the periphery, Tamano-Shata has MC’d for panels and national events and advocated for her causes through the media and various PR channels.
3. Boaz Wachtel
While his political party, Ale Yarok, has yet to garner enough votes to join the government’s coalition, Boaz Wachtel remains a driven Israeli in politics, working tirelessly to promote social and medical cannabis-related legislation. Wachtel also leads the party in its advocacy for institutionalized prostitution and gambling, free trade and the expansion of existing human rights.
4. Rachel Azaria
Rachel Azaria is all over social media, broadcasting her views on better parental rights in the workplace and allowing women to fight in IDF combat units, among others. With degrees in psychology and conflict, Azaria uses her knowledge to strengthen family ties, relations between Israelis and Arabs and fight for those who cannot stand up for themselves.
5. Yaakov Litzman
The Health Minister is fighting tooth and nail to improve the next generation’s nutrition from the get-go, pushing for healthier school lunches and improved labelling of store-bought goods. Yaakov Litzman, an ultra-Orthodox Jerusalemite with no formal academic education, is one of the government’s most popular ministers, particularly among secular Israelis, due to his fairness in policy making, avoiding giving preferential treatment to his own sector. These five active Israeli politicians are integral cogs in the wheel that keeps Israel turning. Now that you know a bit more about them, your next Israel trip will be that much more meaningful to you - and may even drive you to encourage others to travel to the Holy Land or join a Birthright Israel trip of their own.