Israel’s Youngest Knesset Member Sworn In Today
Media Advisory: For Immediate Release
New York, NY, February 5, 2013
Two years ago, a young Israeli woman made headlines and history as the leader of the unexpected “social protest movement” that brought hundreds of thousands of Israelis into the streets demanding social justice and equality. Today Stav Shaffir made history again, when at age 27 she was sworn in as the youngest member of the new Knesset, in fact the youngest elected member in the body’s history.
Shaffir sees the victory not only as her own. Rather she sees her victory as moving the social agenda from the streets, to the ballot box and then to the Knesset. According to Shaffir, “The biggest protest movement in our history awakened Israelis from their slumber about the possibility of changing the status quo. It swept into office a new generation of politicians who are demanding our country back for the people — a generation that wants peace and a two state solution rather than an endless war. The era of rule by ex-generals has come to an end.”
“My generation, which brought hope through the protests for resolution of our social problems, now bears the responsibility to do something similar for our security issues. In order to survive Israel must address both its social problems and the question of peace with the Palestinians.”
Shaffir explained that when weeks of protest which saw as many as 500,000 people protesting on the streets of Tel Aviv brought no change, the social movement decided not to petition power but rather to take power.
“Mass mobilization haven’t been sufficient to move our government to action, so now – we the protestors are expanding our reach into parliament., We haven’t traded one form of action for another; we have simply learned to and intend to walk on both feet.”
While too early to tell what results the holding of parliamentary power will yield, Shaffir called on those throughout the world concerned with justice and equity to learn from and emulate the Israeli progressives’ actions. “I call on my fellow protesters around the world to join us,” says Shaffir. We should not leave our demands outside of the places where decisions are made, where the budget is determined. We must be everywhere.”