My guest today is Zehava Galon.
I’m pretty sure a lot of my listeners know who Galon is - she has been one of the most well known politicians in Israel for decades now, a symbol of the Israeli Left.
The list of causes Galon has fought for would take me forever to read through, she is a champion of progressive values, fighting for gender equality, LGBTQ rights, and of course, Palestinian rights, and much much more.
A couple of years ago she left parliament and her position as leader of the left wing party Meretz to form a new think tank, called Zulat, we’ll talk about that, about her vision for the future of this region, some pretty scathing critique she has for Bibi Netanyahu and his coalition partner Benny Gantz, we’ll even talk about her amazing talents on Twitter.
(2:00) Lock down isn’t fun, but it’s OK.
(5:00) She immigrates with her family at the age of 4, and tells of her life growing up in Petach Tikva
(9:00) Her father voted for Begin, her mother voted for Labor - and at 15 she met Shulamit Aloni
(11:30) Summing up 20 years of being a lawmaker in the Israeli parliament - was it worth it?
(15:00) Zehava talks about her proudest moment in parliament
(16:30) She knew she would never be prime minister
(18:00) I’ve paid a price for my views, but I never felt I should give up
(19:00) How is her think tank Zulat different than others?
(23:00) The issue of using the A-word (apartheid) in Israel
(24:00) The Abraham Accords are a fake peace, it’s fraud
(28:00) It’ll be hard to do, but she hasn’t given up on the two state solution, and above all - equality
(34:00) Israel has never paid a price for the occupation
(36:00) She wasn’t surprised by his failure in handling the pandemic. He doesn’t care about anything but his own survival
(38:00) Zehava is not sure we can call ourselves a democracy while controlling millions of people under occupation
(43:00) It was very hard for her to say that the role of the party she led Meretz is over in politics
(46:00) Zehava is fed up with generals, in response to the rumors that Huldai and Eizenkot are running
(47:30) Zehava thinks the weak leadership of Labor is why the Left is so damaged in Israel
(50:00) She speaks of her meteoric rise on Twitter
Transcript (by Otter.ai)
ami kaufman 00:00
Yeah, let's get this show on the road. Hello, I'm glad you've joined me again here on otherwise occupied podcast where I, ami Kaufman speak to anyone in everyone between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea. So how's everybody hanging in there? I'm at home in my kiama coastal suburb of Tel Aviv. I'm staying indoors as much as possible. There's a second full lockdown underway. It's been pretty tough. Got to tell you. I guess that's why it was kind of nice for me to talk to someone who is full of optimism for this place, a true fighter, someone who never gives up. My guest today is Zahava Golan. I'm pretty sure a lot of my listeners know who Golan is. She's been one of the most well known politicians in Israel for decades now, a symbol of the Israeli left, the list of causes she's fought for would take me forever to read through. She's a champion of progressive values fighting for gender equality, LGBTQ rights, and of course, Palestinian rights and much, much more. A couple years ago, she left parliament and her position as leader of the left wing party merits to form a new Think Tank called zulily. We'll talk about that, about her vision for the future of this region, some pretty scathing critique she has for Bibi Netanyahu and his coalition partner Benny guns, and we'll even talk about her amazing talents on Twitter. So, without further ado, here's me and Zahava Golan. So are you ready to start?
Zehava Galon 02:05
ami kaufman 02:07
All right. I mean, first of all, it's really great to see you. Thanks. Thank you so much for for coming on the podcast. And you're you're in I think, in Petah tikvah. Right, which is,
Zehava Galon 02:16
yes, that's right. A suburb
ami kaufman 02:17
of Tel Aviv, I guess about, I don't know, 20 minutes when there's not any traffic, it's about 20 minutes away. Exactly.
Zehava Galon 02:23
So we if we have traffic or not, yes, it might take an hour. All right.
ami kaufman 02:29
So how's how's it going with the lock? That is the second full lockdown? I mean, kind of started my discussions with everybody about, you know, how this has kind of affected their daily routine and how it's affected your life.
Zehava Galon 02:44
So I must admit that on the personal level, it's okay. You know, besides the fact that I that I don't see my grand day, my grand son and I miss him so much. So it's very hard to talk with them by you know, FaceTime and everything. But then, on the personal level, I'm okay, I work every day, you know, all my staffing Zoloft. And I speak a lot. I tweet a lot. So I don't feel it on the personal level. So from my point of view, okay, I can stay at home. But I'm so angry, so angry. So I don't like to say so desperate, because I'm not that, you know, but I'm frustrated. Maybe this is the you're frustrated about how things have been handled correctly. Exactly,
ami kaufman 03:33
exactly. You know, what I kind of, I want to, I'm going to stop here because I want to, I want to save that part of the discussion a little later. But how things are going, how things are going, we're just one more thing, a little personal, maybe, you know, a lot of people are having these. I don't know thoughts and epiphany is about life and existential thoughts, philosophical thoughts. Has any of that kind of stuff happened with you? And this you know, it's been going on for like, seven months now is did you have a different outlook suddenly? No.
Zehava Galon 04:03
No, I know, I know, what is my way this is my path? No, not at all. Really? Not at all. I have not been such a position that now I have to think over to riffing about my way my ideas whether, you know, whether I had to do like these are like No, not at all. It's not my, my style. Not at all, you know, so sometime when you know, I'm a little bit frustrated. So immediately I am I take Netflix, you know, as soon as the net send, I forget about everything. It's their problems, and then I come back. No, not at all. I know. Exactly. That fixes the queue so I'm not going to spend
ami kaufman 04:49
Okay, so Okay, so let's move on. I want to I want to let our listeners kind of get a little a view of our understanding of who's a have a go on is take a short kind of walk through history. You were you were born, um, in Lithuania. And right when when you came to Israel you were very very young I think you were about
Zehava Galon 05:10
four I was four years I was four years old. It was 60 years ago that I came from him I was born in Venus. It's a in Lithuania now and they came to Israel. And then I think that in the last 60 years and even never before there they are, we leave the year in the kind of learn how to say, how to say it in English.
ami kaufman 05:37
Yes. Like these camps where they were they brought the new immigrants and kind of made Yes, exactly.
Zehava Galon 05:41
It wasn't big, but now with us well, and since then, I've been adding to the stigma so. So my parents says folk between them a Russian polish, and Ed, so I speak all these languages, I understand I can manage all these languages. I wanted to speak in Hebrew, of course, I couldn't bear the idea that you know, they are so they're from the calusa. They say from the galouti
ami kaufman 06:07
diaspora from the
Zehava Galon 06:09
diaspora. I couldn't stand that. But since then, I'm a big bar, as
ami kaufman 06:15
you remember, do you remember when you were, I mean, as a guy, who also as a kid kind of moved around between countries? What do you remember, even though you're very young for but do you remember, you know, hardships of an immigrant family coming to a new country?
Zehava Galon 06:32
You know, I was too young to to understand that. I believe that my parents, you know, they felt that no doubt is the word cracy. against everything, it was very hard for them. But for me, as a child, as a kid, really, I didn't feel it, you know, it was part of my life, or my neighbors were from that they asked her out from different diaspora, you know, from different places around the world. So I didn't feel I don't know, I didn't, I didn't, I didn't feel it now.
ami kaufman 07:05
And here's what I also want to ask you about your childhood, at least because I see you as someone for for the long period that I've watched you, you know, decades already as a fighter. And I wondering if you were that as a kid as well.
Zehava Galon 07:23
Yes, I must admit, I was a fighter fleeing from a very early stage and from the eldery school, I believe, always, always I have to say something about, about what's going on to fight against them. I don't want to say human rights violations, because you know, it was kids violations.
ami kaufman 07:48
Zehava Galon 07:49
But and, and I think also that I was very influenced by my mother, I believe that she was a fighter too, you know, and she cared about she passed away long ago, but she cared about everything. And everything was important for her and my parents, they were Holocaust survivors. So all our neighborhood came to my to my mother, and she wrote them letters in English, there were, you know, there, they were trying to find their relatives and all that. I don't know if you know that there was such a period that people tried to, to find someone that was part of their families in Canada, in Vancouver in the States, okay. They won't lie there. So they came to my parents and my mother wrote the letters and they spoke in different languages and languages. And I remember the situation so I think that I was influenced by her by those people, that they, they were needy, they needed help. So I think that seems there. Since then, I'm there. Is that
ami kaufman 08:51
also where you got your, your progressive views? I mean, what was it was it from home? Did it get to come from from your parents? When did when did you start feeling you know, this kind
Zehava Galon 09:01
of, Okay, so my parents was a, well, I had a divided family because of my father at that time. He voted for beggin for the record. My mother voted at that time for the Labour Party. She was as we call them a pioneer. And I think that I was 15. I was very influenced by shulamit aloni. She was the she was the founder of Fox merit. You know, I was 15. I remember I was a student at the high school and she came to our school and she spoke in a new language that I didn't know at that time in your language. He she spoke about civil rights. Most of her speech was about civil rights. And what about what does it mean to be a Jew, who is a Jew? And what a civil rights is? Well, I think it was around the 70s. And I was very, very impressed by her and then I believe that since then, I started to To think about the state about the relations between state and religion, about myself, what are my views, and they think that while I, for years lay that some users for free years later, I voted for shulamit aloni. I got I got, you know, the, the option to vote and they vote for her. And since there, I didn't change my mind, you didn't change your views.
ami kaufman 10:28
And then then you really went on to be, you know, quite the activist on unprogressive issues. I mean, the list is, is so long, I mean, we don't even have time to go through all the stuff that you've done, for example, including the founding of Excel, and one of the most important NGOs out there dealing with the human rights in the occupied territories. You weren't kind of I think, behind the scenes with other left wing politicians, you were assistance to them, and you help them and then though, is
Zehava Galon 11:01
that Yeah, that was the first executive director for four years.
ami kaufman 11:06
That's right. And but then you you finally you actually really enter you know, the the political arena, the the parliament, itself, the Knesset, you kind of go into the real nitty gritty. And let me ask you this, I mean, looking back at what would you tell a young activist, when you look back at your career in the Israeli parliament, would you want to take tell a young activist who wants to make a change about the Israeli parliament about the Knesset? Is it a place to have a where things get done? Do you feel that your time there was, you know, well spent?
Zehava Galon 11:42
Well, it depends. And I feel that I was I had the opportunity to be a at the beginning of my career, if I can say it like this. At the civil society, I was the executive, I was one of the founders of the tenement center of the executive director, then I entered the parliament. And now I left the department and I'm again at the civil society. So from my point of view, to kind of fit our circle there. Yeah. And I must admit that I like everything that I did everything. Although it was very hard. It was, sometimes it was even unconvenient because, you know, I was under attack I was, I had to go with some bodyguards, you know, for a long time, because I was in the opposition, I said, What are things that they weren't part of the Israeli consensus, but I think that it's very hard to compare, I was around 22 decades in the parliaments around two decades. And you know, it's too long. It's a long time, it's part of my life. And they It was a very hard sometimes, you know, I, I was there I was the head of the mirror party, I was six years, six years, the head of the marathon, and being in such a position to be there left this party beside, there are others, of course, but it is very obviously, a party's not to be a leftist party. Although I succeeded to double the number of the merit seats from seat from three to six seats. In the parliament, it was very hard to be in the position that you have to critic there to criticize I'm sorry, then the government, right, that connects that they are the seasons, especially what is concerned to the occupied territories, the settlement say, then the difficult because
ami kaufman 13:43
it's difficult, because why? Because it just keeps on going. It doesn't like it doesn't change, it doesn't end.
Zehava Galon 13:48
Now, it's difficult, because it's not part of the consensus. The Israelis, they know, after, after why they couldn't bear it anymore, you know, to talk about Palestinians rights are Israeli Arabs, right? It's behind the fence, well, leave me alone, you know, I can't, I can't deal with it anymore. And it was very hard, you know, to be like that, you know, all those cattle to say again, and again and again, that this is our obligation to end the occupation and things like this and all my struggles, again, so many so many politicians, Prime Minister, but what I want to focus on, is that at that time, we we knew the rules of the game. There were some rules of there were rules, you know, you knew what are the rules of the game? I think that's what's happened lately, especially the, let's say, the free for years that Netanyahu has succeeded to break the rules of the game. And it's the same to be in the parliament. And that time and let's say 20 years, 20 years because
ami kaufman 14:56
yeah, but what was what was your proudest moment
Zehava Galon 15:00
While there were several moments I'm asked me to em, you know, I was for for many years, the head of the day in a parliamentarian acquiring committee on trafficking in women. And then I succeeded to legislated many bills, and they got them the president award for fighting for re trafficked women again for, you know, a battered women. So for me, it was very, very important, you know, to be at that moment, I got so many awards in so many areas, you know, the LG LGBT community, the Carter award, the Mahatma Gandhi award, so I don't know. So I was in so many fields, you know, I was hiding for two state solution against the appropriation for women's rights for rim against civil coercion. So I don't know even what to say that this was my greatest moment. I don't know, there was so many moments that, you know,
ami kaufman 16:04
did you ever great. Did you ever think I mean, I know merits was was like, you know, a small party, but he was very loud, you know, politically much more, much more louder and active than then then it's wait. But did you ever um, despite that, think of going all the way? Did you ever have dreams of being Prime Minister?
Zehava Galon 16:26
No, no, I must say, you know, I was realistic at that time. I'm realistic now. And if you ask me if I could do it better, maybe, maybe? And, actually, I'm sure. But I knew that for my position. There is no chance to be part of the leaving a party. Oh, no way. Because I said things that sometimes, you know, sometimes they were not popular, you know, not in the consensus. And then it's very hard to be the Prime Minister from the position of being the head of the marriage party, unfortunately, everything is the only change.
ami kaufman 17:10
You left, he left Maris A few years ago, I remember you saying because you know, that the voters wanted a new leadership, but there was a lot of, you know, internal politics going on then. But I wonder if there was also, you know, was there ever a little, you know, fatigue, because, because you kind of touched it a little earlier, but when when the country was so divided? And there's so much incitement, you know, against the left and against against you as well? Does that take over, you know, 20 years? Like you said, does that take a toll on you personally, like, do you pay a price? mentally that you say, you know, I just, I can't.
Zehava Galon 17:52
And I really did I pay the price? No doubt of that, you know, my kids were under attack for many, many years, my family was under attack. I was cast, you know, things like this. But, you know, I always felt that it's a kind of a privilege to feel that I don't have I don't have strength anymore, that you know, I'm, I'm fed up. It's, it's not an option for me. It's a privilege. You know, I didn't feel I never felt like that. I must say never further. I always felt that. Okay, now it's a hard time. Okay, let's say let's, let's do something, let's go to the theater. Let's, let's watch a movie and going to move on. I never felt I may be crazy. But you know, I never felt every morning. I you know, when I walked up, I saw Today's the day, they weren't going to fight again. I never failed. That's
ami kaufman 18:55
amazing. That's amazing. I think that's what makes you such a, you know, such a strong fighter. You know, you mentioned before that you made a circle, you know, you're back in civic society, you know, the president and founder of a new Think Tank. It's called zu lat. You know, there there, there are a lot of think tanks out there. So how to deal with this conflict is kind of it's kind of crowded out there. Tell me what is Zoo lot trying to do differently. Okay,
Zehava Galon 19:23
so Zoo lot, and we call it a lot for equality and human rights. So it's an activist thing thing. And my idea was that there is a need for a new activist thing thing in order No, in order not to be always in a kind of a and defensive position, but we have to go on offense. I couldn't stand it anymore. That's not always the right wing that act as they they called us traitors. You know, they said that we are aware that we are not obliged to the Israeli state because we create He says the state so I said, Enough is enough. They, they, you know, they legislated so many bills, and they had a kind of fame and a kind of a group and I am talking about the right wing that supported Netanyahu, you know, so I said, I think that there is a time that we gather some people, you know, way, very influential people from the Israeli left, and we will set up an organization that will fight back and in order really to reestablish our basic fundamental, I, you know, values, you know, that Israel was based, or was established upon me, you know, like, what does it mean human rights, a collective rights? And what does it mean to be an Israeli armed citizen? What does it mean to be under occupation? What does it mean to be belong to exclude it, then a roof. So, I for that day, it's our obligation to publish reports about the quality of human rights, and then to use the report in order to campaign for them in the social media in order to bring the attention of policymakers and them figures from the media, in order to understand them, our new language in our new language. Just give you an example. Just give you an example. For instance, you know, we fought that Netanyahu is going to annex the territory, this crazy idea that now it's, it's not on the table, of course, but it was a debate in Israel, and everybody said, Wow, we can't accept the, you know, people from the center left said, you know, they use the term, a extend,
ami kaufman 21:49
extend, extending, extending sovereignty,
Zehava Galon 21:51
that is sovereignty, it's a nice word. That's right, you know, annexation? And I said, No, we had, we had to call it, you know, we have to call it in the right way. And if the Israeli government is going to legislate, to annex the third or 40% of the territories, let's call it apartheid, because it's going to be an apartheid regime, let's call it, let's call it apartheid, you know, in the West, and we succeeded a tomb to bring the attention of the journalists the word or the term apartheid, and I felt that they internalized the idea. What does it mean, you know, to use a whitewash language? And yeah, we don't want to whitewash the language. So this is part of our minutes, because
ami kaufman 22:38
it's kind of a gutsy move, because using the the a word is a is that is not something that she does people people think twice before they use a word in Israel. So
Zehava Galon 22:49
yeah, so I said, you said I was interviewed, you know, and they said, people in Israel, they have a problem. They don't want to look at the mirror, they have the problem with the word, apartheid. They don't like to use the word but they don't have a problem with the reality. Yeah. And we have to put it on the table in order to say, look, this is going to be
ami kaufman 23:09
and speaking of things that are on the table, and you just mentioned annexation, it kind of it's a good segue to my next question, because some people are saying that annexation did not happen because of the Abraham accords, which were just signed in Washington DC, with the Iraqis in Bahrain. And and Netanyahu has been framing this as proof that says, See, I don't have to give up territories to make peace. Does he have a point? I mean, that does it does he have a point to have and whether you could to don't agree or done or do agree? Is there anything good about this, signing these chords?
Zehava Galon 23:51
Okay, no doubt, no doubt at all, that they are very important a court and the normalization with the emirate is in behind, of course, is very important for Israel from the grammatical point of view and canonical point of view, no doubt of that. But it's not peace. It's a deception. You know, it's a fraud. And as we said, it's not an exception, it's apartheid. So it's not a piece of fake piece. This is our way to call it it's a fake piece because till now the paradigm was a land for peace. And we know that it you can sign with everyone. We Sudan, even maybe will sign with Sudan. But the pillar statement, the Palestinians are here, they are behind the wall, they're in the occupied territories. 54 years under our control 54 years and they're not going to evacuate to any place. They're going to stay here and this is our program, because we are the occupiers and there are occupied are under control. So I think that it was a fraud because Netanyahu and Trump also I must say, both of them, they have their internal problems, you know, in Israel and in this case, and they had to be struck their attention from their internal problems. It's not only you know, the COVID-19, of course, that it's such a crazy and crazy pandemic, pandemic. pandemic. Yes. It's also, you know, Netanyahu have his own problems with, he's going to be indicted, in a month, two months from now in the court. And
ami kaufman 25:36
yes, it was actually but when the when the right wingers say not only anything out with the right room to say, you know, but maybe there's there's the way to do it, we'll start with with the Gulf states will move to Saudi Arabia, there'll be more and more eventually all the Arab states will make peace with Israel. And then the Palestinians will understand that they have to, you know, come to the negotiating table and make some concessions is me maybe that's the way to go.
Zehava Galon 26:02
I don't believe in the in this in this way, because I am for you No way I am signing with Saudi Arabia and other you know, even their foreign minister of Saudi Arabia, he said that they are still committed or obliged to them. To the Arab League gay initiative. Yes, for a two state solution land for peace. You know, they said, Okay, everyone, pay less pay lip service, you know, although, you know, yes, everybody pay lip service executive. So I would like to tell you something, I don't care about a those countries, they're very important countries, but we we never had a conflict with them. Whenever, whenever, whenever I had a boy, a mutual border with them. We never had problems with them. We have we have relations, although there were not official relations. But the daily life here, around 20 minutes from us. It's our problem. It's our problem, I and I'm talking from the more points of view, and from the not the daily life, I not want that. I don't want us to send our kids to be soldiers in the occupied territories, and to do what they what they have to do in the characters. So so this is my wife. So this is this is
ami kaufman 27:28
a great place. Now to ask you the question. Where, where I asked, everyone that's on the podcast, the same exact question. I don't know what to call yet. Maybe I should find a name for it. But right now, it's just the podcast question. And it's kind of like there's two parts to it. Um, seeing is how there's about 12 to 13 million people between the river and the sea. That's the region that we talk about. There. It's a it's roughly or, most people agree, experts that it's about 50% 5050, between Jews and non Jews in that region. If I gave you as a have a magic wand that you could just say, and tomorrow, you would be able to implement immediately your dream of what that region would look like, if it would be divided one entity, two entities, two entities, not divided, whatever you want, what is your dream that you want to happen? Immediately tomorrow if I gave you that magic wand? And the second part of that question is to put on your hat of an expert, an analyst, someone who's been a legislator for so many years. And just to give me a cold analysis and forecasts of what you think is going to be in the future. So it's what you dream. Right. I mean, if you had it right now, go ahead.
Zehava Galon 28:48
Okay. So I still believe in two state solution. I think it's going to vary, it's going to be very hard to accomplish a two state solution because things on the ground you know, I was a month ago, no, two months ago in the church or is it was before the day that we fought that they are going to annex the territories around July around the end of June. And I so you know, the settlement I know it for many years, but it was just recently that I saw it again, the settlement the illegal Of course, all the roads that the Israeli government built for the settlers, you know, so I know that it's going to be very hard and to evacuate settlements and settler is going to be very hard. But the alternative it's not realistic at all to to talk about one state solution. I think it's an illusion. You know, the thing that we can live together unfortunately, after so many years of blood between those two nations, I don't see a way
ami kaufman 29:52
aren't we? Aren't we living together though, with with Palestinian citizens inside Israel?
Zehava Galon 29:57
It's not the same. It's an iPhone. I don't think that it's the same. So still, I believe in two state solution, but, but above all, I believe in equality. So if it's not possible, or if it's impossible, you know, to, to gain or to God, because of political reasons, to get a kind of a solution to state solution, there is a need for equality to allow the Palestinians to have their self determination, and a quality and everything because I can't, you know, I can't, you know, I can't live with the idea that people here they don't have the same rights that I have here. It's really unbearable, I must admit, it's unbearable, from my point of view. So and also, if, for instance, you know, there might be some changes, I don't know, I jumped to your second question, but they'll come back.
ami kaufman 30:53
But wait a minute, I don't want to I don't want to put in your I don't want to put words in your mouth. But if I could cut, try to sum it up, literally, we would be your dream solution would be still a two state solution. And border wise, it would be on the
Zehava Galon 31:05
1967, borders, Visa, some exchanges
ami kaufman 31:12
will change. And in that country, you would change something that would be more that would give more self determination to the Palestinians,
Zehava Galon 31:21
even if we have a two state solution. So of course, the Palestinians have their, their state, and they will have their rights and of course, but I don't think that it's going to be tomorrow. And I don't think that it's going to be so simple. And a lot of obstacles. But you know, things might change. You know, maybe Trump is not going to be elected. Maybe buying Biden is going to be elected, maybe Bibi Netanyahu is going to be a key from his position where because of the I don't know, because of the new coalition, or because of the of the trial, and I don't know, things might change. And you know, and now we spoke about peaceful peace. And now we sing we might speak again, about a land from I don't know, things. So I'm, I must tell you something. I mean, I'm always optimistic. I know, the things, you know, I believe in the, you know, free free t free t things takes time, you know, thanks. Thanks. So I'm always an optimistic I don't know what might happen. I know what is my obligation, I know what I have to fight for. So it might change, it might change, things can change.
ami kaufman 32:36
You know, you had an interview with pirates a few months ago, I think was July with a ravine pirates. You said the Tuesday solution, like you just said might still have a chance of Joe Biden comes on. You also said you that you were somewhat, you know, disappointed, I think and how the international community let things happen or enabled things that they didn't make Israel pay a price in a way. What tried? What did you? What did you want to see? I mean, what I mean, if you had if you could do it today, what kind of price? Do you want the world to make Israelis pay?
Zehava Galon 33:14
Now, that two answers to this questions, what I said that they always the Israeli left, we when we try to convince you know, people in Israel, why it's so important to end the occupation and to have to stay solution. So I always said the word, the word, you know, the international community, they want allow us, you know, to be occupiers for so many years. And you know, after 50 for years, the internet and the community, they didn't really pay attention, you know, they said things from time to time. And they didn't say for instance, that didn't boycott a product from the settlement. I don't call for boycott of Israel, of course I don't belong to the BDS movement. But I think that there is a need to work out merchandise and merchandise that was made in the West a man made exactly made in the way has been for instance, in a disaster an example. Yeah, so after so many years that he's really public, you know, they didn't pay attention anymore to our a Warren's and, you know, to our, to our, to our way, when we said, Look, we'll have discipline we'll have the support of the international community will pay the price within the pay the price. So this is one thing. The other thing was that we were under attack, not from people in Israel, you know, the way that they said but why abroad? Why you went for instance, haga lab the executive director of patella when he spoke in front of the US assembly, why you had to even attend our attacking why you have to Speak abroad he is the first one to speak you know in the Congress and everywhere and then the Yesha council always you know the day yes speaking. Yeah, they go
ami kaufman 35:12
they go traveling a lot all over the world all over the place
Zehava Galon 35:15
but when the left is criticized is
ami kaufman 35:17
a double standard. It's a double standard
Zehava Galon 35:20
it is double standard so so I think it's part of it was part of our problem. So we're, we were attacked for calling the support of the international community and the international team. To be honest, they didn't pay attention Not really.
ami kaufman 35:36
I want to move on a little and talk about nataniel some more and you know, what's going on now with with the Coronavirus in the pandemic here. I was personally, you know, I was kind of surprised because, you know, while he may be a populist leader, he's a he's not like Donald Trump or or bolsa narrow, who don't believe in science. You know, this is Nathaniel's a smart guy. We're, I was surprised by how badly he failed with with managing this pandemic. And I wonder if you feel the same? Were you surprised by how bad it's been?
Zehava Galon 36:11
No, not at all. I agree with you know, he's a very smart guy. But he adopted them samim a populist elements, you know, that describes, you know, bolson arrow Trump or Obama or others. So the only thing that matters for nataniel is his survival. So he doesn't pay attention to anything he doesn't care you know, he doesn't care he doesn't care about your about me. He The only thing that he wanted is to stop them. So he succeeded the demonstrations in front of his so yes. to subjugate can use this to get everything to his to his to his wishes. So we are, were locked. And there are more than million unemployed people. Yeah. That it's a catastrophe the way that he deals with the pandemic. So about I wasn't surprised because they know that he is in one name, Mata Haha, that
ami kaufman 37:19
is one goal, one goal,
Zehava Galon 37:22
one goal, exactly. That is one girl How to escape from jail, and they swore I've escaped from jail. This is there's the way that he acts, you know,
ami kaufman 37:33
yeah, there's, you know, there's all this talk about, you know, dictatorship. It's all those words kind of thrown around. Is that, is that exaggerated? Or are you fearful?
Zehava Galon 37:45
You know, I think that it's a very, it's a very in how they say that. Now, Israel considers itself as a democracy. I'm not sure that now we can say that we are democracy, as long as we are controlling millions of people. I'm not true. And it's more than that, in order to control the territories, the Prime Minister Netanyahu told him, he's not only a M, you know, had all these bills in the army in order to control them. You had to divide the Israelis between and a support lawyers and non lawyers. And because it had to be striked. All you know, they give them gatekeepers, you know, the Supreme Court, the police everything, you know, so and so. So even now, we are in a such a situation that I'm not sure that it's democracy, but the way that he act, and now, the way that they act, I'm talking about Prime Minister Netanyahu, in the Knesset and in the government and the US as all these bills and all the same, although all you know, uses and manipulates everything in order to survive in order to survive. So I don't think that we are a dictatorship right now. But we are in a slide. You know it, Sam.
ami kaufman 39:25
Yeah, the slippery slope.
Zehava Galon 39:27
It's slippery slope. Exactly.
ami kaufman 39:29
I wonder Do you think these these demos might be able to bring down a Prime Minister? I mean, at the end of the day, it's, first of all, it's not a lot of people. It's not the huge masses of the people like we saw the social demonstrations, way back, but, you know, we're seeing some cracks. I think like a minister resigning here and there's more talk about, you know, elections if the state budget isn't passed, is that how you see where this thing is going? And would would you? Would you want to go to fourth election? fourth round of elections since April 2019. Is that good?
Zehava Galon 40:06
I think it's crazy to have elections right now, because of this specific moment that we are. It's it's really a pivotal moment. But I think that there is a way to get rid of Netanyahu without having elections in depends on blue and white just on next Monday. And the marriage party and then yes, a tea party. They put the suggestion on the table. I don't know how to say it in English, share them in Hebrew, it's a moon constructively. It's a kind of a procedure. Oh, okay. They're called
ami kaufman 40:38
a confidence vote. It's a non confidence vote.
Zehava Galon 40:41
He does it but it's not it's a non confidence vote it, it calls a constructive, okay. Because at the same if you have 61 members of parliament, so you can, you can at the same time, kick out and attend Iao it means to break the government and to rebuild at the same moment and your government of 61 others see it's a something very unique, it's a unique system, you know, so next Monday, it depends on loan what you depends on Hauser and handle. The problem is that they want they don't want to collab board with the joint least they don't want to collaborate with these really our representatives in the parliament. So I think I actually wrote an article for tomorrow to our newspaper, especially about this. I said, this is your opportunity. Yeah, this is the I said, Houser. And then then you have your two seats. This is your opportunity. You didn't vote last time for em, a another coalition with the Arab. But now it's your opportunity to help to pick out money out from visa, but
ami kaufman 41:57
I mean, you and I know that that's but that Hauser and handle knowing those two, they won't be supporting that. Well, they?
Zehava Galon 42:05
It depends. You know, I think that it depends on them. Or on the pressure they might, it depends on the but I think that ganz was such
ami kaufman 42:20
a such a weakling.
Zehava Galon 42:23
Exactly. It's such a wicking. Exactly. So if at that time, he would have had say, you should vote for and be friendly. But I don't count on blue and white anymore.
ami kaufman 42:37
No, I don't. I think a lot of people are disappointed. But yeah. And because of that, I mean, if the if there are elections? What should the left be doing now? I mean, you've said in the past that merits that the party that you lead, and the Labour Party, which, you know, basically built this country are done there, their role is done. What, by the way? Was that? Being the former head of the marriage party? And to say that was that was that hard?
Zehava Galon 43:06
Yes. It sounds very odd. But it was very hard for me, because as I told you, I voted for merits more than 45 years. I don't know why it's Yeah, my whole life. But it was very hard for me to care to, you know, to came to the conclusion that we can't go in this way anymore. And I believe that there is a need for a new I don't know if it's a new party, but and your entity, Israelis and our office together and Israeli left that is composed by Jews and Arabs, you know, that they were there five.
ami kaufman 43:52
But do you see that? Do you see anyone in party politics, doing that? Anyone on the left? Who can you know, turn things around?
Zehava Galon 44:01
I'm not sure. I'm not sure, I must say, but I can't accept that. The marriage and the Labour Party, they will run again, and there will be no Iran the fresher. What is them? Yeah, the threshold was the threshold, you know, under the threshold, always the same position. And really, I believe the things Mark has to be changed in Israel. So I appreciate very much. I'm an old enough my TV, so they decided to have their party, you know, the join, please. It's a combination of free for parties, and sorry, Israeli armed citizens. This is their party. But there are a lot of Israeli armed citizens and a lot of jewels that they can work together. They can collaborate for what about
ami kaufman 44:51
Iman, or they could it could be you know, the leader of that kind of constellation,
Zehava Galon 44:57
but the problem is that I'm an all the hidden War want to break the joint lease? They have their party. Okay. I appreciate it. So there's so many people, you know, between blue and white, and between blue and white and they jointly they can gather, you know, and that can build a new party and new coalition of people that really care about the relations between Jews and unfortunately they don't.
ami kaufman 45:27
They don't you know, they don't do it. And you know, a lot of left wingers i think you know, who put their faith in bendy guns, of course, like you mentioned, they know they feel betrayed after what? What happened in joining the coalition. And now I want you to respond to this because now we're hearing about the mayor of Tel Aviv, Ron whole day, and the former IDF Chief of Staff guys and quotes, these rumors or news that they're going to form a new party some more, some more generals that are coming into the game. What do you think about that?
Zehava Galon 45:56
So I, I think that there are great people, I know them both for many, many years, but I'm fed up of generals. I really, I must say that I prefer a civic party. There might some be some generals, but I don't like the idea that we're waiting for the generals in order to save his Well, we saw what happened with guns and Ashkenazi, they don't understand anything in politics. They, I'm sure that they were greatly there is when they lead the army, but you know, with their soldiers, but we sell what is they are in tomorrow? What is their?
ami kaufman 46:37
their contribution to
Zehava Galon 46:39
the ocean? So zero contribution to the Israeli politics. So I prefer women to leave the would be nice to have some young
ami kaufman 46:49
people, by the way. I mean, why don't we exactly Well, on the left, who are some young charismatic leader where I
Zehava Galon 46:55
agree, I think that now with all those demonstrations, you know, I believe that there is a new people, young people, they may they might leave, you know, but we're saying
ami kaufman 47:09
we're gonna see. I mean, why hasn't there been, you know, a real challenge to the right, since since Robin's assassination? Does? Does the designers the left need to do some reckoning, some internal processing? that it hasn't done? I mean, Can Can it really bring change, if it keeps, as it's been accused of alienating, you know, religious people and miserable mizrahim?
Zehava Galon 47:34
I think that we all pay the price of the week, leaders of the Labour Party, especially after the Oslo agreement and all the terror attacks, you know, in the Second Intifada, and the price that Israelis paid, you know, because of all the terror attacks, so they became and so afraid to talk about peace and to talk about our jobs and the Palestinians. And I think that they made a lot of them. And, you know, to these, where he left so that, you know, they wanted to replace Netanyahu others, but they accept and the same way as Netanyahu. And so people said, Why? Why that we would vote for for boozy hertz, or go to believe me, we can work directly funds anyhow. And I think that there were weak, they were afraid and we pay the price.
ami kaufman 48:32
When you look, for example, at the progressive campaign in the United States, you know, it seems to be a little more coming alive, you know, with with people like AOC and Bernie Sanders. I mean, there seems to be a bit more, you know, vitality among the progressive camp there. And is there anything that you think that is the Israeli progressive camp should be learning from what's going on over there?
Zehava Galon 48:55
know, it's a different city, but why not? First of all, why not? I like very much the idea that they are, you know, so active in everything. And I think that people here are suffering Sanders sort of re they became so opportunistic, you know, they don't want to blame anyone. They don't want to be blamed. You know, they want to be nice, always the use niceties. I can send that I must say, but I think that there will have a new generation, you know, and they will fight. I believe that. The fans are fine. Yes.
ami kaufman 49:33
So look, I want to wrap it up. I just before we go. One more question, because since you left politics and joined the society again, you're also a big hit on Twitter, on social media, specifically on Twitter. I mean, I have never seen a meteoric rise like yours. On Twitter, you You are so I mean, you're just you have what they call a very good Twitter game. You use one sentence To just bash your rivals, did you? I mean, did you know that you're gonna be so good at it? And do you enjoy it?
Zehava Galon 50:09
Not at all. I think that, you know, I was so many years a Member of Parliament, so always, I had them stage to speak, you know, to ask two debaters questions to debate. And now I find a new game that I can, you know, use some humor sometimes, you know, I can say whatever I want, I don't, I always said whatever I want is part of the problem that I pay the price for saying every finger they want, but I can say what ever want, I don't care, I guess, you know, sometimes I just find, you know, one sentence and, you know, and it's a fire and it goes
ami kaufman 50:50
viral, it goes viral, whatever you do, whatever you tweet goes viral.
Zehava Galon 50:53
I liked it a lot. And I want to tell you that always when I tweet something, so always the media immediately, they call me, what do you like to be interviewed on this subject on this? So you know, so I feel that I'm, I walk like a Member of Parliament without being a member of parliament. So I like the idea that I'm the president of Mozilla. I can say whatever I want, and the rest is history.
ami kaufman 51:21
Okay, so have I, you know, like I said at the beginning, you're a fighter, I guess, you know, maybe the country may not have gone in your direction, at least maybe on the diplomatic front yet. But you've had such you know, an important impact on on internal social issues, especially, you know, gender, gender equality issues. You, you I think that you've made this, this, you've made Israel a better place in that regard. And I hope you know that. And I know that you're going to keep on going as long as you can fighting and I just want to thank you so much for being a guest and otherwise.
Zehava Galon 51:57
ami kaufman 51:59
Zehava Galon 52:00
ami kaufman 52:07
That was the hava Golan. If you liked this episode, please share it with your family and friends, share it on social media, leave a comment on the site here on substack or leave a review on the podcast app of your choice. Thanks so much for taking the time to listen. See you soon. Bye bye.