Merav Michaeli (Heb. מרב מיכאלי was born on November 24, 1966, in Petah Tikva. Her grandfather was the controversial Zionist leader Rudolf Kasztner who was accused of collaborating with the Nazis and assassinated in 1957.
Michaeli was a youth leader in the Israel Scouts and later became a journalist and opinion columnist for the Haaretz newspaper. She also taught university classes and lectured extensively on the topics of feminism, media, and communications. She has been involved in feminist activism, seeking to promote women and equal rights for women. She also strives to promote the rights of minorities, worker rights and the promotion of peace. In September 2012, she spoke at TEDxJaffa on the theme of “paradigm shift,” in which she argued that society should “cancel marriage.”
That was not the only time she took a provocative position. In 2010, for example, she said, “women should not send their children to the army.” She later said she was not opposed to women serving but believed women should “place their motherhood above their nationhood.”
In 1997, Michaeli founded Ezrat Nashim, to promote assistance centers for victims and survivors of sexual assault. She was member of the executive committee of the Israel Peace Initiative and a member of the directorate of the Israel Women’s Network.
Michaeli was also involved in the establishment of the very popular Galgalatz and Radio Tel-Aviv radio stations.
Before entering politics, Michaeli wrote, “Israel needs large, strong parties today that are characterized by continuity and development; parties that have people who are hungry to do things, innovators who see themselves as part of the general public and not soloists. And Israel needs parties that want and are able to hold ideological debates, to take ideological decisions and act according to them.”
In October 2012, Michaeli joined the Labor Party and she was elected to the Knesset in the 2013 election. She was reelected in 2015 as a member of the Zionist Union alliance formed by the Labor and Hatnuah parties. Shortly before the end of the Knesset term, the Zionist Union was dissolved, with Labor and Hatnuah sitting in the Knesset as separate parties.
Michaeli was placed seventh on the Labor list for the April 2019 elections, but lost her seat when Labor won only six seats. She returned to the Knesset in August 2019 after Stav Shaffir resigned.
“After Amir Peretz took Labor into the Netanyahu-led unity government, despite having vowed to never serve under a prime minister facing a criminal indictment,” the Times of Israel reported, “Michaeli rejected sitting in the coalition, making her a de facto opposition member within her own party, and within the coalition.”
In 2021, she was elected to lead the Israeli Labor Party. “The Labor party is still stuck in the mud and I have the mission of rescuing and rebuilding it,” Michaeli said.
Michaeli’s partner is the television producer, host, and comedian Lior Schleien.
Sources: “Merav Michaeli,” Wikipedia.
“Merav Michaeli,” The Knesset.
Merav Michaeli, “Why I Entered Politics,” Haaretz, (November 5, 2012).
“Merav Michaeli elected new Labor leader, vows to rebuild beleaguered party,” Times of Israel, (January 24, 2021).
Amotz Asa-El, “Merav Michaeli's nihilism will make Labor fall further from grace,” Jerusalem Post, (February 4, 2021)..
Photo: Ron Kedmi licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license. Wikimedia.