Fleur Hassan-Nahoum’s slogan is “new blood in the Likud.”

That’s because “a lot of people that I meet want something new, something else,” Hassan-Nahoum said on Sunday in an interview with JNS.

The 48-year-old immigrant, who was raised in Gibraltar and moved to Jerusalem from London during the Second Intifada, has held a variety of municipal roles since 2016. Today, she is the deputy mayor of Jerusalem.

On Wednesday, she is aiming to score the twenty-fifth slot on the Likud list—a spot reserved for a woman who has never been in parliament. If she wins, with Likud polling at around 34 seats, Hassan-Nahoum is likely to enter the Knesset.

She is facing a crowded field of candidates in an intense race. Likud primaries were canceled in the last three elections and the candidates are hungry. Among the candidates against her are a well-known legal commentator who defends Netanyahu on TV and the lesbian daughter of an ultra-Orthodox former Knesset member who made news by giving out loyalty medals bearing Netanyahu’s face.

But while she might bring a fresh perspective to her party as the only immigrant and one of only a handful of women, she would be joining the ranks of the party’s historic leadership—not the least of which is Likud party leader, Netanyahu.

“The Likud without Bibi polls eight to 10 seats lower, so the problem is not really with the guy the majority of this country wants as its leader. The problem is with the people whose personal feelings towards him—even though they have the same vision, the same political outlook, the same right-wing values—don’t want to sit with him,” said Hassan-Nahoum.

She claimed if there were two ballots—one for prime minister and another for Knesset—Netanyahu would win by a large margin.

She also said that the legal cases against the former prime minister are “falling apart” because they were never valid.

“One of the things we need to improve is this ability to be able to bring down a sitting prime minister without even proving that he’s guilty,” she said. “One case has already fallen apart [Netanyahu is being tried in connection with three separate cases]. The other cases are so petty. This is the only country in the world to ever indict someone for bribery that involves positive coverage in the media. It doesn’t exist in any legal framework in the world. They’ve invented a crime,” she said.

If elected, she would push for what is known as the “French Law” in Israel—a version of a French piece of legislation that protects political leaders from criminal investigations or prosecution while in office.

Although she admitted that even if such a law was passed today, it would not necessarily help Netanyahu, who has already been indicted, because it could not give him retroactive immunity.

“The reason the French Law exists is because the minute you are in a position of power, you automatically become a target to people who cannot get rid of you through the regular electoral process,” she said.

Hassan-Nahoum describes Netanyahu as an unparalleled leader, who turned Israel from a socialist country to an economic superpower. She gives him credit as a “father of the Start-up Nation,” who created a framework for incentivizing innovation. Iran, she added, “was not even on the global agenda” until Netanyahu put it there.

With regard to Iran, she said that U.S. President Joe Biden’s visit to Israel last month was “not a complete success because we did not get any real assurances that America would … attack Iran if it gets past a certain nuclear threshold.”

Although she admitted that the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action nuclear deal with Iran was signed by the United States under Netanyahu’s nose, she wrote this off to “bad chemistry” between Netanyahu and former President Barack Obama.

“I only wonder if Netanyahu would have been able to push Biden into those types of assurances,” she said.

From Gibraltar to Jerusalem

Hassan-Nahoum said she joined Likud because it is “right-wing and democratic,” one of the only parties that holds an open primary.

As a result, “Someone like me, who is an immigrant, doesn’t have army and school buddies, can build up my own electoral power,” she said.

Hassan-Nahoum was born in London and grew up in Gibraltar. She was raised among politicians. Her father served as the chief minister and mayor of Gibraltar. Her younger sister is a member of the Gibraltar Parliament.

If elected, she would have to renounce her foreign citizenship.

Hassan-Nahoum received her law degree from King’s College London. In 2016, she joined the Jerusalem City Council. Two years later, she ran as No. 2 to Minister Ze’ev Elkin on the Jerusalem Will Succeed Party list.

She could be harmed by her association with Elkin, who left Likud for the New Hope Party and played a key role in ousting Netanyahu from power.

Jerusalem Mayor Moshe Lion won that election and appointed Hassan-Nahoum a deputy mayor in charge of tourism and foreign relations. She is fluent in English, Hebrew and Spanish.

Aside from her efforts to invest more in and better integrate the Arab population into Jerusalem society, she has become a strong advocate for equality for women and minorities, such as the ultra-Orthodox and Ethiopian immigrants.

Advancing Jerusalem from the Knesset

If elected, she told JNS she would want to continue representing Israel on the international stage. But even more so, she would want to help fix “a lot of things which are broken in the system that nobody is dealing with.”

First and foremost is Arab-Israeli education.

“Ninety percent of Arab children in east Jerusalem are learning in a system that is teaching the same curriculum taught in Gaza—a curriculum of incitement, anti-Semitism, denial that Israel exists and glorification of martyrdom,” said Hassan-Nahoum.

“Why are we paying for this?” she asked. “The first thing I want to do is pass a law that forbids the Education Ministry from funding any curriculum that does not have an Israeli curriculum. We are paying for generations of children in Jerusalem to hate us.”

Hassan-Nahoum said she would also work on providing greater incentives for small- and medium-sized independent businesses and entrepreneurs and next deal with the lack of decent and strategic absorption options for new immigrants.

“Why can’t we think of doing an immigration campaign based on the talent needed in the country, where people come in and have a soft landing with a good job?” she asked

She would also focus on helping relocate more embassies from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem and would like to play a strategic role in expanding and deepening the Abraham Accords.

But above and beyond the issues she plans to tackle, Hassan-Nahoum said she brings to the table a statesman-like attitude, one that respects different groups and ideas while holding tight to her own values.

“For six years, I have been helping people from the mundane to the very significant,” Hassan-Nahoum said. “It’s potholes on the streets. It’s lighting. It keeps you humble as it is focused on the people. The work done in City Hall teaches you to compromise, to deal with other parties … Municipal politics is the best university for national politics.”

Hassan-Nahoum believes that the last year, first under Prime Minister Naftali Bennett and now under Prime Minister Yair Lapid, taught Israelis that they need to vote for larger parties on the one hand, and that Israel “cannot be held hostage by Arab and left-wing parties” on the other.

“This last government did not hold its head up about many things,” Hassan-Nahoum added. “It is difficult when you have a government that does not agree on many things and is constantly sending out mixed messages in Israel and to the world.

“You have ministers speaking completely different narratives and languages. This confuses the people and it weakens us in the eyes of the enemy.”

JNS

Support
Jewish News Syndicate


With geographic, political and social divides growing wider, high-quality reporting and informed analysis are more important than ever to keep people connected.

Our ability to cover the most important issues in Israel and throughout the Jewish world—without the standard media bias—depends on the support of committed readers.

If you appreciate the value of our news service and recognize how JNS stands out among the competition, please click on the link and make a one-time or monthly contribution.

We appreciate your support.