In season 2, episode 3, host and CEO of Israel Innovation Fund Adam Scott Bellos is joined by guest Knesset member Sharren Haskel, a member of the National Unity Party led by Benny Gantz.
Haskel belonged to Netanayhu’s Likud until 2020 when she broke with the party and established the New Hope Party with Gideon Sa’ar, also a former Likud member. In the 2022 elections, New Hope joined with two other parties to form the National Unity Party, which currently has 12 seats in the Knesset and sits in the opposition.
She remarked that the decision to break with Netanyahu was a very, very difficult decision specifically because she thought of Netanyahu as a great leader and had a lot of respect for him.
Politics at a young age
Bellos and Haskel discuss her journey to becoming a Knesset member, and how her service in the army and becoming a mother have influenced her career in the Israeli parliament. “If you ask me who I am, I am a mother,” she says, adding that being a mother makes her fight harder for what she believes in, knowing that she is not only fighting for herself but for future generations.
Socially liberal, politically hawkish
Haskel expressed how she, like other members of the Knesset, is not monolithic and doesn’t fit within one party line. She is socially liberal, but right-wing security-wise, believing that territorial compromise is not the solution and that Israel should apply sovereignty to the Jordan Valley, citing this as one of her main disagreements with Netanyahu. She also believes that more and more Jews should be allowed to go up to the Temple Mount.
The break with Netanyahu
Finally, Haskel outlines why she broke with Likud and Netanyahu in 2020, even though she was a rising star in the party. After several indecisive elections, she became disillusioned with Netanyahu, she says. Although she thanks him for all that he has done for Israel, she thinks that a quality of a great leader “is to know when to step down…and I don’t think he is capable of that.”
Bellos pushes her on the subject, arguing that breaking with Netanyahu seemed like political suicide, with no real chance of success.
“[I am] someone who’s really looking only on one thing: What’s better for my country? The right thing to do for my people?” she replies. If her political career comes to an end, she says, “that’s not the end of my world. I know I did my best. I know I’ve sacrificed so much in order to do the right thing.”
“Wine with Adam” with Adam Bellos airs on JNS TV Youtube Channel and on JNS social media platforms on a bi-weekly basis on Wednesdays 8:30 PM IST/130 PM EST. Don’t forget to like, subscribe and click on the bell for notifications. You can also listen to the audio version on Spotify, Apple, Google or wherever you listen to your podcasts.
Enjoy a good conversation and a glass of wine with JNS’ “Wine with Adam.” Featuring the young and quirky Adam Bellos, the show includes interviews with well-known personalities over a bottle of one of Israel’s finest wines. Learn about some of Israel and the Jewish world’s most interesting people with this fun show. Co-sponsored by the Israel Innovation Fund.