‘I had planned to own a farm but I ended up in the Israeli political zoo’: an interview with MK Sharren Haskel


From combat soldier to veterinary nurse to the youngest MK in the Knesset, Sharren Haskel has had an unconventional route into politics. In early October Haskel sat down with deputy editor Samuel Nurding to discuss how she believes she can change Israel for the better, her vision for the future of the West Bank and Gaza, and her long-term goals in what she calls the ‘Israeli political zoo’. Download a PDF version here

Samuel Nurding: How and why did you get into politics?

Sharren Haskel: I never thought I would end up in politics. After my military service – I served as a combat fighter in the Border Patrol based in Jerusalem during the Second Intifada, and subsequently did an officers’ course – I decided to move overseas. I lived in the US before moving to Australia for six years, where I studied veterinary nursing, worked in an animal hospital and volunteered in a NGO that rescued injured wildlife. I decided to move back to Israel and volunteered at Minister Michael Eitan’s [a former Likud MK] office and became more involved in local politics through different right-wing youth groups as large scale economic protests were happening around the country. While there were many slogans, I recall there were very few in-depth conversations about what the real problems were or how to resolve them.

I joined the New Liberal Movement (liberal in the classical sense) and became more active in advancing economic issues such as promoting the free market, reducing taxes, bureaucracy and red tape, which I believe are suffocating our generation in Israel. The volunteering position with Minister Eitan opened up the political world for me. I studied the field, began to learn how it works and finished a Masters in International Relations. After two years I was asked by the Likud to compete for a seat in my local municipality. In 2015 when Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu decided to go to elections I ran for a seat in the Knesset. I had planned to own a farm but I ended up in the Israeli political zoo.

SN: What experience most shaped your political orientation?

SH: Socio-economically I was very influenced by my family and childhood. When I was 12 I began working for a pizza company – I would go to high-school in the day and work in the evenings. And my father, who had to drop out of school and start work from a very young age to provide for his family, instilled in me a belief that the more productive you are as a human being the more rewarded you’ll be.

Having family from all around the world (my mother is Moroccan French) has also given me a perspective on how Israel is viewed from the outside. READ MORE.