Today at The Scroll we’re introducing (and possibly ending) a new segment here called “Know an Israeli MK.” It’s our chance to focus on the lawmakers who help carry the banner of democracy in Israel. And for our inaugural “Know an Israeli MK” we have selected Member of Knesset Anastasia Michaeli from Avigdor Lieberman’s Yisrael Beiteinu Party.
At 34, Michaeli is the youngest of the 18 Yisrael Beiteinu MKs, but oddly enough, not the only former model and television journalist (both she and Orly Levy-Abekasis are ranked in the party’s top ten). Born in Leningrad, Michaeli’s got a Master’s degree in electrical engineering and communications.
After meeting her husband and moving to Israel, Michaeli converted to Judaism. Following her successful television career, she was recruited by Ariel Sharon to join Kadima in 2005, but the party didn’t win enough seats in 2006 to secure Michaeli a seat.
After joining Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman’s Yisrael Beiteinu in 2008, Michaeli was placed on Knesset committees on national security, education, social, and family issues.
Why You Should “Know an Israeli MK”:
In 2009, Michaeli became the first incumbent MK to give birth. On July 5th, she had her eighth child (and fifth son) on, you guessed it, the exact same birthday as Yisrael Beiteinu chairman Avigdor Lieberman. Shortly after, she remarked at a party meeting:
“Lieberman asked me, jokingly, if I could wait until July 5, his birthday. The expected date was earlier, but I guess my son, like all the members of Israel Our Home [Yisrael Beiteinu], is very disciplined, and he in fact waited until Lieberman’s birthday.”
Earlier this year, during a heated debate with her fellow MK Raleb Majadele (an Arab Labor Party MK with whom she sits on the Education Committee), Michaeli ended the argument by calmly pouring a glass of water and throwing it on Majadele before exiting the room.
More recently Michaeli has been making headlines for a panoply of controversial comments. Last week, she drew the ire of many when she commented that homosexuality is a product of early child abuse and that “gays are miserable” and “in the end they commit suicide when they are 40.”
In the aftermath of her comments, an Israeli comedian named Yossi Vider prank-called her, pretending to be Israeli President Shimon Peres and asking her to apology for her anti-gay remarks. Michaeli (unaware of that she was being pranked) promised she would consider the request. Michaeli then asked the fake Peres to arrange a meeting between her and Russian Premier Vladimir Putin, who is slated to make a visit to Israel in the coming months.
This week, she’s facing some scrutiny for suggesting that abortions lead women down the primrose path to lesbianism. Even her party is distancing itself from her recent comments:
“Young girls get pregnant, get abortions — which hurt their chances of having children — and in the end they become lesbians.
And now you know an Israeli MK!
First Time: Incumbent MK Gives Birth – 8th Child [Israel News Network]
Yisrael Beiteinu Distances Itself From MK Who Calls Homosexuals Victims [Times of Israel]
Anastasia Michaeli Falls for Prank Call [The Shmooze]