Tamar Zandberg


Tamar ZandbergTamar "Tami" Zandberg is an Israeli politician. A member of the Meretz party, she was placed sixth on the party's list for the 2013 Knesset elections, and thus elected to the 19 Knesset. She is a former Tel Aviv Yaffo City Council Member.

Nationality: Jewish or Israeli?

My nationality is Israeli. I am of course a Jew as well, Judaism is the religion I was born into and it has an importance to me in terms of culture and family. In Israel one cannot overlook their Judaism because Judaism and Jews exist as a political component. But my citizenship and nationality are Israeli. I believe we need to move from the discussion about Judaism to a discussion about being Israeli, which is something that belongs to everyone who lives here.

Religion and State: What is your opinion on the Rabbinical

The main problem with the Rabbinical Courts is the exclusive authority they have when it comes to personal legal matters. I support freedom of religion for all religions but not when it is forced and there is certainly a critical need to transition to civil authority where these matters are concerned. As a secular person the Rabbinical Courts should have no effect on my personal life or on the lives of any citizen when it comes to their private life and rights within a democratic state. I do not intend on preventing freedom of religion which is one the basic human rights recognized by the UN, but the Rabbinical Courts should most definitely not have any role within the state.

Sabbath: What should the Israeli Sabbath look like?

I am a big supporter of workday and day of rest laws. These are social laws that find their come from Judaism. This is an important law that should be upheld. The question is why should the citizens of Israel be immobilized on their day off, keeping them from visiting friends, hiking, vacationing is that what a day off is about?

I support a redefining of the Israeli Sabbath that will include the closing of industrial centers and shopping centers on the one hand and the increasing of transport and movement options on the other. In my opinion this will result in less work and desecration of the Sabbath and more recreation possibilities for all of Israel's citizens.

Is it possible to have an agreement between religious and secular Jews in regards to the character of the Sabbath?

I most definitely think so. In recent weeks I have been approached by many different Bnei Akiva branches as well as civil groups that are all excited about having a debate that will redefine the Israeli Sabbath. In my opinion our obsession with decisions made years ago serves no one. I strongly believe that our generation can reach conclusions that our relevant to our lifestyles without being dependent on irrelevant decisions of the past.

Violence: What can be done to minimize the phenomenon?

I feel that violence among teenagers and in general stems from the socio-economic situation that drags people into a web of despair and loss of control. This issue needs to be dealt with by improving the general social situation as well as providing proper education from a young age and obviously, proper law enforcement for criminal offences.

Citizenship: What does equality in sharing the burden mean for you?

I think we need to transition from a debate about sharing the burden to a debate about equal rights. The republican perception of focusing on debts instead of rights is unacceptable to me. I am of a democratic attitude that is exactly the opposite, starting with rights. There is a famous quote from the US legal system "There is nothing more unfair than equal treatment of those who are not equals". I don’t think there is a formal and shallow equality that can be bent. Equality needs to be expressed in equal rights and equal opportunities taking into account the personal circumstances of each member of the community. Let's first ask what each one of these people is entitled to. This is the situation in Israel in 2012 people are being deprived of more than just "the burden". The burden is a heavy one and many are collapsing beneath it, but where are the basic rights to make a respectable living, to equal political participation, to security of employment, to freedom from violence?

In regards to Yeshiva students being drafted to the IDF, I am opposed to forced drafting and I wrote this in a column on the Tzav Pius website.

As a resident of Tel Aviv – What is your take on the expression "The state of Tel Aviv"?

I was recently at a conference where someone defined "the state of Tel Aviv" as an "enemy state" I think that is exactly what that term means. I obviously do not agree with that statement. I am proud to be a resident and public representative of Israel's most important city and it seems to me that it has been proved, especially in the days of the social justice protests that despite popular belief, Tel Aviv is extremely connected to the rest of Israel. The fact that other protests had much less support and did not have such an impact or last as long as the social justice protests, comes to show how important the middle class and the center of Israel are. The divide and conquer tactic the government is using can only serve its interests. In my eyes the social justice protests and what came after were one of the most spectacular displays of Israeli unity ever seen.

Coffee: Who from the "other side" would you like to meet for a coffee? Who would you not want to meet?

I'm not sure what "other side" you are referring to. My identity has many layers and is most certainly not dichotomous. Assuming you were referring to the right-wing camp, I would be very happy to have had the opportunity to have met with Menachem Begin he was an exemplary liberal democrat even though he was right wing. In terms of those who I would not agree to meet with: unfortunately, in Israeli politics today there are many characters that any democratic society should suspend from the get go, such as Michael Ben Ari and all the Cahane supporters who were suspended from politics in the 80s but have sadly sneaked back in to the Israeli Parliament. If by "other side" you were referring to the religious, then there is no religious person that I would not meet with. Quite the contrary, I would be especially interested in meeting with Hanna Kehat to discuss feminism within the religious community.

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