In Israel’s current unstable political environment, it is rare to see members of the opposition and the coalition working together on initiatives and supporting legalization promoted by their rivals.
But one new member of the Israeli parliament, Tatiana Mazarsky of the centrist party Yesh Atid, is an exception.
Not only does she manage to work across the aisle, Mazarsky also serves as the co-chair of the Jerusalem Prayer Breakfast along with a member of the Israeli opposition, Gila Gamliel of Netanyahu’s Likud Party.
That is where ALL ISRAEL NEWS Editor-in-Chief Joel Rosenberg sat down with her for an interview.
Mazarsky told Rosenberg that her transition to politics did not take the usual path.
“I never dreamed of being a politician, I simply wanted to help people. When Yair Lapid invited me to join his party, it was difficult for me to leave my city where I invested a lot of work in the youth and the elderly. I wanted to continue my work in the city,” she said. “In the end, I agreed to join since I wanted to make a change on a national level.”
Mazarsky joined the Israeli parliament in 2021. Despite her new title as a member of Knesset, she still defines herself, first and foremost, as a “community activist.” Among her duties, she serves as a member of four Knesset Committees, including the Committee for Immigration, Absorption and Diaspora Affairs.
Born in the Former Soviet Union, Mazarsky made aliyah (immigrated to Israel) at the age of 17 with the Jewish Agency's Young Aliyah Program. Prior to her political career, she was the vice mayor of Carmiel in northern Israel and worked in the public sector for many years.
As a fresh member of the Israeli parliament, Mazarsky has recently managed to accomplish something that many veteran members often struggle to do; garner cross-party support to pass her legislation proposal. Her bill calls for the expansion of legal protection for doctors to cover all levels of medical personnel, including nurses, lab technicians, administrators and pharmacists.
“Anybody that attacks any medical professional, including veterinarians, will be punished,” she stressed.
Mazarsky is part of a parliamentary coalition that is struggling to hold on to power with a 60-60 deadlock in a parliament of 120 seats, making it very complicated to pass bills.
But her bill, unlike others, has made it through the tangled legislative process.
“In both the opposition and the coalition, there are Knesset members who join the Knesset for a career and there are those who work for the people. Those who work for the people voted together,” she explained.
“I don’t differentiate by right or left, or whether you are in the coalition or opposition. If there are people that do good to others, they will always be my friends,” said the Yesh Atid member.
Mazarsky applies a similar open-minded approach not only in politics, but also in matters that relate to religion.
“For many years, I have had friends of many faiths. When I was studying, I had Muslim friends.
One of my staff members is an Arab Christian. It doesn’t matter if somebody is Jewish, non-Jewish, Christian, or another faith. If the person has a good heart, wants to work, wants to make life better, why not cooperate? I don’t judge,” she said.
Mazarsky shared that she has many Christian friends, in Israel and in the Ukraine and in the United States.
“It doesn’t bother our friendships. We have the same Father in heaven,” she added.
Yet, Mazarsky herself is not religious. She makes a distinction between religion in faith.
“There is religion and faith. A person that is religious, without love in his heart, has many limitations. I am not constrained by religion, so I am open to having friendships,” she said.
Mazarsky said the head of her party, Foreign Minister Yair Lapid, shares a similar sentiment and that he is “very open to friendship with Christians.”
“Even before he was the foreign minister, when he was the head of the opposition, he met with many groups abroad in the U.S. and Europe. He is very open and appreciates the support of Israel by Christians,” Mazarsky added.
When Rosenberg asked what Christians should be praying for in regard to Israel, Mazarsky replied: “I ask your supporters to present the truth about the State of Israel, about Israelis, about the government of Israel – a very social friendly government with different priorities, that we really take care of our citizens.”
“We want peace,” she said, thanking Christians for their support and prayers.
“I always say that what happens in the spiritual world will be reflected in the physical world. Your prayers make a difference, and our prayers together have even more power.”
The All Israel News Staff is a team of journalists in Israel.