Kristine L Ming

Gal-On endorses Berko to head key Knesset panel

It is not every day that the leader of left-wing Meretz party comes out in support of a rightwing Likud MK for an influential position in the Knesset.

But on Wednesday, Zehava Gal-On endorsed Anat Berko for the chairmanship of the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has two weeks to select a head for the important committee, replacing Tzachi Hanegbi, who is set to become a minister a year after the government’s formation on May 14, 2015. MK Avi Dichter (Likud), a former head of the Shin Bet (Israel Security Service), also wants the post, and MK Bennie Begin (Likud) may be given it, even though he has said he does not want it.

“All three candidates are right-wing extremists, and I don’t see a difference in their views,” Gal-On said. “So at least there can be an important message from a woman heading the Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee for the first time.

I don’t agree with Anat Berko on anything, but if you have to pick among the three, at least it should be a woman.”

Berko served in the IDF for 25 years, ending her service with the rank of lieutenant-colonel. She directed ground forces in the Southern Command in the IDF’s Women’s Corps before it disbanded in 2001. After she earned her doctorate in criminology, she used her skills to administer a prison. She has written books and articles, and delivered lectures about the thought process and motivation of Palestinian terrorists.

She will be speaking at The Jerusalem Post Annual Conference in New York on May 22.

Berko responded that she appreciates Gal-On’s support.

“Zehava is a feminist, and I don’t agree with her on most things, but there is no doubt that when it comes to advancing women, she does plenty,” Gal-On said.

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