Don’t ask Yisrael Beytenu Knesset hopeful Yair Shamir about politics. The son of former prime minister Yitzhak Shamir revealed on Wednesday that he doesn’t “give a s**t” about becoming a politician… even though he’s set to enter parliament in just a few months’ time.
“I personally, I don’t mean to speak any politics, because I don’t give a s**t [about] that,” he said at a conference about the Jewish future in Jerusalem. “The decision for me, at 67, to jump into Israeli politics, which is… well, everybody knows what it is… I’ll express my view later.”
Shamir was speaking in English to participants of the “Conference on the Future of the Jewish People,” organized by the Jewish People Policy Institute, a think tank affiliated with the Jewish Agency. Shamir passionately laid out, in his view, the problems facing Israel today, but made no effort to show he has any faith in the capacity of the country’s political system to address them.
“I am going into politics; I’m not going to be a politician. I am going to continue my mission and if I see that this is not the right platform, I am going to another one, and I don’t care about what’s this or that,” he said.
A former executive at Israel Aerospace Industries and El Al, Shamir will be slotted into second place on Yisrael Beytenu’s Knesset list, ahead of senior party members such as veteran MK and current Energy and Water Minister Uzi Landau. As Avigdor Liberman’s No. 2 man, Shamir is guaranteed a Knesset seat and has good chances of receiving a ministerial portfolio if the joint Likud-Yisrael Beytenu partnership wins the elections.
Shamir’s primary political interests focus on socioeconomic issues, especially housing and food prices.
“The most important challenges are internal and those should be our focus. The challenges ahead are to focus on reducing the cost of living,” he wrote on his Facebook profile Wednesday. “We need to deregulate the cost of housing and dairy products and decrease government control.”
‘Zionism is attacked on a daily basis, obviously from the outside world but unfortunately also from the inside. And what is more worrying is the inside’
Asked by a conference participant about his views on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Shamir said, “I think we have much more important issues to deal with than the Palestinians, and that is dealing with ourselves.”
Shamir lamented Israel’s spiritual situation, suggesting that the government focus on fixing that before anything else.
“How many Israelis can speak articulately [about] why a Jewish state is needed? How many Israeli religious citizens can speak meaningfully about the significance of democracy? How many of its scholar citizens can say something profound about what is Jewish about the Jewish state? Conclusion: [Our ] Jewish, our spiritual existence is in danger. We are losing the battle for the soul of Israel.”
While Israel’s physical existence is today more or less secured, the real danger to Israel is the erosion of Jewish and Zionist values, he said at the conference. “Zionism is in decay,” he said. “Zionism is attacked on a daily basis, obviously from the outside world but unfortunately also from the inside. And what is more worrying is the inside.”