Underage TikToker running for Knesset eyes groundswell of support for protest party

Fiery Youth leader Hadar Muchtar, 20, is leading a grassroots campaign harnessing anger over cost of living and state of politics, despite being too young to be elected herself

Hadar Muchtar, seen in a video posted to social media. (Screen capture: Twitter)
Hadar Muchtar, seen in a video posted to social media. (Screen capture: Twitter)

A young activist leading the upstart Fiery Youth political party has predicted a groundswell of support in the upcoming national elections, despite the faction’s low polling so far and the fact that her party’s only current candidate — herself — is too young to serve.

Hadar Muchtar, 20, is running on a platform of combating the surging cost of living and corruption, tapping into widespread disaffection among many youth disenchanted with the current state of politics and the economy.

The party also advocates greater public involvement in the political process by holding referendums on a number of issues.

“The politicians have been making us promises for 20 years, promising us apartments for 20 years,” Muchtar told Channel 12 news Thursday. “And what are they doing? Raising their own salaries.”

Muchtar has found a wide audience on the social media platform TikTok by delivering animated tirades against politicians and Israel’s high cost of living. She has over 68,000 followers on TikTok and some of her videos receive hundreds of thousands of views.

Fiery Youth is projected to win around 1.5% of all votes, according to recent polling, below the 3.25% minimum needed to win Knesset representation.

Still, Fiery Youth outpaced the New Economic Party, led by the better-known economist Yaron Zelekha, and was not far behind Ayelet Shaked’s Zionist Spirit in a recent Channel 12 poll. Muchtar rejected an offer from former Yisrael Beytenu MK Eli Avidar to join forces, according to Wednesday reports.

“In the next poll we’ll get more and more and start our growth and upward trend. I’m telling you, at least six seats in the next election,” Muchtar told Channel 12.

Low polling numbers are only one problem though. Israeli law requires Knesset members to be at least 21, meaning Muchtar is too young to actually serve.  Undeterred, she is planning to select eligible candidates to represent her on the party’s electoral slate, though none have yet to be announced.

She also claims she can serve as a government minister. There does not appear to be a minimum age limit for a ministerial position.

If she does lead her party into the Knesset, she would join a number of other politicians who managed to turn protests into political careers, such as former MKs Stav Shaffir and Itzik Shmuli, who rode the massive 2011 housing protests into the Knesset a few years later.

Muchtar likened Fiery Youth to the Pensioners’ Party, which rode a swell of disaffection to score a shock electoral victory in 2006, winning seven seats, before fading out of the political scene.

“Fiery Youth is the Pensioners’ Party version 2 and it’s really a protest,” she said.

She has been ejected from Knesset meetings for haranguing lawmakers. In a discussion on payments for teachers, for example, she suggested funding teacher salaries with the billions of shekels that have been invested in Israel’s repetitive national elections.

The meeting broke out into an argument between Muchtar and committee members as they tried to end her broadside.

“We’re not more important than you are? I pay your salaries. You work for me,” she shouted.


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♬ צליל מקורי – Hadar Muchtar

She has not yet served in the military. When asked by Channel 12 about running for office before fulfilling her conscription duty, she said, “I want to serve. It’s good for me, I want to serve.”

“[But] I don’t have any time to waste,” she added, citing the high cost of apartments.

She is not aligned with the anti- or pro-Netanyahu political blocs, but says she would side with whoever gives her the best offer if her party wins representation.

Regarding her party’s specific policies, she said, “The problem isn’t finding solutions. The problem is who will enact the solutions at the moment of truth, who will stand up to the tycoons,” she said.

“I think that at the end of the day, the same professors and the same politicians, the suits, the ties, the speeches, these people were supposed to protect the country for 20 years, they failed,” Muchtar said. “They burned my future in the past 20 years.”

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