pictureBoaz Toparovsky is an old-time friend and now a member of the Knesset. He represents Yair Lapid’s Yesh Atid,  a party that no one expected to get a staggering 19 mandates in the recent elections.

I met Boaz when I was studying at Tel-Aviv University. He was the president of the Student Union. I was possibly the most right wing student on campus. While Boaz represented Labor, I ran with the Likud branch for the Student Union that year having voted for Ze’evi’s “Moledet.”

The bond that Boaz and I share extends far beyond party lines. It’s a bond between two human beings who have the best interests of the country they love in mind and are willing to fight long and hard so that Israel continues representing the priorities of the Jewish people: peace and justice.

Now, Boaz is battling for the things he believes in on the Knesset floor while I continue following his impassioned speeches and heading his words. After all, he’s always headed mine. I realize that I’m in no position to judge Boaz. He was a steadfast friend at a time I needed his help most and besides, I truly believe he wants the best for the State of Israel just like I do. The fact that we disagree on many of the central issues facing us, doesn’t change the fact that we’re friends.

With that in mind, please read the following Q&A session between me and my college buddy-turn-MK, Boaz Toparovsky:

Me:  How did your experience at Tel-Aviv University affect your political career?

Boaz:  The time I spent at Tel-Aviv University influenced me in a big way. I began getting involved in the public arena there. I also entered the political field while at Tel-Aviv.

I gained an appreciation of moral values and mores as well as the understanding of how to manage large political networks (I filled various roles in the Student Union: a large, complicated body with a budget in the millions of NIS and hundreds of employees).

Me:  Why did you choose Yesh Atid instead of Labor or Ha’tnua? What influenced your decision?

Boaz:  I started out with the Labor party where my ideological foundation was built. Towards the end of my appointment as president of the Student Union at Tel-Aviv, I realized that there needed to be a foundational change in the party structure in Israel.

Israeli citizens are sick and tired of older parties. Quality individuals are running away from the old political system.

This is why I realized we needed to create new parties that would enact new policies. During the previous elections, I founded a new party consisting mostly of college students. We succeeded on a local—but not national level.

When I met Yair Lapid, we immediately connected on a personal, social, and ideological level. The moment Yair founded a party that represented the ideals I believe in, I chose to run with Yesh Atid. I played an important role in the foundation of the new movement.

Me: What is the Yesh Atid party platform regarding Jewish settlement in Judea and Samaria?

Boaz: It’s our responsibility to move in the direction of a two state solution, wherein we will maintain sovereignty of the larger settlement blocs. The details will be decided during negotiations—and not ahead of time (because otherwise, there’s no point to these negotiations).

This is a precursor for guarding Israel’s democracy as well as maintaining a Jewish majority in the Land of Israel.

Me:  Should haredim serve in the army? How about Arabs?

Boaz:  Everyone needs to serve the State: Charedim—and Arabs! The army will decide whom it’s interested in. The rest will participate in national service. There’s no way that citizens can be granted privileges by the State while not performing their national duty. This is how a true democracy functions.

Me:  What’s the general Yesh Atid economical platform?.

Boaz:  We represent the middle class and the entrepreneurs in Israel. We represent those who serve the State and carry it on their shoulders.

We support lowering housing prices as enacting a system whereby there will be a sharing of responsibility for the wellbeing of the State.

Me: What would you say to those who claim that Yesh Atid is a “temporary fix,” that it will disintegrate like Shinui did; that’s it’s not a mainstay party?

Boaz: We learned a lesson—and continue learning lessons from parties that didn’t last very long. We haven’t forgotten the promises we made to the public. We’re creating a strong consensus on the ground and maintaining a stable dialogue with the citizens of Israel.

As we continue carrying out one campaign promise after another, the public will realize that we’re really here to change things for the better. People will continue supporting us. We’re here to stay!

Me:   What are your plans for the near future? What are some of the measures you plan on raising in the next Knesset?

Boaz:  Yair Lapid selected me to implement Yesh Atid’s housing plan in the Knesset, as well as attempts to curb road accidents and limiting the bureaucracy.

I continue working to further the standing of the younger generation and the university students. I’ve dealt with these issues up till now, and I will continue carrying out this mission in the Knesset.

We need to carry out long-lasting reforms and not just short-lasting/populist ones. One thing that really worries me is how future generations of Israelis will handle the problems we’re passing on to them.