'We Have to Suffocate Israeli Arabs With Love'

A conversation with socialite and talk-show host Judy Shalom Nir-Mozes, who’s married to Interior Minister Silvan ‘Steve’ Shalom.

Nir Gontarz
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Mozes-Shalom.Credit: judymozes Instagram account
Nir Gontarz

Hello Judy, Nir Gontarz here. From Haaretz. Wow, it’s really noisy there. Sounds like you’re at some kind of event.

Yes, at Fashion Week. Speak.

But I can hardly hear a thing.

Write to me. What do you need?

I just want to talk to you for a minute.

About what?

Well, the photo you just posted on Instagram. The one in which you almost shoot me.

Aha What’s there to say about that? Is the photo problematic?

I don’t know if it’s problematic. It’s unusual. You’re standing with a drawn pistol and handcuffs and all that. Where did you get the handcuffs?

From a store that sells ero-

I couldn’t hear. What kind of store?

Just kidding. From a girlfriend whose husband is a retired policeman.

And the pistol?

It’s nothing.

Is it real?

What do you think? Do I know how to hold a real pistol?

It looks like you do. Your shooting stance is also very impressive. Like a trained cop.


Yes, absolutely.

I watch a lot of movies.

I can hardly hear you. Can you move away from the noise for a minute?

Yes. Hello?

Now I hear you great. Thanks.

I moved. Well, what?

Nothing it’s a surprising photo.

Why? What’s surprising?

Is it in the spirit of the time – the weapon? After all, Steve’s boss and his colleagues in the government urged us, the citizens, to arm themselves.

No! It’s in the spirit of a party we had, where each of the girls had to dress up as something. It was taken half a year ago or so. We were just playing. I’m hooked on “CSI.”

Okay, but now, understandably, given the situation – it’s seen as connoting self-defense.

I wasn’t thinking of anything except the party. Tell me, you think I should delete it?

I don’t think so.

I wasn’t thinking about the spirit of these days in the least. People give meaning to everything in this world, even though you didn’t have that meaning in mind at all. Unfortunately, I don’t have a real pistol, so I can’t be armed.

Would you want a pistol?

I’m hooked on action series and they’re the only ones I watch. I’m a groupie. But I don't have any plans. I’m following my routine. Strictly routine. The whole nation of Israel should be following its routine. Being alert, but following the usual routine.

You don’t feel the fear?

Not a smidgen. I was in Mahane Yehuda [the Jerusalem open-air market] this week. I was in the Carmel [Tel Aviv] market this week. I’m not afraid of anyone. I’m going about my routine.

I don’t know whether to take my hat off to you or tell you that you’re disconnected from reality.

I am not about to let any hysteria You have to be alert, but what’s more important is for us to resolve the problematic situation of this whole conflict.

Yes, I heard the end of an interview you gave this week, when the interviewer said that maybe you’re actually a left-wing woman, and you said you are neither left nor right.

True, true. Because all I want is peace. I want peace. I don’t situate myself on any side of the map.

Well, you already have one Shalom [peace] at home. Does Shalom also pursue shalom?

Of course. But he doesn’t rush to tell the guys everything he does on a daily basis in order to try to make it happen.

But he’s part of an ultra-right government.

Interview him, sweetie. He is he and I am me.

I tried once. He shouted at me for calling him without going through a spokesman and hung up.

I know nothing about that, sweetie. I don’t speak in his name. Each of us is a personality in their own right.

But could it be that you really are a left-wing woman and that we didn’t notice it all this time?

I definitely think that there is no partner to talk to at the moment, to my great regret. Where the State of Israel needs to invest is in the Israeli Arabs.

I agree with you completely about the Israeli Arabs.

I say we have to suffocate them with love.

Right on.

And on that subject, we don’t have to be in the right, we have to be smart. They are here to stay. They are part of us. Most of them want to live with us in coexistence and mutual respect.


I visited a great many Arab schools in the past year, and that’s my conclusion from the conversations I had. They should be given clubs, places for leisure-time activity.

It’s wonderful what you’re saying. Wonderful. But the person you share your life with is now part of a government that is making closures and barriers and is suffocating the Arabs – and not with love. They’re being closed in with concrete blocks.

I don’t want to comment on that. I am me and he is he. To tell you the truth? We don’t talk politics at home. At all. When there are primaries, we work. Other than that, we are not involved in each other’s work in any way.

Let’s get back to your photo in a shooting stance.

It’s nothing, just a picture. I’m shocked that people actually It makes me laugh that everything you do and say, someone gives it a connotation you never imagined.

But Judy, at this time it’s obvious that this is the connotation.

You see? I didn’t for one minute think I just flipped through my phone and I saw this photo from half a year ago

The truth? You’re a riot.

Right. That’s it And I’m dying to hold a real pistol sometime. To feel what it is. To hold one and join “Law and Order” or something like that.

Funny. You could easily be Olivia.

Oh, I see you up to speed.


Well, that’s it. Just don’t make fun of me or anything like that. I spoke to you openly. When is this for?

For my column this weekend.

Terrific. All in all, I’m a simple person who wants peace. That’s what I am. I don’t care. I want peace.

So tell Steve to resign. The government of 61 MKs will fall. That will help.

I don’t talk to Steve about politics. Steve wants peace, too.

But he’s a member of such a right-wing government.

If Netanyahu had a partner, he would make peace.

Israel will never have a more convenient partner than Abu Mazen [Mahmoud Abbas]. Never. It won’t happen.

After Abu Mazen leaves the stage someone else will come along, don’t you see? And that someone else will not uphold the agreements of that man. I’ve personally even corresponded with his wife. We were in contact.

What do you say?

Yes. I’m dying for there to be peace. But first we have to deal with the Israeli Arabs. Suffocate them with love. They are human beings. They are also suffering and afraid.

Could it be that we’re missing out on your services, that when you write some nonsense in Twitter

Yes, yes, people make a big thing of it. I just come out with my truth, and even when others laugh or make comments You know It doesn’t bother me.

Thanks, Judy.

Bye, sweetie.