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Faces of Israel presents Jeremy Saltan, a self-described Knesset insider and political analyst who believes you have to be a good person who does good things.

UWI: Please tell us a little about yourself. 

JS: My name is Jeremy Saltan. I am 30 years old and I was born in Skokie (Chicago), Illinois. I made Aliyah to Beit Shemesh in 1995 and have lived in Mevasseret Tzion, a suburb west of Jerusalem, since 2006.

UWI: What do you do? (and what motivated you to do it?)

JS: I work for the Bayit Yehudi party that is led by Economy Minister Naftali Bennett. I am Bayit Yehudi’s English Forum Chairman. In that position I have the very important and challenging task of coordinating all English operations in the party. Bayit Yehudi is the only party that mandates in their party constitution the authority and responsibilities of their English operations. Among my other official positions in the party, I am also a Bayit Yehudi Central Committee member and the Bayit Yehudi Party Branch Director in Mevasseret Tzion. As a local government politician, I sit as the Bayit Yehudi party representative on the Mevasseret Tzion City Council’s Defense Committee, Status of Women Committee and Immigration & Absorption Committee. I also hold the municipality’s Religious Culture portfolio.

Additionally, I am a Knesset insider and political analyst who has been published, credited and quoted by the Jerusalem Post, Times of Israel, Israel National News, Jewish Press, Voice of America, Daily Beast, France 24, Washington Post, BBC, Al Jazeera, Foreign Policy and more. I am also a regular contributor on Voice of Israel.

My motivation has been to promote the democratic values of accountability, transparency and representation in Israeli society, both on the inside (Knesset) and on the outside (Analyst).

I feel motivated to assist Israel in every way that I can and I feel there are two areas that I can make a big difference and contribution. One is outreach to the Anglo community, which has unique challenges to integrate into this country. The second is in the area of Hasbara or public diplomacy where the right wing has few eloquent ‘message ambassadors’ who tell it as it is in English.

UWI: What have you always wished you could do?

JS: I have always wanted to be in a position of influence. My father once told me that in this world there are Indians, and there are Indian chiefs. That outlook on life has been a guiding factor throughout my professional career.

I also wouldn’t mind experiencing a Chicago Cubs World Series victory celebration at Wrigley Field.

UWI: Why do you get out of bed every morning?

JS: I get out of bed every day with the mission to make Israel the kind of country that I want my daughter to grow up in and be proud of.

UWI: If you could go back in time, what is one thing in your life you would change?

JS: Life throws us a lot of curve balls and it would be tempting to go back and change things. I believe that the mistakes we make and how we overcome them are a big part of what defines us as people, so I wouldn’t change anything.

UWI: What do you do for exercise?

JS: I like to go on long walks for both exercise and to clear my head.

UWI: What are your hobbies?

JS: I have a lot of hobbies, but not enough time to enjoy them. I enjoy watching American sports (NFL, MLB, NBA) while drinking beer or whiskey with friends. I enjoy looking at detailed maps and weather patterns. I enjoy directing theater, as well as going up on stage to perform stand-up comedy or sing some Karaoke. When I am visiting friends and family in Chicago, I like to bike ride along Lake Michigan. I also like to float on the Dead Sea.

UWI: What is your favorite thing about living in Israel?

JS: I am a big believer in the triangle of the land of Israel, the nation of Israel and the Torah of Israel. You can only connect to all three by living here. I really love the different geographical areas and the unique spectrum of Israeli society.

UWI: What is one thing most people do not know about you?

JS: I don’t have a sense of smell. I lost it during a bicycle accident. If I had to lose one of my five senses, I’m glad it was that one.

UWI: Personal catchphrase or guiding principle?

JS: My motto in life has always been to be a good person who does good things.

By: Penina Taylor, United with Israel

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