MK Yulia Shamalov-Berkovich has announced that she is leaving the Kadima party. While some news reports say she is joining Likud, where she will run for a spot in the next Knesset list in the upcoming primaries. Shamalov-Berkovich herself would not say where she is headed from Kadima and said that she will make the announcement on Sunday.
MK Shamalov-Berkovich was in Kadima's 29th slot and failed to enter the 18th Knesset immediately after the 2009 elections, but did so several months into its term, when Haim Ramon resigned from it.
She remained relatively anonymous until January of 2011, when she was invited to speak at a conference held by a group called The Family Lobby, which is opposed to the militant feminist stream within the women's movement. She made several off-the-cuff comments in her speech, including a reference to single-parent households, in which she said: "It's become some kind of bon ton to be a single parent mother who decided to have a child outside the family, and then come to the state and ask for benefits for this and for that..."
In addition, she said that she would not have succeeded in achieving her success without the support of her husband, and that she has never been sexually harassed, even though she does not think she is particularly unattractive.
These three statements aroused the ire of Israel's militant feminists, who proceeded to attack her viciously on multiple websites, newspapers and television channels. Despite repeated grillings, Shamalov-Berkovich stood her ground and refused to apologize, then proceeded to give interviews in which she expounded on her pro-family views.
Her achievements before entering the Knesset include successfully running Vesti, the largest Russian-language newspaper in Israel, and establishing Channel 9, the first Israeli Russian-language television channel. She had been selected by Kadima founder Ariel Sharon as a representative of the Russian immigrant population in Kadima. She was born in Buchara, in the former Soviet Union, and immigrated to Israel in her teen years.